playable citiesIt’s time to imagine our future cities and bring them to life! Playable Cities, produced by cross art-form venue and producer the Watershed, has announced its fourth year and fourth competition theme – ‘Journeys’.

The scheme wants to excite creatives from the South West and beyond to come up with the wackiest and most wonderful of ideas, Playable Cities aims to make cities more interactive and collaborative.

“We’re excited that the new theme will inspire projects that can scale globally and reflect our growing global network of creatives”


So here’s a call-out to all to artists, designers, architects, technologists and creatives across the globe to make our journeys to work, school and beyond more interesting. The most creative and inspiring idea from a team with proven experience delivering innovative projects will win a huge £30,000 commission to turn their idea into a reality, trialling in Bristol later this year.

Clare Reddington, Creative Director of Watershed and Executive Producer of the Playable City Award, says: “This year’s award reflects the experience and learning that has come from our international Playable City network over the last three years. We are excited that the new theme will inspire projects that can scale globally and reflect our growing global network of creatives from Lagos to Tokyo.”

Kangaroos in the city

Previous winners have included imaginative and fun projects like Hello Lamp PostShadowing and Urbanimals and has got the citizens of Bristol out of their homes and into their communities, seeking, discovering and interacting in places they might not otherwise notice or appreciate.

playable cities urbanimals

Last year’s winners, Urbanimals (see above photo) stole the show with a selection of cheeky digital animals designed to pop-up all over the city in unexpected places.

Playable journeys

playable cities logoAs cities grow and populations increase, how we get from A to B affects a city’s well-being and economic development, and transport is a key concern across the globe; for example, the average commute time in Lagos is four hours, every Sunday in Mexico City 35 miles of street are given over to bikes and pedestrians and more than 600 cities worldwide have a bike-sharing programme.

This year’s theme of ‘Journeys’ is broad, so a winning idea may address waiting, navigation or transit; it may connect people on public transport, use city bike infrastructure or explore areas of transition from physical crossings to transport interchanges.

In addition to the £30,000 commission, the winner will receive practical support in designing, testing and communicating their idea as well as residency at the Pervasive Media Studio, a creative hub based in the Watershed – alongside a vibrant community of artists and creative technologists, providing extensive opportunities for collaboration.

Anyone is welcome to enter Playable Cities, from the South West to St Tropez. The team at the Watershed also particularly welcome applications from deaf and disabled practitioners and practitioners from a black, asian or minority ethnic background, who are currently under-represented in this conversation.

The deadline for entries is at 17:00 GMT on 31 August 2016. Keep your eyes peeled on TechSPARK for news on the winner later this year. You can also stay up to date with the competition by following Playable Cities on Twitter: @PlayableCity.

Alice Whale