Medialab Prado


Interactivos? Birmingham: Responsive and immersive future technologies. Open Call for Projects

Birmingham City University (UK), Medialab-Prado (Madrid), Sampad (UK), mac birmingham (UK), and BBC Birmingham (UK) and are issuing an Open Call for projects to be collaboratively developed and presented during Interactivos? Birmingham (June 16 – 28, 2014), with the participation of advisors and technical assistants.

Venue: mac birmingham

Advisors of the workshop: Mark Brill, Katie Day, Mark Steadman, Simon Whitehouse, Chris Cuthbert, and Chris Sugrue.

Technical assistant: Pablo Ripollés

Call Open March 20 - April 30, 2014 - Deadline extended until May 1
Selection of proposals: May 2 - 8 11, 2014
Call for collaborators: 12 14 May - 13 June, 2014
Seminar programme on the theme: Tuesday 17 June,
Workshop: Wednesday 18 June to Friday 27 June, 2014
Prototype showcase: Saturday 28 June to Sunday 13 July, 2014

>Open Call Interactivos? Birmingham
>Aims of the call
>Introduction to the topic
>What we are looking for
>Entry rules
>About the location
>About the project partners


Video of the results of the workshop

 Interactivos? Birmingham

About Interactivos? Birmingham

Interactivos? Birmingham is a UK based, two week international seminar and open innovation prototyping workshop.  The Interactivos? model, conceived by Medialab-Prado as a hybrid between an innovation production workshop, seminar and exhibition showcase. It is a space for reflection, research, collaboration and creation, in which proposals selected by an international open call are developed, completed and displayed.

The process will be open to the public from beginning to end. Interactivos? is widely regarded as a model of best practice, and in bringing the project to Birmingham, this will be the first time the Interactivos? project will have been hosted in the UK. In doing so, regional and national based individuals will connect to an international network of creative and digital professionals for collaboration and technological production.

Further information about Interactivos?


Aims of the call

The aim of the project is to select a maximum of six projects for a rapid protoyping research and development workshop running from Monday 16 to Saturday 28 June.  The selected projects will be developed in an open learning environment with the aid of advisors, assistants, and collaborators.

Key words: Mobile, gaming, Arduino, apps, open innovation, open software tools, free hardware, AR, Raspberry Pi, interactive engagement, immersive, arts, performance, music, dance, physical or virtual spaces, online spaces, collaboration, experimentation.



According to a recent MTM report commissioned by Arts Council England, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Nesta, titled Digital Culture: How arts and cultural organisations in England use technology, almost half are creating ‘born digital’ works native to, and created for, the digital space, and one third see digital technology as essential for distributing and exhibiting their work.

Equally, audiences and participants are increasingly using digital technology as a way of engaging with arts and culture.  Interactivos? Birmingham expects to expand on the use of electronic and software tools for artists, designers and educators to develop interactive tools creating engaging experiences for audiences and communities.

The focus will be upon bringing together artists and digital developers within a theoretical framework, combining contributors from the cultural and digital sectors of Birmingham, the West Midlands region, UK-wide, Europe-wide and international, to work collaboratively over a two week period on developing innovative digital solutions to artistic/creative ideas.


Introduction to the topic

The overarching theme of Interactivos? Birmingham is Responsive and Immersive future technologies. We will explore emerging trends, issues, and questions in relation to arts engagement such as:

  • What are the future technologies that will bring people and the arts together in a post digital age?
  • What will be the new forms of creative practice; should we expect more inventiveness; and to what extent is collaboration and participation a part of this?

We will encourage theoretical explorations on the potential uses of digital technologies for artistic and creative engagement. Sub themes for exploration include:

  • Experimentation with creating interactive immersive environments
  • Motivations for audience engagement via mobile technologies, investigating human computer interaction and psychology
  • Creative ways to model art, be it dance, storytelling, visual or other, as engaging interactive audience experiences
  • Use of mobile technologies to trigger artistic products via audience participation, and or contribute to the creative process – participants as creators

Ideas for some of the tools include:

  • Augmented reality, open data, data-visualisation, open software, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Makey Makey, and gaming
  • Gesture recognition and motion tracking
  • Holographic technology
  • Wearable technology


What we are looking for

We are looking for interesting ideas that aim to explore new ways for people to engage and interact with art from a range of practices – music, dance, theatre, visual arts, creative media, literature/spoken word/poetry, and multi-artform.

