Ludic Rooms were founded in Coventry in 2009. We are a constituted non-profit with charitable aims.
We are an exclusively project-funded organisation that work with partners to design and lead innovative creative programmes in line with our socially engaged aims & objectives.
Over the last 5 years…
Participants in workshops, training & co-creation activities
Funded projects & commissions
Physical audiences for our artworks, performances & events.
past collaborators, partners, and commissioners include…
Seriously, who wants to do the same thing every day?
We make stuff with things and things with stuff. We’ve presented work in many forms, including exhibitions, installations, performances, films, hybrid games, and online experiences.
Between 2010 and 2012 we developed a series of interactive commissions for empty shop windows, partnering with BIDs and local authorities in Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon and Coventry.
We collaborated with Motionhouse and learners from Hadley Learning Community to produce new media dance performance Glitch (2010) and with Sonia Sabri Company to produce Virago (2017), a solo dance performance with projection and custom illuminated objects.
Inspired by spiders’ webs and maypole dancing, Wandering Web (2018) used 200m of rope and geolocation to tie a group of people in knots on a collective meander through urban space controlled only by vibration. Paddling Light (2019) partnered with Mercia Canoe Club to create an immersive and interactive night-time kayaking experience.
We also produce, commission and programme the work of other artists working in ways that align with our values. In 2013 we commissioned four new experimental and open-ended games for Play Scene, a touring arcade cabinet for interactive play without winners or losers.
In 2014 we ran the first iteration of Random String, a wide ranging development programme for arts & technology in the region, it has since run four times biannually. RS acts as a platform for us to profile and share LR’s ongoing work, as well as programming and commissioning playful work that use interactive and networked technologies alongside events and activities for artist development, discussion and sharing best practice.
Our unique approach to play and postdigital arts has garnered us a strong international reputation.
In 2016-2018 we led Open Citizens, a series of projects exploring playful technology in public space. We developed a card-based workshop methodology for rapid prototyping ridiculous ideas with more than 650 participants in Coventry. The programme won ‘Innovation in Arts and Culture’ at the West Midlands Tech Awards 2018.
The card deck was first playtested at CounterPlay Festival in Aarhus, Denmark, and the project results showcased at Pro Juventute Spiel Festival in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland, and as part of the Creative England Western Balkans programme.
Other people like our work and talk about it, too.
Enact (2012), our self-guided tour of real and imagined Coventry was the subject of this article in the journal Digital Creativity; the Future Folk strand of our work for Random String (2021) was a case study in the Association of Heritage Interpreters AHI Journal; and our work in primary schools using GPS enabled storytelling was a feature story in the TES in 2012. The outcomes from the Open Citizens Pilot (2017) were reported by the EU School Education Gateway, and our Nodbins (2018) are referenced in the book Place Based Sustainability. Our piece CHOIR (2021) was featured on the Lauren Laverne show on BBC6 Music, our interactive projection mapping project in Conwy Multiscale (2012) for the Turing centenary received international news coverage. Other projects have been covered in The Guardian, Wired and Huffington Post.
We describe ourselves as tech agnostic.
We work with the tools and approaches that seem the most appropriate for any given project and participants. We’ve projection-mapped castles and war memorials, built street games with smartphones and chalk, turned shop windows into touch screens, made ancient orchards sing and bins burp with gratitude. But we’re just as likely to be found playing with cardboard and string.
We support artists, communities and organisations to get hands on and demystify the use of technologies in creative practice.
In A Sparkle Itching to Show (2015), we used volumetric capture to create a projected visual poem about identity with young women outside of mainstream education; in Canopy (2017) young carers used giant tree climbing and 360 video to talk about safety and risk.
We worked with staff and students from Shireland Collegiate Academy to kickstart plans for their new Immersive Learning Space (2013) and we led a research project for Leicestershire Museums on emergent tech-enabled STEM provision called Digital Outreach (2015). We worked with Shakespeare Birthplace Trust on plAyPI (2019) a series of R&D projects exploring the machine readability of their archives and the potential role of new AI tools in helping people browse and connect with their collections.
Often our work is thematic, spanning a variety of related technologies. Lost & Found (2014) with KWMC used citizen sensing and geolocation to help understand how local people navigate the areas closest to home. Our British Council International Changemakers Bursary supported us to develop new waterside GPS-enabled Walkshops (2021). In the R&D for Kitchen Circus: Home (2015) we played games like Follow the Leader and Hide & Seek with GPS devices on local young people to reveal their cut-throughs, desire lines and dwell spaces.
We make things…
and we support other people to make things.
Our work supports artists and creative professionals to get hands on with new technologies and approaches, to playfully experiment and explore.
We also work with education and community partners to design and lead participatory arts projects that include digital skills development.
Since 2014, our Random String Fellowships have supported 19 interdisciplinary artists on a 3-6 month programme of mentorship and digital skills development. Our Art of Place (2021) programme with Artspace supported ten professional artists interested in working in public space for the first time.
Working in partnership with Warwick Arts Centre, our experimental media after school clubs MI:lab (2016-18) ran creative digital skills sessions in three Coventry secondary schools. Participants produced interactive and new media content to live briefs for public events at Coventry Cathedral, Godiva Festival and the Helen Martin Studio.
Our RSx programme supports local artists in Coventry and Warwickshire with access to equipment and expertise for the production of new interactive and immersive live work. We also hire technical and production resources to local artists and community organisations at bargain basement prices.
We use play to tackle serious subjects,
from digital democracy, to ownership of public space, to the climate crisis.
Play is central to our work, in particular the unpragmatic and open ended forms of ludic play. Our work uses tech but is ultimately human-centred and invites people to imagine their place in the present as well as imaginary pasts and futures. We use play-based methodologies to prototype, playtest and refine ideas quickly.
We like to seek out new playmates and we’ve worked across the UK, collaborating with dozens of associated artists and partner organisations.
For The Forgotten Toys Compendium (2015) a European Green Capital commission in Bristol, we worked with local residents to repair, repurpose and reshare broken toys to drive a conversation around play and e-waste.
We later continued this strand of work with The Toyless Toy Catalogue (2018) for The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum and Permission to Play (2020) for the Wellcome Collection.
In 2015 we led Coventry’s first cardboard cars championship Wear Your Wheels, partnering with recycling charity CROW to get one more use out of commercial waste cardboard.