Frequently Asked Questions

Who will judge the award?

The shortlisted submissions will be judged by a panel of industry judges at the forefront of art, society and technology. The judging panel will be responsible for deciding the successful award winner. The panel will be chaired by Clare Reddington of Watershed and will include Tom Uglow, Director of Google Creative Labs, Sydney, Miguel Sicart, author of Play Matters, Claire Doherty, Director of Situations. Additional Judges will be confirmed in the coming weeks. You can read more about the judges here

Where will the work be installed?

This is largely up to you. The finished piece needs to be installed in Bristol in an outdoor location that is readily accessible to the public. For inspiration and ideas, take a look at our 'Bristol Locations' pack, although this is by no means an exhaustive list nor are these necessarily our preferred locations. We encourage proposals related to any Bristol location and we can offer support to the successful candidate in securing permissions etc for their chosen location.

Can I apply with other people?

We are open to proposals from individual artists and creatives as well as collectives, groups and studios.

Can I be involved in more than one application? 

An individual can be part of a team that applies with different applications. However, we would ask that you clarify your role on each application if you are part of more than one team. 

Can I apply this year if my application wasn't successful the previous year?

You are welcome to submit new ideas, but you cannot re-submit a previous idea. 

What do you mean by "We are looking for artists and creatives who can demonstrate a history of delivering high quality, innovative practice"?

We would like to encourage applications from mid-career and established artists and creative practitioners that have a proven history of creating work for public installation/exhibition. Watershed has a number of opportunities, residencies and programmes designed to support emerging talent but this commission is designed to engage creatives at a later stage in their development.

My work tends to have a digital but not a physical manifestation, can I still apply?

We are keen to commission a publicly accessible work for Bristol with potential to tour, that in some way connects to and creates meaning in a Playable City. On that basis, work that is entirely online or intangible is unlikely to fit the bill. However, we are very open to work that uses technology in integrated and interesting ways so if you would like to discuss your ideas further, do get in contact - details below.

Should I send you examples of my work?

We would love to get an idea of the sort of work you have created and exhibited before, but will not be able to return any objects or items following submissions so please do not send us anything physical that you would not wish to part with. Links to websites or links to videos hosted online are preferred.

I do not have much experience working with technology, can you help?

It is important that the proposed project uses technology in integrated and interesting ways and that the element of creative technology is an integral part of the proposal. However, our network of partners and Watershed's Pervasive Media Studio have a strong understanding of what is possible and available in this space, so will be able to advise and support the successful candidate in realising their idea. If you have any particular questions or concerns about this do get in touch and we will do our best to help you.

What are we probably not looking for?

We have now run a number of Playable City initiatives and are starting to become familiar with some of the tropes and clichés that come up when exploring the theme. To help you to avoid these, we’ve tried to give some pointers:

Previous winners displayed distinctive approaches to cities as playable spaces, however we are looking for original ideas, not clones of this work.  

  • We aim to commission work that can be experienced by a wide range of people in public space. Be careful not to design work (e.g. A app or a QR code project) that can only be accessed by a limited range of people, or a limited age demographic (e.g. Interactive children’s playgrounds) as it can exclude many people. Think about how your work reaches a wide and varied audience.
  • We encourage you to think about the experience of the people who will engage with your artwork and how you might articulate this in your application. If helpful, ask yourself, what does it feel like to interact this work?  
  • Some proposals rely heavily on installing screens, particularly touchscreens, or doors as digital ‘portals’, pods, or hubs in public spaces that are vulnerable to damage and likely to become quickly obsolete. We are keen for supported projects not to leave a legacy of dead tech in city spaces.  

If you have any further questions or queries do get in touch: playablecity@watershed.co.uk / 0117 9275189 / @PlayableCity

Playable City is supported by:

Bristol City Council Playable City Award Sponsor Logo University of Bristol Playable City Award Sponsor Logo University of the West of Englang Playable City Award Sponsor Logo
Bristol and Bath British Council Future Cities Catapult Playable City Award Sponsor Logo Guardian Cities