Open Citizens – Coventry 2021 City of Culture (2017)
When we play together, we belong together.
Coventry City of Culture 2021 Bid Digital Artists in Residence
Throughout 2017, with generous support from the City of Culture Bid Event Sponsors and Arts Council England, we delivered our largest Open Citizens programme to date, engaging a community of creators, creating work that sparks the imagination of local people.
We hosted a series of workshops in the Spring, working with different community groups to imagine playful interactive artworks that could transform people’s experience of travelling through Coventry. In the autumn, we turned a handful of Coventry’s ideas into reality when we hosted a takeover across the city centre with arts, technology and play.
How can challenges of the urban environment be made visible to its inhabitants? How can we ‘nudge’ behaviour and use data to solve problems? In this collaborative project, we invited 30 Year 11 secondary school students and 20 undergraduate students to consider this whilst playing with, identifying, and solving problems within their own communities.
This multipartner project aimed to explore how STEM subjects can contribute to young people becoming more active future custodians of their city and to examine how access to open manufacturing techniques and open public data might inspire social change.
By looking in detail at an aspect of urban life, we hoped to encourage young people to not only think critically about the social infrastructure that surrounds them but more importantly, how they can be empowered to facilitate change.
Supported by Think Higher and FabLab Coventry.
Random String (2016)
A wide-reaching development programme exploring the use of networked, interactive and creative technologies by artists. Includes: the RS Fellowships, an artist development and mentoring scheme; the RS Symposium, a sector-focussed day of sharing best practice hosted by Warwick Arts Centre; and the RS microFestival, a public celebration of arts and technology in Coventry City Centre.
In this second iteration of the programme, we presented work in three streams:
How can introducing interactive and networked technologies throughout the creative process enable a more meaningful relationship with audiences? How can technology foster interaction between people, rather than just interaction with the artwork itself?
What do networked and interactive technologies mean for the ownership of artworks and performances? Who is the author when co-creating, sharing and making work interactively? Do technologies enable new kinds of audience agency? How does the use of creative technologies redefine the notion of participatory arts practice?
Can technologies be a democratising force in the arts world? Can technology redefine the arts establishment, challenge our models of power and distribution, build new audience and enable new ways of working?
In 2016, Random String supported the work of 36 artists, engaged with 1142 workshop participants across 62 sessions, and presented work to combined live audiences of 1258 people in Coventry.
Random String is supported by Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry City Council and Arts Council England.
The Kitchen Circus brings circus performances, songs and digital arts onto the streets, to explore ideas about identity, hospitality and how we live now.
The 2015 performances in Hengrove explored the notion of ‘home’ and included a circus performance on the green, a trail of illuminated objects and musical performances at local landmarks, including on a boat.
The Kitchen Circus was commissioned for Bristol’s Circus City festival and produced by KWMC and Cirque Bijou.
The Forgotten Toys Compendium (2015)
Commissioned by Bristol Green Capital 2015 as part of their Neighbourhood Arts Programme, inviting people to see “junk” in a fresh way by tapping into the shared experiences of play across different generations and cultures. It creates new invitations, pretexts, tools and spaces for social interaction, by starting with the very personal & then connecting up with neighbours and neighbourhoods. The project will work with lead local residents on a journey of social archaeology to rediscover and repurpose the playable gems hidden among the dusty piles of forgotten “junk” lurking in people’s attics, garages and sheds, shining a light on the latent social and cultural potential of these objects through the lens of collaborative play. These playable artefacts- from rusty bike wheels & old sledges to bent hoola-hoops, dusty console controllers and forgotten Furbies will be reborn through story-telling and active play.
A sparkle itching to show (2015)
A performative projection-mapped visual poem made with young women outside mainstream education, produced with the incredible support of poet/MC Samira Arhin Acquaah and dance artist Dave McKenna of Being Frank Physical Theatre. Commissioned by the Core at Corby Cube as part of their Priority Project, supported by Mighty Creatives. Presented for the first time at the Core’s ‘Youth Arts Slam’, July 3rd 2015.
Wear Your Wheels (2015)
Wear Your Wheels is a fun and creative challenge for individuals and teams, families, co-workers, friends and communities. Work together to craft a wearable cardboard creation. Create something in the style of your favourite wheeled-wonder or dream up your own novel contraption.
A time-trial race like no other, competitors will don their CardCar creations and run a fixed course. This is not an engineering competition, you carry the vehicle, rather than the other way around. Feel free to add wheels – a CardCar would probably look odd without them – but they don’t need to function. Your CardCar cannot touch the ground at any point along the race.
CardCars will score points for design, speed and capacity; the more passengers that race inside your creation, the bigger you score!
Prizes will be awarded in each of these categories as well as an overall winner to be crowned Coventry CardCar Champion of 2015.
A lunchtime play session, commissioned by Watershed for the ‘Making Cities Playable Conference’ in 2014.
Our brief: make something “big, outside, with chalk”.
How can a simple piece of chalk unleash the possibility and freedom of play? We challenged conference-goers to create and partake in their own little ‘dusty acts of defiance’. A collaborative commission with the simply wonderful Splash & Ripple.
Ludi Lunt (2014)
We are preparing for a very 21st Century event to be held at the Lunt Roman Fort in Coventry, aimed at helping to breathe new life into the historic Fort – and applications are now open for people to get involved in a unique weekend of creativity, invention and fun.
Ludi Lunt (roughly translated from Latin: ‘public games at the Lunt’) takes place over the weekend of Sat 6th and Sun 7thSeptember, and is a hackathon-style event. Our aim with the event is to bring together creative people from around the UK to devise ways to improve the visitor experience, reveal more of the site’s fascinating past and breathe new life into this cultural gem, helping to re-establish the Lunt as a major Roman visitor attraction.
Ludi Lunt is being organised by staff from the Lunt and its management team, who are working with a diverse group of local historians and hackathon experts to put this very special event together. We are now looking to recruit people with a range of skills to take part in the event, including historians, artists, hackers, gamers, coders, writers, performers, designers, social media whizzes, educational professionals and craftspeople – as well as anyone who feels that they have ideas to contribute to a weekend of innovation and creativity.
In return for your efforts, you will have the unique opportunity to spend a weekend with other creative people at this amazing location, including camping, eating and working in the grounds of the Lunt. There will also be prizes for the best ideas generated over the course of the weekend, as well as the opportunity to be involved in the implementation of selected projects.
There is no charge for you to be involved in the Ludi Lunt hackathon, and applications are open now.