The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture was part of a major experiment in public space broadcasting, launched in 2003 on Big Screen Manchester, UK. Big Screen Manchester is a 25 square metre video screen with full sound system, and is housed in a busy public area of Manchester, Exchange Square, regenerated after the IRA bomb in 1996. The Manchester screen broadcasts 24 hours a day, with sound muted from midnight to 7.00am.

The Bigger Picture exhibited artists’ film & video, interactive / participatory screen based projects and arts-based community moving image. Utilising the unique context of Big Screen Manchester, The Bigger Picture was able to present a host of artists’ works to large, diverse, yet often fleeting audiences, reaching far beyond the traditional gallery context.

Working in partnership with BBC, Manchester City Council, and a host of local, regional, national and international partners, Cornerhouse delivered The Bigger Picture’s curated programmes, including calls for entry to its Open Submissions Rounds up to five times a year, whilst additionally commissioning and touring large outdoor screen-based projects. Occasional late night screenings and filmmaker focused events also formed part of the programme.

Big Screen Manchester, is part of a UK Big Screen network and also works to generate opportunities and partnerships with international screen sites.

A partner consortium of BBC, Philips, Manchester City Council and The Triangle (Exchange Square Manchester), installed the first permanent Public Space Broadcasting Screen for the UK in May 2003.

Open Submissions: How to get your work on the Big Screen:

Having launched in October 2003, The Bigger Picture has emerged as an alternative exhibition space for screen-based public art, film & video and arts-based community moving image.

Featuring curated and partnership programmes, plus commissioning and touring new work, The Bigger Picture also acts as a unique platform for showcasing local, regional, national and international submitted works from established and emerging artists and filmmakers, to fleeting, yet large and diverse audiences.

The programme calls for entries up to five times a year.

  • Next Open Submission Deadline: 20 July 2007, 12.00noon:

Submissions are selected by a panel of local artists, filmmakers and curators, in addition to Cornerhouse’s Media Curator and a BBC representative.

Selected material will be screened for a minimum period of two weeks as part of a 30 – 45 minute programme that runs five times a day on Big Screen Manchester in Exchange Square, Monday – Friday at 9.00am, 12noon, 2.05pm, 5.00pm, & 10.35pm, and at various times throughout the weekend. This schedule is subject to change.

If you would like to submit to The Bigger Picture, download the Open Submission form underneath (you can also pick them up from Cornerhouse Box Office). Please make sure you read the guidelines on the submission form carefully, and complete the form in full before enclosing with your entry.

  • Are there deadlines for submissions?

The Bigger Picture is not currently accepting unsolicited submissions.


  • Is there a fee paid for work shown?

No. The screen acts as a platform for work submitted.

  • What format do you screen work from?

Mini-DV or DVCAM.

  • Do you accept student work?

Yes. We also recommend students across the UK submit their work to the exposures UK student film festival, details can be found at

  • Do you ask to retain copyright?

No. If the work is selected you will be asked to sign a form giving us your consent to screen it but all copyright remains with you and this does not prevent you from screening it elsewhere.

For enquiries relating to The Bigger Picture, contact Alex Bird or on 0161 200 1507 (Tues/ Thu).


For general enquiries relating to the BBC Big Screen Manchester, contact Screen Manager Sarah Griffiths on 0161 244 4618 or email

Autumn 2006
The Bigger Picture Birthday Commissions Tour to Big Screens Nationwide

Christine Molloy & Joe Lawlor (desperate optimists)

Kartoon Kings (Simon Grennan & Chris Sperandio)

Now We Are Grown Up and Hopes, Fears, 20 Years are works commissioned by The Bigger Picture from two of the UK’s most highly regarded artist duos, Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy (desperate optimists) and Kartoon Kings (Simon Grennan and Christopher Sperandio). Following on from their premiere in Manchester 2005, as part of Cornerhouse’s 20th Birthday celebrations both productions are touring to Big Screens Nationwide. Artists Christine Molloy and Simon Grennan will be discussing their work at two special events in Leeds and Birmingham (see below for details).

desperate optimists, now we are grown up, 2005. film still

Now We Are Grown Up a film by Christine Molloy & Joe Lawlor (desperate optimists) is part of Civic Life, an acclaimed moving image series, consisting of seven short films made in conjunction with local residents and community groups, and foregrounding the relationships these local communities have to the environments in which they live and work.

Each of these high quality films can be likened to an intricate narrative painting, revealed to the viewer piece by piece. The series, which was begun in 2003, has met with great critical success, with Who Killed Brown Owl winning the award for Best British Short Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2004. Completing the series, Now We Are Grown Up was filmed entirely on location in the Grand Hall of Manchester Town Hall with a cast of performers all 20 years of age. Perfectly positioned and synchronised, the piece is filmed in two smooth and immaculately planned takes.’

grennan & sperandio, still from hopes, fears, twenty years, 2005

Hopes, Fears, 20 Years a film by Kartoon Kings (Simon Grennan & Chris Sperandio) is based around a series of 50 interviews the artists conducted with members of the public from all walks of life between the ages of 25 and 100 in 2005. Each of the people interviewed were asked just two questions with a single five word or less response: What’s been your single greatest hope since 1985? What’s been your single greatest fear since 1985?

