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From street art to street games, in the last five years Bristol has put itself on the map by inviting residents and visitors from across the world to join in its playful approach to public spaces, and engage with the city’s creative and cultural future.
The 2013 award will commision an original, future-facing work, which uses creative technology to explore the theme of the playable city.
What is a playable city?
The Playable City is a new term, imagined as a counterpoint to ‘A Smart City’. A Playable City is a city where people, hospitality and openness are key, enabling its residents and visitors to reconfigure and rewrite its services, places and stories. It is a place where there is permission to be playful in public. The Playable City Award is part of Watershed’s ongoing investigation into this theme, which will also include a programme of work with British Council in Recife, Brazil, during 2013.
We at Watershed have been exploring the idea of a Playable City in some of our recent projects:
In February 2012, the British Council and Watershed brought together twelve artists and designers from across East Asia and the UK, for a five-day sprint at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio around the theme of The Playable City.
As part of Guimarães 2012, this year’s European Capital of Culture, Watershed is producing a series of artistic commissions that explore how ‘openness’ in city governance can improve the social, cultural, and economic lives of their inhabitants.
From James Bridle’s citizen street mapping of this medieval city, Charles Leadbeater’s think piece on the importance of hospitality in cities, to a film imagining a technologically enhanced Guimarães of the future, the programme explores the different ways technology can be used to encourage openness in relation to city development.