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The Playable City Awards are back

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by Startacus Admin

So here we are folks - the Playable City Awards are back! Following last year’s successful event (which of course Startacus featured) and which was won by Pan Studio with their project ‘Hello Lamp Post’ – submissions for this year are now open.

For those who don’t know what they are (where have you been people!?) – the second International Playable City Awards invite artists and Playable City 2014creatives from around the world to propose new ideas that will engage people in the open and configurable spaces of the city.

Applicants are encouraged to use technology in an integrated and interesting way, injecting a sense of intrigue and meaning into public spaces. So if you have an idea for making a more interactive city, this could be right up your street!  

So what are they looking for?

  • The creation has to be highly original, expertly realised and inspiring and would be expected to be installed in Bristol City during September and October 2014.

  • A generous and open attitude – and willingness to participate in events and discussions with public, peers and partners.

  • Contribution to press and media campaigns

  • Some time spent in residence at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol.

Last year’s winner – Hello Lamp Post – saw the people of Bristol interact with the lamp posts, post boxes and other street furniture. A unique code could be found on the objects and by texting it you could communicate with it.

Each exchange would last for a few text messages and could range from a variety of conversations – you may have been told a secret by a lamp post or a post box may have told you how irritating it was to be left out in the rain! You could be asked to come back and talk another day – the more you played, the more hidden life the city would reveal. This unique idea was the brainchild of Tom Armitage and Gyorgyi Galik at Pan Studios.

I don’t know about you, but getting a text from a lamp post would just scare me!!

Playable CityThinking of applying? Here are a few things to note..

Applicants can work in any field, but creative uses of technology must be integral to the proposal. The project may take place indoors or outdoors but must be in a place with public access. It also must be accessible for at least two months in Bristol, and be suitable for subsequent touring across the UK and beyond. Ideas can be submitted in a format that best suits your practice. A project that has already been fully realised will not be considered.

For a full look and the terms and conditions, please visit

The successful artist(s) will be awarded:

  • £30,000 award to include the artist’s fee, development and delivery of the commissioned work. A modest budget to include accommodation, travel and expenses.

  • Desk space and access to facilities at Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed in Bristol

  • Practical support in producing the work including securing locations and technical support.

  • National PR campaign.

  • Connection to a vibrant community of artists and creative technologists.

  • A high profile public showcase event to launch the completed work.

  • Development of touring and future opportunities with Watershed’s production team.

The closing date for applications is 11th April 2014, 17:00 BST and the short list will be announced on the 28th April. So if you think you can make Bristol into a playable city it is time to get cracking!!

Penned by Dermot McBride

If you liked this art / innovation article then why not have a look at:

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Published on: 1st March 2014

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