Come make art here at The MetaMakers Institute!

We are seeking applications, for a paid residency of 3-8 months, from an artist or experimental game designer who is interested in generative design spaces and new approaches to game design on mobile devices. This opportunity is in conjunction with the European Union’s Vertigo Starts program, which funds artists’ residencies that take place within the context of existing grant-funded ICT research projects. The MetaMakers Institute is located at Falmouth University‘s Penryn Campus, in Penryn, Cornwall, UK. At least some portion of the residency must be carried out here on-site, but proposals that include both remote and on-site periods of work are welcome. Applications are due by March 2, 2018 March 12, 2018.

Research context: Fluidic games

Vertigo Starts residencies introduce an artist into a scientific research project, with the aim of mutual benefit to the artist’s work and the project’s innovative potential. As part of The MetaMakers Institute’s research, we have developed a technology platform, Gamika, that allows mobile games to be designed on the same mobile devices on which they’re played, without any programming needed. These apps include a set of built-in games, for which a wide variety of components such as game mechanics, aesthetics, etc. can be edited in the same app through a lightweight tap-based interface, allowing quick play/edit/play cycles while staying in the same context. We call this type of app a fluidic game, and our first fluidic game based on the Gamika platform, Wevva, was released in December 2017 (free for iPhone/iPad).

A Wevva demo video, to give an idea for how the technology works:

We have experimented with fluidic games in a number of cultural contexts. They include rapid game jams carried out with local schools and Girlguiding groups, a more deliberately paced educational curriculum that uses fluidic games to teach game design principles and computational thinking, and even a standalone artistic installation commenting on fears about artificial intelligence. An overview of this work can be found in our paper at last year’s International Conference on Computational Creativity. Our hope with this residency is that an artist will be able to inject ideas from their practice that push forward the fluidic-games concept and technology, either by building on these existing investigations or by demonstrating promising new directions to work towards.

Project challenges and possible proposals

A key design challenge in our project is to identify interesting parameterised spaces of games, and enjoyable interfaces for navigating them manually or semi-automatically. These spaces need to be large enough to contain a variety of interesting games so that users can exercise their own creative design in these spaces (not limited to games too similar to the built-in ones), but manageable enough that users do not need to program, and don’t get lost in an overly complex interface.

We are open to a wide range of proposals within the general theme of artistic work built with, or in the context of, fluidic games on the Gamika platform. As a result, the artist should have familiarity with game design, or a willingness to learn the essentials, but beyond that we are open to various types of collaboration. Possible directions could include: works that help visualise and/or communicate the concept of game design possibility spaces; interactive art pieces built using fluidic games; alternate or experimental approaches to mobile game design interfaces; design of radically different kinds of fluidic games, etc.

Funding terms

Proposals should describe the project that the artist intends to accomplish during the residency, accompanied by a proposed budget. The budget should detail the funds that would be needed to complete both the residency and project, including living expenses, materials, travel, etc. Successful applications will be funded in the form of a commission from the European Union to produce the artwork.

There are two possible funding tiers. Category 1 covers residencies of 3-6 months, with a budget of up to €15,000. Category 2 covers residencies of 3-8 months, with a budget of up to €30,000. All residencies must take place entirely within the period between September 2018 and April 2019, inclusive.

Proposals in Category 2 are expected to result in a completed work ready for public exhibition, and are expected to come from artists who have an existing public profile. Proposals in Category 1 must also propose a work that can be publicly exhibited, but these works may take more of a prototype form, and such proposals may be made by less established artists. It is also possible to propose a Category 2 budget as the first choice, with a fallback Category 1 proposal.

In the case of a successful application, we will provide the artist with office space at Falmouth University, as well as the opportunity to regularly participate in project meetings and events, with the potential to influence direction of research and development. Although the proposed budget must be sufficient on its own to complete the project, The MetaMakers Institute’s funding does include a budget for equipment and travel, which can be made available to the artist for mutually agreed expenses beyond the official residency budget. In addition, we have a variety of equipment such as iOS devices, a large touchscreen display, etc., which can be used for development and testing.


Apply (Deadline: March 2, 2018 March 12, 2018, 15:00 CET)

Note: Please make sure to read the detailed application instructions in advance, as there are several required components to the submission. Besides the project proposal and budget, applicants must also submit a short video, CV, etc.

Prospective applicants are welcome to contact with any questions. Note however that while we will endeavour to provide assistance or clarification to applicants, the review process is managed by the Vertigo Starts funding panel on behalf of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research programme, and not by Falmouth University, so we cannot waive requirements or deadlines. Final funding decisions will be announced by the panel in June 2018.

Artist-in-residence opportunity