We are looking for projects that start from a point of collaboration, play, and learning, e.g. an artist with a strong idea but without the technical knowledge, or a programmer looking to find artistic partnerships; working together to solve problems and develop new tools and ways of working.

We want to see open collaborative practices that can lead to innovative ideas, creative products and artistic content.

We want to encourage a forum of international collaborations, and develop a network of peers.

We want you to respond to the questions:

  • How can your project change the way that artists and developers may think about making new work, and how people can engage with artistic practices in interesting and novel ways?
  • How will your proposed project help move practice forward?
  • How can the public engage with the development of your project?
  • What are your expected outcomes?


Entry rules

From among the submissions received a maximum of six projects will be selected to be produced in a two week research and development workshop at mac birmingham in June 2014.

The chosen projects will be developed with the aid of advisors and assistants in addition to a large group of collaborators.

The open call is aimed at artists, developers, coders, scientists, academics, engineers, architects, programmers, web-designers, app developers, or to any other person interested in the theme of the workshop, both amateur and professional.

Proposals may be presented by individuals or groups. Each participant or team may present as many projects as they wish.

Selected projects must be open to the participation of other interested collaborators who will be able to contribute to the production of the prototypes during the development of the workshop.

There are two levels of involvement in the workshop: 
1 - as a project leader
2 - as a collaborator in any one of the selected projects

Once the projects have been selected, the second step in the process will involve a new call for those people who would like to participate as collaborators. The call for collaborators will be open from 12 14 May to Friday 13 June, 2014 at Medialab-Prado's website.   

General characteristics of the workshop

This workshop aims to be a collective platform for rapid prototyping via research, development, production, and learning, offering substantial help and support in developing the projects selected. The proposals will be carried out in multidisciplinary task groups comprised by the author(s) and interested collaborators, with conceptual and technical advice from the teaching staff.

The selected projects must be open to the participation of other interested collaborators, who will be able to contribute to the production of the pieces during the development of the workshop. Therefore, there are two levels of involvement with the workshop: as a project leader, or as a collaborator in any one of the selected projects. Once the projects have been selected, the second step in the process will involve a new call for those people who would like to participate in the projects' production.

BCU and Medialab will do its best to provide the materials needed to carry out the selected projects.

Technical Requirements

The jury will carefully examine the technical viability of the projects. For this reason, a clear specification of the technical and spatial requirements of the projects will be positively received.

The projects will be developed and exhibited on the mac birmingham premises. BCU will only provide the equipment and means of production for the selected projects if previously requested by the project authors.

In case of any doubt regarding the technical requirements, the jury will contact the project's author.


The work/exhibition space has a surface of approximately 176 m2 and will be shared by all the selected projects. Each project will have a designated space depending on its technical and spatial characteristics. Only the projects which can adapt to the characteristics of this shared workspace will be selected.  For further information about the workspace:

In case of any doubt regarding the spatial requirements of a project, the jury will contact the project's author.

Working language

The workshop will be held in English with no translation provided.

Accommodation and travel

Pending application and for participants residing outside Birmingham, BCU will provide accommodation for the authors of the selected projects and for collaborators.
BCU will also cover travel expenses for one person for each of the selected projects.
No fees will be paid to individuals of selected projects or collaborators.


All those interested in taking part in the workshop must fill in and send the application form on the Medialab Prado website published below.  No entry fees.

Application deadline for the project call

Wednesday 30 April, Dead line extended until Thursday May 1, 2014, 10hr GMT (Madrid local time, GMT+1)

Further information

For further information contact:
Alexa Torlo alexa.torlo(at)
Sonia Díez Thale sonia(at)  

Final Decision

The selection committee will comprise the workshop advisors, and representatives from the project partners, advisors, and technical experts. 

