Watershed launches £30,000 International Playable City Award for playful public artwork

By Culture24 Reporter | 24 October 2012
a photo of inflated balloons
£30,000 public art award Playable City is launched in Bristol© Andrew Molyneaux
If there is a contemporary artform synonymous with Bristol, it has to be street art. But quite apart from the antics of its famous graffiti superstar Banksy, recent years in the city have been marked by an increasingly playful approach to public spaces - and a series of artworks expressly designed to engage people with the city and its creativity.

It is therefore timely that one of the city’s key cultural spaces, Watershed, has today launched a new £30,000 art award for artists to engage with art, technology and culture by designing an artwork to be displayed in a public space in the city.

Playable City Award is aimed at artists who can devise an artwork that embraces openness, playfulness and technology to engage and surprise audiences. 

The award is being co-funded by a network of creative and technology companies from Bristol to champion the city as an international hub for cutting-edge creativity.

It’s a pragmatic approach to sponsorship that Watershed’s Clare Reddington describes as typifying “the collaborative nature of a city where companies find a networked and open approach leads to creativity and competitive advantage.”

And it’s already had the backing of Jeremy Deller who recently toured his exceedingly playful inflatable Stonehenge, Sacrilege, to Bristol.

"We need to see more playfulness in our cities and public spaces,” says the Turner Prize winning artist. “The Playable City Award encourages surprising interventions, and I look forward to seeing what is produced."

The winning artwork will be premiered in Bristol in 2013 before touring internationally, coinciding with a programme of work with British Council in Recife, Brazil.

The Playable City Award is supported by Aardman, BDH, HP Labs, IBM, IMDB, The Bristol SETsquared Centre, Sift, Team Rubber, Thirty Three, TLT LLP, Toshiba, University of Bristol, University of the West of England and Bristol City Council. The Award is produced by Watershed and supported by Arts Council England.

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