Creating a digital scene in West Yorkshire

Creative Scene, the Creative People and Places project in west Yorkshire, has embraced digital as a way of creating new content that engages audiences and as a means to bring new audiences to exciting outdoor arts events, in an area where there are few galleries, theatres or public venues.

As well as commissioning new digital content  we are also producing and presenting the work in the public realm. This often involves projections, video mapping of digital content onto buildings and townscapes, at public sites such as train stations and bus stations, and within large scale multi-media outdoor events.  We often use digital as part of an immersive mix of outdoor digital image projections, beautiful and captivating lighting and illuminations, outdoor theatre, interactive artworks.

People go ‘ WOW',  they stick around to interpret the story and they want to know how it works and is made.

Here's a few case studies of the work we have commissioned and delivered so far:

Bingo Balls:

People told us what they loved about bingo which led to commissioning up and coming Spanish design-tech team Sois De Traca to create a game of outdoor Bingo that brought these comments and tales, and the bingo players, out to play on the streets. Bingo Balls is a new APP,  a digital bingo game specially designed to be projected on a building.  Developed in Processing, with colourful visuals completely generated in real time.

We projected this onto local buildings such as  a former fabric showroom by the train station in Batley, and commuters and passers by joined in the game.

Here is the App:

Here is a short film, showing how we involve people in creating the digital content


This is an annual lights switch on just before Christmas, with a heritage of over 100 years. We commission artists to make light works that celebrate the heritage of the illuminations-originally gas powered- and brings them bang up to date.

The Community Alliance gets involved in the commissioning process and local people work with the artists to create content.  

This included a Digitally Drawn Disco with Fabric Lenny and the 154 Collective adding live characters, music and animation to the mix with the Light Trike, a illuminated shed and a rabbit girl riding an elephant.

Impossible arts have made two new digital work  for the event:

“The Momentum Wheel’-   by Andy Plant and Chris Squire- a new installation combining digital display, filament lightbulbs and pyrotechnics, designed to help the Christmas lights switch on go with a bang.

and Talking Heads- three giant heads that speak and sing. Faces of the audience are mapped using 3-D face capture, their mouths animated to put words into their mouths. as dusk falls, the heads move, blink, and seem almost alive - as they are all magically animated by projections. They show the faces of any audience members who use our quick self-portrait camera - so absolutely anyone can add their likeness and become part of the artwork.

Digital Content for Audience Development:

We commission digital films about the people of the area, and use these on our web site to drive interest and to find ‘hooks’ that local people can relate to, and that brings the wider arts programme to the fore, thus making this more accessible.

Our Developments

Over the next 2 years as part of a Creative Europe partnership, we will be commissioning UK and European  artists  to  make new digital installations and to exchange these across 4 European  light festivals .This will inlcoude working with BEPART – the Public Imagination Movement, Italy,  who use augmented reality to fill the city with art, design, videos, sounds and words, so that everybody can create and install different contents or simply enjoy them in the urban spaces by means of a tablet or a smartphone. Its goal is to create connections among cities worldwide so that everybody can enjoy or share their own contents in augmented reality.

We are creating a guide to curating and producing digital and light commissions in the public realm for medium and small scale events and festivals.

Why the contribution is important

Creative Scene has positioned digital at the forefront of both it’s commissioning and marketing strategies. We have found that there is an appetitive for digital work, that we can show digital work in unconventional spaces and public places,  and that it attracts large and curious audiences, many of whom have not engaged with the arts before.


Our commissions work to celebrate, interpret and reflect the local history, heritage, cultures - and to add something  ‘wow’ to the mix- something that shows the area in a new light. Our co-production of digital- where communities come together to create or influence content- is helping to redefine  art forms.

  • Digital exists in a new and different space- often unmediated, it can be excitingly disruptive and intimate at the same time.
  • Presenting digital work in the public realm breaks down barriers to arts attendance- the city and street become the canvas/screen/theatre. The audience  is already there; there are fewer physical barriers
  • Digital offers exciting possibilities for co-creation and for a dynamic, collaborative mixed media approach.
  • Facilities and training for digital need t embed opportunities for people to learn programming skills AND Creative Skills. without these,  great content  can’t be fully realised.
  • Digital art, especially  on-line,  needs curating and signposting; a trusted brand  with strong community engagement can provide and an  accessible entry point.

Nancy Barrett. Creative Director, Creative Scene 2017  

Creative Scene is part of the Creative People and Places programme, initiated and funded by Arts Council England through the National Lottery.

Creative People and Places is about more people taking the lead in choosing, creating and taking part in art experiences in the places where they live. There are 21 independent projects, each located in an area where people have traditionally had fewer opportunities to get involved with the arts. Creative People and Places projects have reached over 1.45 million people, 91% of who do not regularly engage in the arts.

by CreativePeopleandPlaces on July 24, 2017 at 12:57PM

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  • Posted by willpsaunders July 26, 2017 at 09:34

    This is really interesting. Thanks so much for the contribution. I know that this is only anecdotal, but who would you say the audiences you might be reaching digitally are. Are they any different from the sorts of audiences you might reach physically or roughly the same? And do you have any photos of the bingo game being projected - I'd love to see how people reacted to that?
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