Project assessment

Projects will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Project quality
  • Suitability to Interactivos? Birmingham general objectives and the specific theme of this call for projects.
  • Technical feasibility and clarity
  • Willingness to collaborate with others in project development

Date and place of publication of the final decision

The final decision will be announced on 9  14  May on the Website of Medialab-Prado, and all applicants will also be notified of the decision by e-mail.
Exhibit of workshop results

After the workshop has ended, the prototypes developed during Interactivos? Birmingham will remain on public exhibit at mac until Sunday 13 July, 2014.
Winners' obligations

The winning individuals or groups agree to attend the encounter from Tuesday 17 to Saturday 28 June, 2014. They also agree to finish their proposed projects, as far as possible.

The winning individuals or groups may use equipment, pending prior application and approval. Any expense not previously planned or approved in material or equipment rental will be paid by the project authors.

Projects carried out will be the property of their author(s), although whenever said projects are shown at festivals or exhibits, and whenever images of said projects are reproduced in catalogues or websites, their relationships with Medialab Prado, BCU, Sampad, mac, and BBC should be mentioned. The names of the people who collaborated in developing the projects should also be shown.

Projects exhibited may be shown in printed documents and the project partners’ websites

Entry constitutes acceptance of all contest rules.



The role of the collaborator is crucial in the workshop process.  Collaborators will have the opportunity to join the project teams that will develop the selected proposals.  Working in an environment in which there is a horizontal relationship among professors, developers and artists, it is an opportunity for reflective knowledge exchange, and theoretical and practical learning. No entry fees.

Collaborators bring their field of expertise and/or interests to the working group to form part of the development teams. Collaborators can work on more than one of the selected proposals and bring their own ideas and knowledge to the work group, and at the same time, learning from the group and the expert advisors.

The names of the collaborators will appear in the project’s credits on completion of the projects. Also, BCU and Medialab-Prado will present a document certifying participation in the workshop to all the participants that request it.

The workshop runs every day and collaborators are expected to participate as fully as possible.  The key dates for involvement are:

  • Arrival and welcome of participants: Monday 16 June, 2014
  • Seminar programme on the theme: Tuesday 17 June, 2014
  • Presentations of the selected projects: Wednesday 18 June, 2014
  • Workshop: Wednesday 18 June to Friday 27 June, 2014

Appointment of collaborators in the workshop

There is no selection process for collaborators, all received registrations will be accepted until capacity is filled. Once you have submitted the form, you will receive an automatic mail confirmation informing that your data has been successfully received, which means that you have already earned participation in the workshop. Having a place as a collaborator does not necessarily guarantee that you have secured accommodation.  This will be on a first come first served basis, however we will aim to ensure as many collaborators are placed into accommodation.  (please see below).


For residents outside of Birmingham, BCU will cover for the stay of a limited number of participants at university accommodation during the dates of the of the workshop. Each space will be assigned by order of registration. Therefore, signing in as a collaborator does not necessarily guarantee that you have a place in the accommodation. Do not forget to indicate in the form the dates of your stay (Maximum stay: check-in on June 16 and leaving on June 28).  BCU will get in touch with you for a final reservation.

Travel or other expenses during the stay will not be covered by Medialab-Prado, BCU, nor any of the other project partners.  Light snacks and refreshments will be provided during the workshops but not evening meals.
Medialab-Prado Community

Prior to the start of the workshop programme, Medialab Prado collaborators can contact the authors of the selected projects in the Medialab-Prado Community. This is an opportunitiy to state which projects collaborators would like to be part of, and ask any questions in advance of the workshop.

Further information

The open call for collaborators will be launched on 12  14 May. If you are interested in participating as a collaborator, you will have to fill the form provided in the call and send it Friday 13 June, 2014.  If you have any questions, please read the faq or contact interactivos [at], or write to us at one of the above email addresses.


About the location

mac birmingham is a contemporary arts centre located in the picturesque Cannon Hill Park, opposite Edgbaston Cricket Ground, two miles south of Birmingham city centre.  Cannon Hill Park is said to be the most popular park in the city consisting of formal, conservation, woodland and sports areas. Recreational activities at the park include boating, fishing, bowls, tennis, putting and picnic areas.

