The Bartlett School of Architecture


SCREAM: Media Screens as a Medium for Communication

SCREAM aims at influencing developments related to the sustainable implementation of urban media screens in the UK by looking at issues related to the urban screens from a multitude of perspectives.

Currently there is very little information in the public domain in the UK relating to the set-up of big screens. Most local authorities do not have specific policies for the implementation and set up of big digital urban screens but rely instead on policies in relation to billboards and large-scale advertising, or sometimes on employing an external consultant to advise on issues related to the implementation of the screens.

The SCREAM work targets the planning system, where all the high aspirations of a sustainable implementation of media screens and the effective integration into existing urban structures can fail if appropriate control mechanisms and developments strategies are not found and satisfactorily executed.

The objectives of the SCREAM project were as follows:

  • bring together people across all the sectors involved in the potential implementation of innovative content and the creative use of media facades and urban screens in the UK
  • create a knowledge exchange and debate environment through workshops conducive to shared positive outputs
  • develop a framework on how to deal with the issues of media screens as part of the planning process
  • work out how the screens could be effectively integrated into existing urban structures
  • enable a better understanding of the environmental impact of the displays
  • highlight the risk of visual and noise pollution in the urban space
  • build a common ground of understanding about the potentials of artistic and creative participation in the content development

This was achieved through the SCREAM workshops: a series of workshops were held to bring together the key stakeholders in delivering sustainable implementation of the urban screens. These workshops enabled a group debate and knowledge exchange among those who play an active role in the development of urban screens and media facades in the UK.

The following organisations were represented at these events:

  • ACE (Arts Council of England),
  • Addictive TV, Art2Architecture,
  • BBC Public Space Broadcasting,
  • body>data>space,
  • CABE Space (the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment),
  • FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology),
  • Live Site & LOCOG (London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic Games &
  • Paralympic Games),
  • ResCen Middlesex University,Smartslab,
  • Tank TV,
  • UCL Bartlett,(University College London), University of Salford,
  • UrbanBuzz Programme Office.

The events were facilitated by body>data>space/ ResCen, Middlesex University.

For further information please contact Ava Fatah.


Ava Fatah gen Schieck
View Ava's profile
Send Ava an email


Ghislaine Boddington
View Ghislaine's profile


Peter Fink
View Peter's profile 


Project outputs include:

  • SCREAM framework for the implementation of urban big screen in urban space: Fatah gen. Schieck, A., Boddington, G., Fink, P. 2009, Framework for the implementation of urban big screens in the public space, UK.
  • Ava Fatah gen. Schieck, 2009, Towards an integrated architectural media space: the urban screen as a socialising platform. In Scott McQuire, Meredith Martin and Sabine Niederer (eds.), Urban Screens Reader, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, pp. 243-260. ISBN: 978-90-78146-10-0.
  • Ava Fatah gen. Schieck, 2008, A tale of two cities. In Urban Screens 08, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Juliana O'Rourke, 2008, Digital media and big urban screens: digital wallpaper or cultural exchange?, RUDI: Technology Space and Place annual journal, p 40.
  • A series of workshops 'Urban Big Screens: Potential & Risk'. 

The project outcome aimed to impact on the understanding of a complex emergent socio-technical phenomenon as it is happening as well as on stakeholder communities of industry, government and society in general.

SCREAM has contributed substantively to the development of the first guidance on large digital screens in public spaces - Joint guidance from English Heritage and CABE, which reflects many of the issues raised during SCREAM’s workshops. 

Impact is considered for the following groups: the general public as inhabitants of urban space, screen managers and curators and content creators, the management of urban space at councils, designers of urban space and planners, community leaders and policy makers.

The project established the first Urban Screens Network (UK).