The Bartlett School of Architecture


Screens in the Wild: Exploring the Potential of Networked Urban Screens for Communities and Culture

Local organisations, community centres and artists investigated how media screens located in urban space can be designed to benefit public life, rather than merely transmit commercial content.


YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8S4vpUAz4jU&t=16s


Screens in the Wild involved local organisations, community centres and artists in residence as key partners in the creative development process investigating how media screens located in urban space can be designed to benefit public life, rather than merely transmit commercial content. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project, ‘Research in the Wild’, explored urban screen placement, media content development, local interactivity and distributed connectivity over four screen nodes, connecting London and Nottingham.

A set of digital interactive experiences were designed to encourage public participation and promote social cohesion through urban play. Specifically, experiences were created to engage passers-by on the street, mediating interaction with people at the same location or with people across any of the other three sites. Participants were invited to express their moods, share images, draw musical patterns with other people or take a photo together.

The methodology, based on research by design and co-creation with local communities using iterative prototyping, action research and public engagement workshops, provided a framework for artists, designers and researchers to develop a variety of interactive digital experiences reflecting a wide range of ideas. These ideas were then further designed, developed and implemented throughout the project’s lifetime, resulting in the unique longitudinal ‘living lab’ environment of interactive networked screens.

The project was initiated by researchers from The Bartlett, UCL and the Mixed Reality Lab at University of Nottingham – comprising a mix of disciplines including architects, urban designers, computer scientists, interaction designers, anthropologists, makers, artists and film makers. The initial development phase was extended through Impact Acceleration funding and explored how to engage the public more fully in arts and community projects through the implementation of:

  • An AR-mediated experience guiding people between various art venues. Implemented successfully at the 2014 Leytonstone E11 Arts Trail, it allowed users to share photos between mobile devices and one or more situated public screens.
  • A new screen node at a Paddington Development Trust site offering community-based content developed by invited artists.

Screens in the Wild has been showcased in national and international exhibitions.


Principle Investigators
Ava Fatah gen. Schieck
Professor Alan Penn

Research Associates
Dr Wallis Motta
Moritz Behrens
Paul Amitai

Research Assistants
Efstathia Kostopoulou
Kinda Al Sayed
Ana Moutinho

Visiting Doctoral Researchers
Annika Hupfeld
Nemanja Memarovic

Film Making and Graphic Design
Mattia Pagura
Stacey Williamson
Rosica Pachilova

Mixed Reality Lab, University of Nottingham
Principle Investigator: Dr Holger Schnadelbach

Research Associates
Dr Steve North
Lei Ye North

Artists in Residence
D-Fuse: Mike Faulkner and Matthias Kispert
Drawing Shed: Sally Labern and Bobby Lloyd
Low Brow Trash: Graham Elstone and Thomas Hall

Related links

Screens in the Wild trailer

Screens in the Wild: Local interactions

Augmented Urban Reality (E11 Art Trail, 2014)

External partners

Core partners during the initial development phase (2011–2013) funded by EPSRC include:

London Borough of Waltham Forest
The Commission for Architecture & Built Environment (CABE) | Design Council
Horizon Digital Economy Hub, Nottingham
Leytonstone Business Improvement District (e11bid)
Broadway, Cinema and Art Centre, Nottingham
Art Exchange, Nottingham
Urban Prototyping London (2013)
New partners during the expended project development phase (2014–2015) funded by Impact Acceleration include:
Paddington Development Trust
Connecting Cities

Image credits

Images: Screens in the Wild
Videos: Mattia Pagura | Screens in the Wild