Bristol 2016
Digital Cultural Ecology

The Medium-Sized City
Event Date: April 1-3, 2016
Abstract Date: November 1, 2015
George Ferguson CBE. Mayor of Bristol. Past President of the RIBA, UK. Michael Jemtrud. Founding Director. Facility for Architectural Research in Media and Mediation, Canada; Jon Dovey. Director REACT (Research & Enterprise for Arts and Creative Technologies) UK; Clare Reddington. C Creative Director, Watershed, Visiting Professor UWE.


In every country in the world medium-sized cities out number capital cities in both quantity and gross population. They are however, historically overlooked. In Europe medium-sized have a long history. In China, the history of these places is even older and, in some cases, non-existent – as new urban centres spring up almost overnight. In Australasia and North America, this history lies somewhere in-between. In a digital and interconnected age these cities have the potential to by-pass capitals and challenge the hegemony of central economic and political organisations. They can form networks vastly more complex, intricate and numerous than the now standard group of connected ‘global cities’; can become self-sustained economically and culturally; forge forward with new ideas in their specialist fields; and be test beds for globally applicable innovations.

In the city in which this conference is held, Bristol UK, the industry sector that underwrites its culture and economy is that of the moving image and the digital. It is a medium sized city with a history and an active present at the intersection of the physical conurbation, moving image research, and the cultural, economic and social implications of their coalescence. As with many medium sized cities however, it has an infrastructure from the industrial age. In this context, the present conference and related activities, focus on how the medium sized cities from across the world are adapting to the economies, practices and infrastructures of the digital age; how the interaction and communication of the digital message is reframing life in these cities, whether new or old; and how the digitization of the urban arena is changing the reality of the representation of city life.

Led by the Centre for Moving Image Research, AMPS and its scholarly journal Architecture_MPS, this conference is interested in the exploring the still latent possibilities of the internet in urban, social and cultural contexts; the development of citizen led ‘hybrid cities’ in which new technologies foster new behaviours; new ethnographic interpretations of the city and its peoples; and changing representations of the city in new and old formats: photography, film, animation, augmented and virtual realities.

It welcomes the participation of architects, planners, activists, artists, technologists, animators, filmmakers, cultural studies experts, programmers, gamers and more. It particularly welcomes those engaged in smaller cities or those in larger cities with a view to their own periphery. It welcomes multiple formats of presentation and interaction.


  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Digital art
  • Urban studies
  • Film studies
  • Media & communication
  • Art visualization
  • Art practice
  • Cultural studies
  • Computer programming

Abstract Submission (Round 1)
1 September 2015
Abstract Feedback (Round 1)
20 September 2015
Abstract Submission (Round 2)
10 February 2016
Abstract Feedback (Round 2)
25 February 2016
1-3 April 2016
Full Paper Submissions
30 May 2016
Feedback for publication
30 September 2016
Publication of Full Papers
1 December 2016


Smart Cities
What will direct experience of the city be like in an ‘augmented’ environment; what levels of privacy will be maintained in the ‘internet of things and people’?
Design and Media
Will new modes of communication and visualisation alter the ‘culture’ and ‘economy’ of cities and their peoples?
Digital design and architecture
How can old urban infrastructures incorporate the possibilities of new technologies; what will the smart buildings of tomorrow be like?
Technology and Citizens
How do technologies affect design, participation, experience and representation in the city; will passive city consumption be replaced by active engagement?
Visualisation and Environments
When place is experienced through a screen what effects will this have on design; does film, TV and video gaming offer examples of the future spaces we will inhabit?


The conference welcomes case studies; design proposals, research projects, investigative papers and theoretical considerations in various formats:

Conference Presentations (20 minutes)
Written Papers (3,000 words) *
Alternative Proposals (Pecha Kucha; short films; photo essays etc)
Lighting Talks
In-person and virtual presentations (via Skype, etc.)


The publishers that AMPS works with include UCL Press, Routledge Taylor & Francis, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Vernon Press, Libri Publishing and Intellect Books.


Conference outputs include the AMPS Proceedings Series, ISSN 2398-9467; Special Issue Publications of the academic journal Architecture_MPS ISSN 2020-9006; Books with the publishing houses listed above and short films available on the AMPS Academic YouTube Channel.


Written papers are optional.  If submitted they should be 3,000 word length. Formatting instructions to follow after the conference. All papers are double- blind peer reviewed for the AMPS Conference Proceedings Series. Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions as articles in the academic journal Architecture_MPS or in specially produced conference books.


Image: Unsplash