2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Playable City Versus Smart Cities

#sxsw #playable


All over the world governments & tech companies are investing in smart cities, using networks & sensors to join up services & collect data. But the emphasis is often a drive for efficiency – Are we in danger of rendering our cities as isolated, professionalised places? How instead might we make them more malleable, communal & hospitable? In 2012, Watershed launched the first Playable City Award, inviting creatives to pitch something wonderful to inspire & engage. Hello Lamp Post by London-based experience designers PAN Studio with Tom Armitage and Gyorgyi Galik, was chosen from 93 entries from around the world. Challenging myths & exploding preconceptions around the internet of things, smart cities & AI, Hello Lamp Post is a delicate, textured SMS-based experience that has delighted & engaged people from all walks of life. Clare Reddington (Watershed) & Ben Barker (PAN) will introduce a new movement in designing for cities – one with people & permission to be playful at its core.



Ben Barker


PAN Studio

Ben Barker is a designer and co-founder of PAN Studio, producing interactive objects for installations and immersive theatre, and creating experimental objects designed to find new ways of enriching everyday living.


Clare Reddington



Clare is director of The Pervasive Media Studio, Watershed’s multi-disciplinary research lab. Clare's team work with talented researchers from across academia, art, creative industries, technology and engineering to create new projects in the creative technology space. These currently encompass magic, internet of things, future documentary, space exploration, gaming and cities. Support includes international talent development programmes, residencies and commissions of new work.

Clare is also Executive Producer of REACT, one of four Hubs funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to develop partnerships between businesses and academics.

Clare is a member of the advisory boards of Theatre Bristol and Hide&Seek, a Visiting Professor at the University of the West of England and has featured in Wired magazine's 100 people who shape the Wired world for the last three years.

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