Two UK designers win Open Call to explore the playful city in Tokyo

The British Council and Watershed have today announced the two UK creatives who won the Playable City Tokyo 2018 open call to travel to Tokyo for a two-stage residency in June and September 2018; Bristol-based designer Tom Metcalfe and London play scholar, Sophie Sampson. The residency is an opportunity to collaboratively research and develop playful ideas at the intersection of art, technology, society that innovate around public space in Tokyo, and start a new kind of city conversation through play.

Playable City Tokyo launched in 2015 to develop imaginative new ideas for urban spaces and to engage communities in thinking about the future of Tokyo (particularly in the run up to the 2020 Olympic Games). Building on the success of the Playful Welcome Lab in 2016, the Playable City Tokyo 2018 Residency is the latest step in the process.

Phase One of the programme is a research visit to Tokyo this month to meet local creatives, explore, research and ideate around experiences and prototypes for public space in and around central Tokyo. Phase Two is a production visit to Tokyo in September to test and finalise the presentation of the prototype pieces for the attendees of the Making the City Playable Conference 2018 and the public.

Tom’s practice is characterised by its consideration of people and its critical approach to designing new experiences with objects, environments, and space. Tom Metcalfe says:

"I want to create a Playable City work that is co-created with the people of Tokyo, that culminates in a new, bespoke experience. I have created many works in public spaces, usually in the form of a non-moveable piece. With this Playable City residency, I have the opportunity to create something different - that can occupy larger or multiple spaces. I hugely value the Playable City community and the unforeseen and exciting possibilities that can arise when collaborating with others within it, and I have always thought my practice resonated more with Japanese design than Western practices, and this could well be the opportunity to start finding out."

Sophie Sampson says:

“Going to Tokyo is a dream for someone who makes work for public spaces - it's one of the biggest, busiest cities in the world with its own unique street culture. Much of my work is about responding to a particular place, and I'm fascinated to test out which invitations to play speak to Tokyo-ites and whether we can find a universal language of play.”

Hilary O’Shaughnessy, Watershed’s Playable City Producer says:

“Watershed are delighted to bring such exciting artists to Tokyo for this two part residency.

Both Tom and Sophie bring a really interesting mix of experience and curiosity to the ever-expanding Playable City Tokyo family. Since 2015, together with our brilliant partners we have been changing the way people see and experience Tokyo and we’re looking forward to seeing how this develops.”

Building on the work of an ongoing Playable City Tokyo programme, the Playable City Tokyo 2018 Residency will support, inspire and challenge participants to develop playful interventions using creative technology to respond to public space in and around Tokyo. Participants will create and deliver prototype experiences for the public and attendees of the Making the City Playable Conference in Tokyo on 28-29 September 2018.

Find out more here



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