Birmingham 2022 Festival

For the first challenge, Innovate:Create offered the opportunity to win a support package and one of two £50k grants to produce innovative projects in collaboration with the Birmingham 2022 Festival as part of the Commonwealth Games.


Over the last few years, the position and status of statues in the public realm has been at the centre of much debate. Within the Birmingham 2022 Festival a major new artwork around a public monument was proposed. This Innovate:Create challenge is sought ideas from companies in the region to explore these issues, tell stories, and celebrate progress through an innovative digital take on ‘statues’.

The judgement we make on figures of the past through a contemporary lens is complex and multi-layered. Statues often memorialise individuals over ideas. Their interpretations can change over time. So how should monuments, existing, or yet to be commissioned, function in the 21st Century? How could we recognise modern achievements and progress in the digital age? What innovations, ideas, and stories should we celebrate or highlight?


Birmingham 2022 Festival segments its audience based on the choices people have and make about their cultural engagement. This project needed to particularly seek to engage people whose choices are often influenced by their social and family priorities and informed by community, family, faith and social group contacts.

Within this segment, there needed to be a focus on those areas of the region that have a younger than average population, multiple heritages and races, living in city/urban based areas of higher deprivation. This applies to areas like Handsworth Wood, Blakenhall, Cov/St Michael’s, Lodge Park, Anglesey.

Birmingham 2022 Festival were looking for local digital studios, games developers, immersive AR/VR companies, content creation companies, creative technologists and more to devise and deliver the audience-facing projects using creative digital approaches.

The winners were given six months, £50k funding, and mentoring support to develop, build, and launch a public project that engages audiences on these themes as part of Birmingham 2022 Festival.


Set in stone? Is the result of the innovate:create challenge set by the Birmingham 2022 festival and is available to enjoy now!

Memorials, monuments, sculptures, and statues. Every city has them. But why?

Holosphere and Second Home Studios have teamed up to create Set in Stone? a mobile augmented reality (AR) experience for individuals to discover how they view some of the city’s most iconic, most artistically inspired, or perhaps most controversial statues.

Set in Stone? is a guided journey through the heart of the ever-evolving city, from Chamberlain Square to Centenary Square. The experience pauses at three stops to learn how three icons came to be part of the Birmingham landscape, what they represent, and how they were received.

Download the app NOW via Apple or Android.

Using a combination of geolocation technology, AR, and 3D/CG animation, users will be prompted to think about how they personally feel about the statues. Are they viewing a key piece of history? Or do they find themselves interpreting a piece of art? How do they belong in the current socio-political context? Or are they just street furniture to be ignored?

Set in Stone? is a new and exciting use of technology and animation, creating thought-provoking scenarios and exploring the fragments of history which remain from previous generations.

Ed Shedd, Create Central Chair said:

“This project is a great example of collaboration and demonstrates the creativity and technical expertise we have in the West Midlands. The Innovate:Create scheme set out to connect creative companies with industry challenges, so it is great to see Holosphere and Second Home Studios grasp that opportunity and get their concept out to audiences in Birmingham.”