Workshops Guide

Workshop 1

Digitally engaging urban environments


Hosts: Danilo Di Mascio (Northumbria University), Rachel Clarke (Newcastle University)

The main aim of the workshop is to outline and discuss different ways that screens and similar devices around the city, can be used to engage people, in active or passive way, in the comprehension and discussion about the places where they are living.

The presence of digital and interactive screens and other similar devices (scrolling displays, etc.) in our cities is increasing and their use is varied: advertising, cultural and sporting events, local information, etc. They represent a new (digital) visual narrative layer that complements or contrasts existing urban built environments and narratives. There is significant potential for social interaction around digital screens to encourage public debate about the urban environment. However, there are important questions that remain unanswered on the impact management of these technologies, such as:

  • How can screens be effectively integrated into the urban environment in a meaningful way to augment people’s experience of the city?
  • Are aesthetics and placement of screens important in the urban environment and why?
  • When, how and why a screen (and displayed content) should be considered intrusive, challenging or appropriate in a specific place?
  • Which, how and why should certain information be visualized or not? What are privacy issues?

The first part of the workshop will mainly be dedicated to an urban walk/exploration (not Urbex) that will inform the second half of the day. In the second part of the workshop, the material collected during the walk will be organized in presentations and posters that will foster focus group discussions.

We will solicit submissions from architects, designers and artists, both from academia and industry, involved in fields related to urban design, architecture, social sciences and HCI. The participation doesn’t require previous experiences in the field. Participants are expected to bring their own laptop, all the other materials will be provided.

Workshop 2

Urban Prototyping and DIY Media Architecture


Hosts: Marius Hoggenmueller (Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich) and Jasmin Grimm (Connecting Cities)

Architects have increasingly adopted digital media as a new material in the urban environment. Media Architecture merging the physical and digital space provides great potential as a new communication medium: distributing information to the public, visualizing data about the urban environment or staging interactive artworks. However, these emerging technologies can also provoke denial by the user and it is questionable if they are always designed in the interest of the citizen. By opening up these usually closed technologies we want to explore the inclusive and social potential of Media Architecture and Open Hardware, enabling citizen to co-create and crowd produce.

This workshop focusses on how to prototype and pre-test urban interventions together with potential users in their urban environment. We share a series of prototyping tools and methods to create content for this new medium and thereby involving citizen as active co-designers and twisting the idea of users and producers. Further, we will discuss how to apply the open source philosophy to the field of media architecture. How can we enable do-it-yourself processes, create media architecture from the bottom up und provide alternative solutions to mostly prestigious or commercial developments? And in which way can these technological alternative solutions give support to an open as well as responsible society and empower its citizen?

The session includes discussion on technological and social impact and potential of Media Architecture as well as live demos and rapid prototyping activities. Participants are expected to bring their own laptops. All other necessary materials will be provided.

Workshop 3

Media Architecture Workshop

This workshop has been cancelled.


Hosts: Cristina R. Maier (Interactive Design), Werner Osterhaus (Lighting Design Research), Filippo Lodi (UNStudio), Tim Hunt (Arup), Sergio Araya (Sparc), Robert R. Neumayr (Unsquare Architects)

Media Architecture Workshop implies a transdisciplinary audience from Architects, Designers (Lighting Designers, Interaction Designers) to Artists, Researchers and Industry Practitioners. Regarding audience engagement, sharing knowledge, reflection, co-creation is envisioned. Media Architecture implies collaboration platforms and innovative, experimental thinking.

The envisioned topics, 4D Printing / Lighting Technologies, will constitute an integration of the MAW with the Media Architecture Biennale. The Workshop will focus on hands-on activities / co-creation / prototyping. 4D Printing is a new way of printing that involves a parameter in addition to 3D Printing, the extra D standing for “dynamic”. The sensing, actuation and material logic are built directly into the materials developing smart materials that break new ground. We are no longer talking of “static” Architecture, but of spaces that anticipate and change in time according to climate and people’s needs. Lighting Technologies are a vehicle for visualizing innovative concepts and have a great impact upon the way a space is being experienced.

The MAW will have a duration of 1 full day and will take place on 01.06.2016 at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Roughly, the schedule implies Introduction to 4D/3D Printing followed by Designing / Prototyping.

Workshop 4

Starforming - a creative workshop process and new collaboration toolkit

Half-day (morning)

Host: Cindi Drennan (Illuminart)

Cindi Drennan has been working with multi-disciplinary teams for most of her working life and at MAB16 will lead a workshop that provides some new tools and fresh insights into working collaboratively in unfamiliar areas, in ways that can bring rapid and innovative solutions. This workshop is a virtual case study, hands on game and a networking opportunity as well. If you are new to collaboration as a design process, step in to the hive mind and discover fast-form creativity; and if you are adept, add to your super-powers and discover potential collaborators for your future projects here.

Who is it for?

Anyone who has an interest in working with people from other disciplines, and particularly suits those who want to expand their comfort zone and expand their toolkit for effective collaboration. This will bring shy people out of their shell, and put everyone's talents to use.

What is involved?

You'll be given support to work in a series of group sessions to solve problems using a toolkit for multi-disciplinary collaboration. In this game like process you'll discover ways to tap into resources in yourself and others, empower creative thinking and enjoy taking on the challenge of new problems.

