October 6, 2020

People United’s Kind Places & Spaces project explores the positive impact that creative art & design can have in community spaces. We’re particularly interested in looking at how these creative interventions might spread positive messages, bring people together and encourage communities to think or behave in a pro-social way. You can find out more here.

Jemma’s project, Kindness Dispensers, is one of the six projects we commissioned as part of the Kind Places & Spaces initiative. We hope that you enjoy it, and we’d love to hear what you think in the comments box below.

If you’d like to see these dispensers in your own building, venue, waiting room or other public space, please get in touch with People United. We hope to develop our Kind Places & Spaces initiative in the future, and would love to trial Jemma’s Kindness Dispensers and tokens with you in your museum, cinema, gallery, shopping centre or other typles of space – we’ve even got ideas for making them bespoke, seasonal and collaborative!

Jemma Channing: Kindness Dispensers

Jemma Channing is a multimedia artist who focusses on co-production with communities. Her Kindness Dispensers give people a ticket with a prompt printed on it – some are suggestions to carry out a simple task, and some offer an idea to think about and act on.

“I hope that the Kindness Dispensers will encourage people to do something kind while also having fun. The dispensers will highlight that kindness isn’t a chore that we must undertake, but something positive to participate in that benefits ourselves and other people. “


Jemma has spent time thinking about what kindness looks like right now as she wants the tokens to give meaningful but accessible challenges to those who take them on.

“The acts of Kindness themselves took a lot of thought. “Be Kind” has been a key message of 2020, but what does kindness look like? And how can everyone participate in it? These acts of kindness are simple, free and aimed to be accessible, so that money, time, age or confidence is not a barrier. So that everyone knows small acts of kindness is something we can all can take part in.”


Each token will encourage the holder to perform a specific good deed, such as:

  • Letting someone go before you in a queue
  • Finding a positive quote and text it to a friend
  • Leaving a local business a positive review
  • Choosing your favourite motivational quote, make an artwork or sign of it for your window
  • Picking up 3 pieces of rubbish on the street next time you go for a walk
  • Next time you see a friend or family member, paying them a compliment
  • Leaving a positive post-it note somewhere public

As well as prompting users to perform acts of kindness, the tickets will also have instructions for cultivating kindness, such as “Remind yourself that everyone is fighting their own struggles” and “Be patient”.

As part of her commission Jemma workshopped different aesthetics, settling on a “vintage Victorian carnival/seaside feel”, which she hopes will give the tasks a sense of fun and joyfulness. She wanted the dispenser to be something that looked appealing and was fun to use, beautiful and functional.

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Jemma Channing, 2020

“The tokens dispensed are designed on arcade style tokens, reminiscent of those great small moments of victory when you get to collect your prize.”


Photo of three arcade-style tickets with cut-away corners. They each have black line-work patterns and the word "KINDNESS" on them.

Jemma Channing, 2020

We asked Jemma what motivated her to apply for the Kind Places & Spaces commission, and about the inspiration behind her idea for Kindness Dispensers.

“I think it’s really important for places, towns and communities to explicitly demonstrate their support for kindness as a way of improving people’s lives, and I think having something like this in a variety of public spaces shows a local authority’s dedication towards fostering kindness, as something that not only benefits individuals but society on a larger scale.”


Is there somewhere near you that you’d like to see a Kindness Dispenser? Or do you have the skills to build a machine like this? If Jemma’s design has inspired you and you’d like to help us take this commission to the next level, we’d love to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

www.jemmachanning.co.uk @JemChanOT (Twitter) @jemmachanning (Instagram)


Kind Canterbury is funded & supported by:

Arts Council England logo and text "Supported by Arts Council England"Canterbury City Council Logo

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