Making the City Playable
Urbanimals - Image credit: Paul Blakemore

Making the City Playable

Festival of the Future City 2017


Please note: This event took place in Oct 2017

09.30 - 17:00 (lunch provided)

All over the world, play is being embraced as an antidote to the anonymity of the urban environment. This one day conference will explore the theme of the Playable City and how public space, creativity and imagination combines to create unexpected interactions and a new kind of dialogue.

We have gathered together an international mix of artists, academics, policy makers and producers to speak about their transformative work in cities from Montreal to Mexico City, Lagos to Copenhagen. They will explore the social and cultural issues that play is helping them to address, the challenges of making playful projects a reality and who feels welcome/able to access public space.

Our programme will feature opportunities for networking, debate and discussion, as well as bespoke Playable City experiences in interesting locations throughout the centre of the city. These activities will be designed exclusively for our delegates by the talented cohort joining us on Creative Producers International, Watershed’s new global talent development programme. Attendees will also get a sneak peek at the prototypes of upcoming Playable City commissions from Hirsch and Mann and Guerrilla Dance Project. Join in on the process and give us your feedback.

Confirmed speakers include:

Here's more information on the sessions:

  • Session One: Who Can Play?
  • Speakers: Clare Reddington, Miguel Sicart, Stuart Nolan, Erin Walsh

    Projects invoking play are more popular than ever before and are taking place all over the world. As the form matures, this session will interrogate the current state of play and ask questions about how play is perceived, what it means for human behaviour, and who playful interactions are designed for.

  • Session Two: How We Play
  • Speakers: Hilary O'Shaughnessy, Daniel Hirschmann, Pascale Daigle, Inua Ellams, Jen Stein

    We have seen a global movement of playful city interventions which fuse art, technology and urban innovation to engage with citizens and reclaim public space. An international mix of artists, producers, academics and policy makers will come together to share some practical insights from their work, and the discuss the environmental and cultural concerns they must address in very different places.

  • Session Three: Let's Play
  • Speakers/leaders: the Creative Producers International cohort

    Delegates will meet the fifteen city change makers from our new global talent development programme Creative Producers International, as they participate in a series of playful interventions across the city. Our Creative Producers will design these activities exclusively for our conference during a residential lab here at Watershed, and they will explore issues important to their own practice and cities.

  • Session Four: Where We Play
  • Speakers: Claire Doherty, Clorinda Romo, Olamide Udoma-Ejorh, Seiichi Saito

    Across the world, including here in Bristol, activism is on the rise. We will examine the relationship between play and activism, and how those creating playful interventions are responding to an increasingly political environment in which public space feels contested. Practitioners from Mexico, Nigeria and the UK will discuss their experiences of play as activism, and the lessons that can be shared internationally.

We will provide BSL and live captioning to accompany our all conference speakers. To ensure all participants experience a fully playful afternoon please let us know about any access requirements, using the typeform link included in your booking confirmation.

Any questions? Contact

Making The City Playable Conference is produced by Watershed and is part of the Festival of the Future City. It is supported by Arts Council England, British Council and UWE Bristol as part of Creative Producers International.

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