Birmingham, with a population of over one million people, is the West Midlands’ regional capital and the UK’s second largest city. It was historically labelled as the city of a thousand trades and was prominent during the Industrial Revolution with a strong manufacturing and engineering base.  Located nearby to mac is the suburb of Bournville, an attractive model English village and home of the Cadbury chocolate factory. There is also the historic Jewellery Quarter in the city centre, and Sarehole Mill, a heritage site constructed around 1750 and best known for its association with the author JRR Tolkien who spent part of his childhood nearby and who used the site and its surroundings as the inspiration for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

The city is ideally located as a centre for trade, exhibitions, events and conferences, and shopping. It is the home of the Balti, a rich aromatic dish created in the Sparkbrook area of the city in the 1970s. There is a thriving arts and cultural scene in the city from grassroots festivals and venues to global cultural assets such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and the recently opened Library of Birmingham - the largest public library in Europe.

South of Birmingham is the historic town of Stratford upon Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, and the location of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and London can be reached in under two hours by train.


About the project partners


Medialab-Prado is part of Madrid City Council, conceived as a community laboratory for the production, research and dissemination of cultural projects to explore collaborative forms of experimentation and learning that have emerged from digital networks. It enables open platform production and research, and the development of collaborative projects with individuals from a range of disciplines. Interactivos? is part of its programme, with a robust mechanisim for managing the recruitment of lead artists’ projects, seminar papers though an open call, selection via an international judging panel, online project management tools and documentation, assessing and managing technical requirements, and providing appropriate project support during the production process.

Birmingham City University

With around 23,500 students from 80 different countries, BCU is one of the largest universities in the UK. BCU plays a number of key roles in the development of the creative economy and works as a catalyst to bring fresh perspectives and new ideas to the marketplace, by working with regional organisations to encourage cross-sector partnerships; stimulate collaborative projects; promote collective strengths and embed enterprise into curriculum. To that end BCU has set up a Cross Innovation project to promote collaborative and user-driven innovation that happens across sectoral, organisational, technological and geographic boundaries.

It is a partnership of eleven metropolitan hotspots that have the potential to put cross innovation on the top of local and regional policy agendas across Europe: Birmingham, Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin, Tallinn, Warsaw, Vilnius, Stockholm, Linz, Lisbon, and Pilsen.

The programme sets the context for our proposal which will establish interventions, encourage debate, and create spill-overs between creative sectors and developers. A key development area identified is in digital media where there is a clear divide that needs bridging with the arts and creative sector to allow for technological innovations to be enhanced and adapted addressing everyday creative and community challenges. 


Sampad is a Birmingham based South Asian Arts development agency and Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) which is increasingly seeking to develop content relevant to today’s society. It is continually testing projects that exploit digital technology via web, mobile technology, or other formats. Previous and current projects have incorporated data-visualizations, interactive 3D architectural projection-mapping (as in the Mandala performance for the London 2012 Festival), augmented reality, touch table technology, and gaming.

mac birmingham

An Arts Council National Portfolio organisation. It is a pioneering contemporary arts centre, a leader in providing arts for all, for every age and background, and a hub of creativity and learning. Facilities at mac birmingham include four performance auditoria, rehearsal and media studios, a cinema, visual art galleries, cafe and bar. It is strongly committed to the use and development of digital technology which it sees as providing artists with new ways of working and new ways for citizens to participate in the arts. 

BBC Birmingham

The BBC’s Director General, Tony Hall, recently outlined how BBC Birmingham at The Mailbox would become an open skills and development space. His overall aim “to build on the city's growing reputation for cutting edge digital work, its diverse talent pool, vibrant young audiences, strong arts scene and to celebrate Birmingham’s rich potential and ambitions for the future” 

Supported by Arts Council England

logo Arts Council England


In partnership with:

logo BBC Birminghan


With the collaboration of:

      logo mac birminghan       logo Sampad       logo Birminghan City University

Registration form: (must be completed in English)

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