The collected hopes and fears have been assembled into a series of vibrant animated texts, with key words and ideas often exposing contradictions and diverse opinions. Using the Big Screen as a video soapbox in a crowded and demanding street environment, Hopes, Fears, 20 Years presents real voices in an extraordinary way, creating reciprocity between the contemporary street and the lives of the people who use it, striking at the core of the relationship between individual lives and the recent growth of UK cities. The original soundtrack underwrites the drama of the animation, introducing suspense, narrative, humour and climaxes to the visual sequence. Kartoon Kings work screens only on the big screen, so this is a unique opportunity to see this film.’

Special Events

Big Screen Leeds

Screen Launch: 6.00pm Wed 13 September

Launch event at Lumen: 7.15pm Wed 13 September

Following the screen launch, in Millennium Square a launch event will be held at Lumen, a nationally and internationally renowned arts organization.

Artists Christine Molloy (desperate optimists) and Simon Grennan (Kartoon Kings) will be  joined by Professor Vanalyne Green, artist and Chair of Fine Art at The University of Leeds to discuss the work.

Free, but place are limited. Please phone Cornerhouse box office on 0161 200 1500 to book your place.

Big Screen Birmingham

Screen Launch: 6.00pm Thu 19 October

Launch event at VIVID: CANCELLED

Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control the post-screening launch has been cancelled. We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause. The screen launch will take place as planned.

Screening Tour dates:

Big Screen Leeds, Millennium Square 16 – 29 September 2006 (*Specially dates extended by demand!*)

Big Screen Bradford, Centenary Square 23 – 30 September 2006

Big Screen Rotherham, All Saints Square 30 September – 6 October 2006

Big Screen Manchester, Exchange Square 21 October – 3 November 2006 *1Year Anniversary Screening

Big Screen Birmingham, Chamberlain Square 21 October – 17 November 2006

Big Screen Liverpool, Clayton Square 20 October – 2 November 2006

Please note that programme details and screening schedules are subject to change.


Deadline for proposals: Friday 30 March 2007

The Bigger Commissions 2007, to be launched at Urban Screens Conference Manchester 07

The Bigger Picture is inviting proposals for the production of exceptional new public realm works to be launched on Big Screen Manchester at the time of the Urban Screens Conference Manchester 07 (11 & 12 October), and to tour to partner city Big Screens and public sites throughout 2007/8.

Four new works will be commissioned, each with an attached fee of £5000 (7400 EUR / 9700 USD) based on an agreed budget, of up to £10,000 for production (14,900 EUR / 19,500 USD).

This is a significant opportunity for film, video, new media and cross-disciplinary artists to explore unique new ways of creating and exhibiting work for a public context.

Each National Commissioning partner will lead on the production of one new work. Partners are particularly encouraging proposals of the following nature:

• Interactive and participatory new work

• Interdisciplinary new work (combined arts, performing arts, audiovisual)

• Evolving or expanded work

• New media and streaming technology

• Film & Video

Artists previously commissioned by The Bigger Picture include: Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor (desperate optimists), Kartoon Kings (Simon Grennan and Christopher Sperandio), plus Paul Melia, Hilary Jack, The Light Surgeons, Adele Prince and Louise K Wilson.

For more information on how to submit, please download key information, guidelines & submission form, and BBC technical specifications below. Please pay particular attention to these documents. Deadline for proposals: Friday 30 March 2007

If you have any problems downloading the forms please email

National UK commissioning and production partners:

Cornerhouse (Manchester), ENTER_ (Cambridge – , Lumen (Leeds – & Site Gallery (Sheffield – ), with support from BBC, funded by Arts Council England


Big Screen Manchester:

The Urban Screens Conference Manchester 07:
The Urban Screens Conference Manchester 07 is a follow up of the Urban Screens Conference held in Amsterdam 2005, produced by the Institute of Network Cultures and curated by Mirjam Struppek.
The next Urban Screens Conference focuses on the development of non-commercial content for big urban displays such as LED, LCD, plasma screens and media facades. Urban Screens Conference Manchester 07 is curated by Susanne Jaschko.

The project is supported by Arts Council England, BBC, Cornerhouse, Manchester City Council, Manchester Digital Development Agency, Manchester Knowledge Capital and Marketing Manchester.

bigger picture logo


commissioned by cornerhouse logo

lumen logo


enter logo

site gallery logo


arts council england logoFunders

bbc logo

The Bigger Picture National Commissions are four exceptional new works for Big Screens that push boundaries in the use of public space, audience participation and interaction. This touring programme commissioned by the Bigger Picture (Cornerhouse), with partners Enter_, Lumen, and Site Gallery, will premiere at the Urban Screens Conference before touring to big screens nationwide.

