Got a great tech idea to make living in or visiting Bristol more fun? Bristol’s Pervasive Media Studio has just opened its third round of Playable Cities funding offering a prize of £30K to a creative who can make Bristol more liveable, hopeful and collaborative.

“Using technology to put people and play at the heart of the city”


As Playable City points out, all over the world governments and tech companies are investing in smart systems for cities, using communication networks and sensors to join up services, collect data and make efficiencies, wouldn’t it be great to use these technologies to put people and play at the heart of the city.

Who can apply?

They are looking for artists, designers, architects, urbanists, interaction designers, technologists and creative practitioners who can demonstrate a history of delivering high quality, innovative practice. Individuals or teams can apply.

Previous winners

Last year’s winner was the ‘Shadowing‘ project. Here, Bristol’s street lights were given a memory, enabling them to record and play back the shadows of those who passed underneath.

In Bristol this led to 10-person conga lines, breakdancing displays and wheelbarrow races with citizens trying to defeat the earlier shadow of themselves. You can see more about it in the video below:

Shadowing was created by Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier and it has gone on to secure international acclaim and is nominated in the Design Museum’s Design of the Year Award.

In 2013 the winner was ‘Hello Lampost’  – where you could talk to various items of street furniture, e.g. lamposts,post boxes, bollards, manholes, bins or telegraph poles – and leave behind memories and stories for others to discover. It is currently installed in Austin, Texas as part of SXSW.

The 2015 Award

Interested? The winning proposal will be installed in Bristol, UK for the public to play in autumn 2015. The full award includes:

  • Award of £30,000
  • A trip to Tokyo in October 2015 to share learning from the Award as part of Watershed and British Council’s Playable City Tokyo programme
  • Practical support in producing the work
  • Connection with the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed in Bristol
  • Development of touring and future opportunities
  • Documentation of the work

Whilst making your project, you will also become part of a vibrant community of artists and creative technologists at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol – providing extensive opportunities for collaboration. The winners will also travel to Japan in Autumn 2015, to share their project as part of Watershed and British Council’s Playable City Tokyo programme.

To apply for The Playable City Award, you can fill in this online form, giving details of you, your practice and your proposal. You have until 7 April 2015 to enter. You can keep to to date with the latest from Playable Cities by following them on Twitter: @PlayableCity

Jamie Middleton