Call Opens: Wednesday 11th April 2012

Call Closes: Tuesday 8th May 2012

Successful applicants will be notified week beginning 21 May 2012

As part of Science Gallery’s HACK THE CITY exhibition and festival we will be running a 10-day IDEA LAB between 14-23 June 2012 in partnership with Dublin City Council and IBM. The HACK THE CITY: IDEA LAB will focus on rapidly developing products and services that address current and future city needs.


HACK THE CITY is Science Gallery’s 2012 flagship exhibition and festival. The goal of the programme is to rethink our cities from the ground up through the spirit and philosophy of the hacker ethos - to bend, mash-up, tweak and cannibalise our city systems, to create possibilities, illustrate visionary thinking and demonstrate real-world examples for sustainable urban futures. HACK THE CITY draws on Dublin city’s history of innovation by transforming the city itself into a nimble “playground” and live urban hack lab.

The exhibition and programme focuses on hacking for good. Through the modification and repurposing of existing resources, our aim is to explore alternatives, which purposefully challenge existing hierarchies and consider tools for public good and social wellbeing. 


Calling all programme designers, hackers, makers, doers, data nerds, content experts, artists, citizen scientists, tech geeks, activists, edgy engineers and DIY urban planners.

Have you got the beginnings of an idea that could benefit your city?
Are you interested in setting up your own social or commercial enterprise?
Do you think you have a solution to improving how our city infrastructures flow?

As part of the HACK THE CITY exhibition and festival we will be running a 10-day IDEA LAB between 14-23 June 2012.

The HACK THE CITY: IDEA LAB will focus on rapidly developing products and services that address current and future city needs.

Specifically we are calling for proposals for solutions that address:

Dereliction:  This strand aims to both enhance the presentation of vacant and derelict sites and focus public attention on the issue, thereby encouraging proactive responses from building and site owners. For example, across our city traditional wood, ply or plastic hoarding solutions can lead to buildings becoming locked off and abandoned. This leads to further degradation and negative perceptions of the building or public space. We are seeking solutions for media façade, which replace tradition-hoarding options and create low-cost media options, which would allow for various projections and/or visual interventions to be created as an alternative to traditional hoarding techniques. We are also seeking solutions to the security and preservation of existing buildings, particularly solutions that prevent the theft of value raw materials and historical features.

Crowd Sourcing Public Data: Crowd sourcing is a method that cities are currently adapting as a means to improve their services and become more responsive to their citizen's needs. As public spending increasingly becomes an issue, collating, mediating and providing meaningful feedback on crowd sourced data are all-important challenges. Applications such as SeeClickFix.com demonstrate how in using smart phones, sensor-driven technologies and the Internet we can design services that enable people to actively participate in improving their city, contribute to scientific data or feedback on city council provisions. Similar to SeeClickFix, FixYourStreet.ie will be rolled out across Dublin City Council and allow people to report on improvements needed within the area. While Redbridge Council, Ilford, Essex, UK developed a system to encourage greater democracy and citizen participation in how funds should be spent in their local authority. Such examples highlight the types of ideas and technical solutions for the development; management and feedback of crowd sourced public services.

Safety & Wellbeing: What constitutes a safe neighbourhood and city? Is it the way in which your street is organised, the lighting, number of trees or that you know your neighbour? Or is it more focused on social cohesion, wellbeing and how your neighbours interact with you? How do we support pro-social behaviour within our cities? Within this category we are seeking solutions that focus on city safety and wellbeing. This sector also ties in with the Dublin’s Lord Mayor, Andrew Montague's focus in 2012 on addressing the core issues behind antisocial behaviour within Dublin. We are looking for innovative approaches in this area, which address citizen safety and wellbeing.

Open Data Transport Services: Over the last 18 months Dublin City Council and its local authorities have made significant advances in opening up their data, between 200+ datasets now online. We are specifically interested in receiving projects which utilise transport and traffic data. Dublin City Council’s department of The Roads and Traffic deals with road design, traffic signal control, parking, vehicular traffic and bicycles including Dublinbikes. Other public transport lines such as our light-rail way-systems the Luas and Dart are dealt with by the National Transport Authority, who are working with Dublin City Council to make as much of this data real-time and public in the coming months. We are also partnering with ESB – Electronic Supply Board – to work on the data that will be made available via their eCar posts across the city. We are interested in developing ideas, which focus on car reservation and hacking into the car systems for example by using them as mobile,  urban environmental monitors. Examples, which illustrate our vision within this category, can be found at The DataSF App Showcase apps.sfgov.org/showcase/. This link will bring you to a collection of applications that have been built by individuals and organisations using datasets published by the City and Council of San Francisco.


