The Play Ground residency draws nearer

The Play Ground residency draws nearer: on Monday next week this corner of the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, will have been cleared of the trestle tables and retro computer games (don’t worry, they’ll not have been moved far!), and the Ministry of Rules will have set up their new headquarters there instead.

The soon-to-be Ministry of Rules HQ

I’ll be inviting visitors to the exhibition to join me in becoming Inspectors for the Ministry of Rules and together we will shape the investigations that will take place over the 5 days of the residency (21st – 25th of February). Our main task for the first day is therefore to construct the hugemongous mind map that will help us decide what we collectively want to focus our energies on for the remainder of the time.

On Monday afternoon we also have a sign-writing activity that will see the more adventurous amongst us surreptitiously placing new rules around the museum building. We wouldn’t want it to be too much about the paperwork now, would we?

From that point on I have no idea how things are going to evolve. Personally, I’ll be looking to explore physical spaces, unspoken rules, looking at things from a different angle, emergent playfulness, and poking the edges of conventions. If you’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done previously around pervasive games and interventions in public spaces then I strongly recommend you try and get over to New Walk Gallery over half term. Also, there’s a bouncy castle!

The only non-blurry photo I have from the inside of Mungo Thomson's Skyspace Bouncehouse.

I know the hours of 11-4 may be unfriendly to those with day jobs, but fear not: we’ll be making the most of the MoR blog at and there could well be more chances to get involved remotely such as the Find-an-Interesting-Sign challenge that readers of this blog so wonderfully road-tested last week.

I’ve ordered the Inspector ID badges, requested the colourful wool and located the large box full of assorted sticky tape. We found a fox in a box, too, but apparently that’s just normal museum stuff…

Fox. In a box.

Testing, testing…

Please ensure the gate is bolted after entry and exit.

I’m test-driving a few ideas and approaches in preparation for a week in residence at New Walk Gallery as part of their Play Ground exhibition programme:

What rules do we follow in galleries? What rules would you most like to break? What new rules would you write?

The Ministry of Rules (MoR) is a fictional organisation that will be based in the Play Ground exhibition. The MoR needs your help to research, observe, explore, enforce and re-write the rules people may or may not be following in the art gallery and museum.

As part of this I want to check having a Flickr account that people can post to. Would you help me out, please?

I’m looking for examples of signs and notices with some sort of imperative about them. The theme is rules, so the sorts of things that tell you to do this, or not do that or that such-and-such is forbidden.

I suspect road signs and other massively mass-produced signage might get a little dull, but there are loads of examples out there that are custom-made or more interesting because of their context. Can you help me hunt them down and then email them to ?

Just add the photo as an attachment and, if you want, put a title as the email’s subject. The photos will get posted to this photostream:

I’ll leave it running for about a week to see how it shapes up. Get noticing!

Things we have learned #1:

You can add descriptions for the photos in the main text of the email. If your email automatically adds a signature with your contact details etc, you may wish to remove it…

Things we have learned #2:

If you don’t add a title via the subject line, Flickr will use the file name of the image.

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