16th – 22nd October 2017

When we play together, we belong together.

Open Citizens is a series of projects by Ludic Rooms exploring how a playful approach to creative technologies in public space might drive new conversations around democracy and citizenship in the 21st century.

Coventry City of Culture Bid
Digital Artists in Residence

Throughout 2017, with generous support from the City of Culture Bid Event Sponsors and Arts Council England, we are delivering our largest Open Citizens programme to date.

We want to engage a community of creators, working with people to represent their experiences and 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. Then this autumn, we’ll be turning a handful of Coventry’s ideas into reality when we takeover the city with arts, technology and play for one magical week in October.


16th – 22nd October 2017

Sites across Coventry City Centre

You Can-Can

Blistering silly evening projections

Pop-up light nights – 17th & 18th October

Check out the neverending can-can online at:



Dreamed up by Coventry citizens and realised by Ludic Rooms



Do the right thing, throw away your rubbish and get a surprise

You Can-Can

You Can-Can

Join the neverending line of dancing Coventry people

Buddy Bench

Buddy Bench

A digital wellbeing generator, making you fell good while you chat



You can play…
Mon 16th – Sun 22nd (All Day)

There are six NodBins around the city centre. All are within the ring road, look out for the Open Citizens logo.

You Can-Can

You can play…
Mon 16th – Cathedral Lanes, 12pm-5pm
Tues 17th – Cathedral Lanes, 10am-5pm
Weds 18th – Drapers Bar, 10am-4pm
Fri 20th – Coventry University Library, 11.30am-5pm
Sat 21st – Lower Precinct, 10am-5pm
Sun 22nd – Lower Precinct, 11am-4pm

The You Can-Can booth will be ready and waiting for you to come and upload your best (or worst!) dancing skills into the neverending line of dancers. Takes 2 minutes (giggle dependent).

Scream if you wanna go faster

You can play…
Thurs 19th (2pm-7pm)

Meet us outside Coventry Transport Museum to have a ride, we’ll set out a special course in Millennium Place.
Due to the epic rain you can now come down to the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum to play!
Riders must be 11 or over and those under 16 will need parental consent.

Buddy Bench

You can play…
Tues 17th – Coventry Cathedral Ruins (10am-4pm)
Weds 18th – Coventry Cathedral Ruins (10am-4pm)
Thurs 19th – Herbert Art Gallery and Museum (10am-4pm)
Fri 20th – Coventry Market (10am-4pm)
Sat 21st – Coventry Market (10am-4pm)

The Buddy Bench will be inviting you to chat with strangers around the city. Share a selfie on the bench and we can furnish you with discount vouchers for your next Subway sandwich!

Latest updates from the OC blog…

Permission to Play at the Wellcome Collection

Reflecting on an incredible weekend – exhausting and inspiring in equal measure – for the Permission to Play weekender at the Wellcome Collection. We built an interactive playspace from cardboard boxes, centred around a carousel of interactive activities that challenged visitors to use different technologies to challenge issues of democratising access and invitation to play.

read more

It’s time to get our tech-hats on!

With the Open Citizens prototype exhibition now over - the team now have to face the hard task of whittling down the ideas that the people of Coventry have proposed over the last 2 months. There are so many exciting concepts that have been proposed - how can we...

read more

Open Citizens Ethos

Open Citizens is rooted in the vision of the Playable Cities movement. Play(able) is more than play(ful); the inherent agency empowers people. Play is voluntary, there is no forced play. We engage when we feel welcome, when we feel comfortable, when the invitation is right. When we play together, we communicate in new and familiar ways, we build relationships with people, we construct memories and connections with places.

Open Citizens acknowledges the ubiquity of connectivity as an invisible given. We challenge the rhetoric that declares digital technologies divisive in physical communities; people are more than appendages for their devices. Digital tools, like cities, should be open and accessible without prejudice.

Open Citizens denounces the black box mentality of the postdigital city. Every citizen matters, every co-creator is an expert, everyone plays and shares in the circle. When things are broken, we do not throw them away, we repair, we repurpose, we tinker. Play is protest, play is choosing not to contribute to the expectations placed upon us. Play transforms cities, the littoral pavement beneath our feet is reimagined in a new image of optimism. We own these places.

Open Citizens Process


Open Citizens aims to transform the experiences of a city’s custodians. It is important that this process is driven by the needs and perspectives of communities. This is socially-engaged making, not parachuted spectacle. The first step is talking with people. We spend time with local people from all walks, in Coventry this process involved more than 300 people, piggybacking on public events and leading our own invited roundtable sessions. Felt-tips on maps, logging desire paths and the forgotten corners of the city. People’s memories of the city as passed and imagined futures not yet realised. Uncovering hyperlocal dialects of play offline and online.


The design design process is collaborative, speculative and tactile. We encourage hybrid opportunities for play in the city that utilise creative technologies but are fundamentally more interested in the human. Three cards randomly drawn from a unique Open Citizens deck help shortcut this process, giving flexible creative limitations centred around themes of place, interactivity and community. Groups are invited to respond on paper, then in 3D, using familiar materials to rapidly prototype and realise their concept. These models are then shared, explored and built upon to inform the final artworks. All co-creators receive an artistic credit.


 Following a period of studio making with a group of associate artists, Ludic Rooms takeover the city with a suite of highly visible and stumble upon-able hybrid interactive artworks in spaces around the city. These experiences belong to the city, produced in dialogue with its citizens and shared with optimism for a new, open, playable future.