National and international teams who have emerging ideas and solutions, which address the above sector areas – dereliction, crowd sourcing public data, safety and wellbeing and open data transport services can apply. Ideas can be in incubation and prototype stage but they must still require further development and benefit from involvement in the lab.

We encourage small teams of 2-3 people with a mixed skill set (e.g., programmer, designer, content expert) to apply. 

Travel to Dublin and accommodation during the Idea Lab will be provided. Teams will be hosted in Dublin and provided with a team stipend of max €1500 to work on their ideas.  This stipend will cover fees; day-to-day living expenses and core materials needed while developing the idea in Dublin.
HACK THE CITY curator Teresa Dillon in partnership with the workshop group Platoniq, will direct the lab.


Step 1

Thanks for your interest in submitting a proposal for the IDEA LAB. Please see some details below on how to submit your proposal. If you have any problems or questions with this process please email help@sciencegallery.com 

If you are already registered with Science Gallery: Please sign in on our home page at www.sciencegallery.com (if you have forgotten your password, you can reset your password here as well). 

Once logged in you can submit your proposal on a web form at:


If you are not already registered with Science Gallery we need you to register on Science Gallery's site at https://www.sciencegallery.com/user/register.

You will receive an email confirmation and can set up a username and password.

Step 2

Once you have completed the above steps log into Science Gallery and once logged in you can submit your proposal by visiting http://www.sciencegallery.com/idea-lab-open-call-form


The IDEA LAB will run for 10-days from 14-23 June in a city centre vacant building in Dublin. Over this period of time the building will be transformed into the lab.

Summary agenda

12-13 June Arrive in Dublin
14 June Lab starts; introductions; opening talks
15-17 June Rapid idea development
18-19 June End user/community testing and feedback
20-21 June Idea refinement & presentation preparation
22 June Public voting, crowdfunding & feedback
23 June Final pitch preparation & presentation

Each day teams will be lead through a series of activities; the approach taken will encourage open idea generation and business processes. At the end of the 10-days there will be a public voting system and Elevator Pitch after which the ‘winning’ team will be announced.



Teresa Dillon is an artist, curator and educator whose work explores human-environment relationships, survival and interdependency through live performance, public interventions, workshops and specialist events. Trained in theatre and psychology, co-creating artistic, educational and social interventions is her passion. She is currently curating Hack-the-City for the Science Gallery Dublin and over the last twelve years she has worked across the performing arts (polarproduce.org), academia (Strathclyde University, Bristol University, Cambridge University, UK, Trinity College, IRL) and public sectors (Nesta, Futurelab & BBC, UK; NDRC, IRL). Since 2003 she has been involved in digital product development and more recently business development and mentoring. Within this capacity she has lead on various open source and open data projects, with emphasis on social enterprise and emerging tech sectors. Her work has toured and been published internationally, she holds a PhD (The Open University, 2006) in educational and social psychology.  As part of her curatorial role, Teresa will be preparing and directing the Idea Lab.

Platoniq are an international non-profit organization made up of cultural producers and software developers based in Barcelona since 2001. Pioneering in the production and distribution of open culture, Platoniq have carried out activities and projects such as Bank of Common Knowledge, Youcoop or Burn Station, which focus on the social uses of network and digital technologies for self-training and citizens organisation. Their work generates innovative software applications and methodologies, which have been presented at events, festivals and educational spaces around Europe, Asia and Latin America. Since 2003, the group are affiliated to the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona and their project Burn Station (2004) received awards from the Transition Festival (Mexico DF), Transmediale Digital Culture Festival, Germany and honorary mention at the UNESCO Digital Arts Awards. Based on Platoniq’s experience over the last two years with developing goteo.org (goteo.org/about) they will employ methodologies for crowdfunding and public engagement with the Idea Lab.

Supporting Teresa and Platoniq will be members of Dublin City Council, who will support idea development; plus evening sessions will be held with leading entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers, including members from IBM, Smart Cities Research Group. Rapid prototyping and modelling facilities will be available through local institutions.