Workshop 5

Public Spaces at Night: Reconfiguring Space, Creating Place


Organisation: Philips Lighting
Host: Susanne Seitinger

Public spaces have a key – often overlooked dimension – time. In What Time is This Place Lynch acknowledged different approaches for systematically including time in the planning process. Today, practitioners face a new challenge: how to include digital technologies into their designs. Digital technologies such as dynamic lighting by definition require designers to structure an experience – and when they don’t it’s often a missed opportunity. How should we consider the use of dynamic elements that require programming next to static ones such as urban furniture? And what tools would we need to accomplish new outcomes? In this workshop, we’ll explore tools and approaches to incorporate experience over different times – minutes, hours, days, etc. into placemaking strategies. We’ll specifically consider the power of digital lighting in public spaces at night.

We’ll start with four levels of engagement that digital technologies could facilitate – ambient, dynamic, responsive and interactive. This continuum will serve as a framework for structuring a design exercise in one of the possible nearby sites.

Design Exercise

After selecting a location, 3-4 smaller teams will use the materials at hand to prototype some different experiences. We’ll focus on a few tools and methods available from different disciplines to prototype and implement those experiences. We’ll ask whether the tools available are adequate or not and how different interactive toolkits might facilitate more open-ended explorations. In the final discussion, we’ll consider what this means for permanent installations in cities.

Preparatory Exercise

As a preparatory exercise, please document your typical commute home in the evening hours. You can use a cell phone camera, GoPro, drawing, photography, audio or whatever other tools you choose. We’ll use these mini-documentaries as an opening exercise to share different perspectives on how each of us experiences nighttime differently.


We invite interdisciplinary participants to join us for a day-long hands-on design workshop on interaction design for nighttime.

Workshop 6

Reimagining public media in public spaces

This workshop has been cancelled.

Half-day (afternoon)

Organisation: Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC), Research and Development
Hosts: Nicolaas Earnshaw (Experience Producer), Priscilla Davies (Experience Researcher) and Amy Nelson (Experience Designer)

What roles could a public media organisation like the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) play in future smart cities? As our digital and physical worlds further intersect and merge, can the ABC meaningfully inform, educate and entertain in public spaces? What are the opportunities and challenges associated with this emerging environment? In this workshop you’ll be re-imagining media experiences for citizens of future smart cities. Through a number of co-creative group exercises you'll be sharing knowledge, uncovering opportunities and highlighting challenges that arise when public spaces and public media mix.

What's involved?

In this workshop you will be co-designing through making. We’ll be using shared insights, creativity, expression and discussion to rapidly ideate and prototype future smart city media experiences together.

Who is it for?

This workshop invites architects, designers, artists, academia, students, industry, media producers, technologists and other interdisciplinary participants to help shape ABC’s future vision of media in public spaces. With a strong user centred design approach this workshop encourages a broad range of participants and perspectives.

Workshop schedule
Introduction: The ABC and ABC R+D is? 1.30pm - 2.00pm
Perceptible Horizons: What are smart cities & future media experiences like? 2.30pm - 2.30pm
Co-design: Setting the context that we’ll be prototyping for. 2.30pm - 3.00pm
Co-design: Group exercises 3.00pm - 4.00pm
Reflection and summary 4.00pm - 4.30pm

Workshop 7

Smart Cities and Urban Innovation: Industry Workshop


Organisations: Arup, UNSW Smart City Cluster
Hosts: Scott Hawken and Hoon Han (UNSW Smart City Cluster), Greg Stone (Arup)

Global cities are being revolutionised by new smart technologies and the vast volumes of information streaming from these technologies. This workshop brings together local and international experts for a participatory workshop to explore how this transformation might evolve in Sydney. The focus of the workshop is the new “Silicon Harbour” precinct identified by government as a potential “smart” tech district. The challenge for cities such as Sydney is to integrate global technologies while simultaneously fostering their own innovation ecosystems through the development of the knowledge economy and the creation of unique, liveable neighbourhoods. Industry leaders and participants will workshop new ideas and ways that information and communication technology can improve the efficiency and sustainability of urban environments, drive urban economic growth and promote social inclusion.

Global tech firms, local urban start-ups, city makers and urban and tech enthusiasts are invited to participate in the day’s events. The industry workshop will take place at the new MCIC, (Michael Crouch Innovation Centre) UNSW, and involve a hands-on workshop run by smart cities experts in the morning and presentations on new cutting edge smart cities research will follow in the afternoon.

Workshop schedule

The full program for the Smart Cities & Urban Innovation workshop can be found on (pages 48-49).

Coffee and Registrations 9.00am - 10.00am
Welcome / Workshop Launch / Sponsor Acknowledgements 10.00am - 10.30am
Morning Session / Industry Workshop

Digital Disruption: Futures for Sydney's Silicon Harbour and Tech Precincts

10.30am - 1.00pm
Lunch 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Afternoon Session / Academic Workshop

Smart Cities and Urban Innovation

2.00pm - 5.00pm
Keynote Speaker - Dr. Sarah Barns 5.30pm - 6.30pm
Networking Drinks 6.30pm - 7.00pm