2008: man with a movie cameraPerry Bard
2008: Man with a Movie Camera

Vertov in the age of youtube

2008: Man with a Movie Camera is an experiment in database cinema. This huge participatory project will continue to grow indefinitely as visitors to the project website ( upload footage to become part of a global montage. Based on Dziga Vertov’s 1929 masterpiece, this version takes his concept of “decoding life as it is” into the twenty first century. Blogs, youtube, and sites such as facebook and flickr have revolutionised the way we communicate and created an entirely new system of social networking.

Situated in this digital context, 2008: Man with a Movie Camera initiates a unique approach to filmmaking. Individuals are invited to upload shots and scenes based on scenes from the original film, creating a database which then streams as a film. As a collection of personal visions this montage is in Vertov’s terms “a continuous exchange of visible fact”. Uploads to the site will take place continuously: the nature of the database is infinite.

Vertov’s film is a favourite amongst independent filmmakers, film buffs, film critics and historians. His concern for aesthetics, the complex structure of the film (which contains a film within the film), his experimental editing techniques, and the MTV-like rhythm of the shots give the film a very contemporary feel. When Vertov’s newsreels were boycotted by film distributors he screened them daily in worker’s clubs in Moscow and the provinces. The public context of Big Screens couldn’t be a more appropriate venue to pay homage to his work.

honourable ordinariesJuneau Projects
Honourable Ordinaries

Juneau Projects have collaborated with young people from Sheffield to create a series of animations that address attitudes towards images of nature and its role in our collective psyche from an urban perspective.

Natural imagery is used to represent ideas and qualities across all manner of visual communications, from heraldry to pub signs, logos to stone carving. Within these contexts is a form of dialogue about our relationship with nature – the received perception of the harmonious and beautiful natural world versus the often savage and merciless reality.

The animations will serve as contemporary heraldic motifs, reflecting the interests of the young people who made them and their perceptions of their home city. The group have researched imagery and motifs which seek to express their feelings and attitudes in the form of animated heraldic crests. The lions rampant and chevronels of medieval heraldry have been replaced by images of guitars, flames and cassettes, supported by skulls, animals, and vegetation to create personal banners and coats of arms.

susan pui san lok mobile ballroomsusan pui san lok
DIY Ballroom/ Live

DIY Ballroom/Live explores the concept of amateurism, and ballroom as a form of local, international and cultural dance. The project will feature a new video work based on found online footage of ballroom dancing, screened alongside a live participatory event; coupling analogue moves with digital and feeding the one back into the other.

Drawing on footage in the online public domain, DIY Ballroom explores amateur participation in ballroom dancing as a vehicle and arena for both cultural nostalgia and aspiration, and as representative of a heterogeneous culture, both local and international.

DIY Ballroom Live is a site-specific event that will take place alongside a screening of the video work. Following on from last year’s Mobile Ballroom (a flashmob gathering instigated by the artist at London’s Vauxhall station) amateur dancers – young, old, and new – are invited to take to take to the floor in a seemingly spontaneous formation. DIY Ballroom/Live aims to reflect the diverse, local ‘amateur’ constituencies that both sustain and subvert notions of ‘standards’ and the ‘international’. Sharing the same soundtrack, action in the street and on the screen will be momentarily mirrored via a live feed. Whether you’re a fan and enthusiast, or an absolute beginner get ready to dress up, show up and make the world your ballroom!

For further information visit:

esther johnson, celestialEsther Johnson

celestial adj. Positioned in or relating to the sky, or outer space; belonging or relating to heaven; supremely good.

Taking the form of an experimental portrait, Celestial is an exploration into changing weather phenomena and mystical representations of the sky. The film features interviews with weather experts, scientists, navigators and cloud lovers, focusing on their perceptions and thoughts of the sky. Visuals include: specifications of cloud formations; time-lapse footage of the sky; extreme weather; planetary activity affecting the sky; celestial navigation at sea; weather monitoring stations and sun-rises/sets.

Snippets of dialogue from interviews are creatively spliced into the pace and rhythm of the film, along with a specially commissioned score including elements of ‘wild-track’ comprised of sounds from weather monitoring equipment, and noises created from the weather itself.

Celestial is a work particularly suited for viewing on outdoor screens, which in this context act as a constructed section of sky, foregrounding the real sky around the screen. The film asks the viewer to look outside of the screen frame, as well as concentrating on the content of the screen. This meditative multi-layered film; weaves together a tapestry of visuals with a conceptual soundscape, highlighting the shifting patterns of the vast canvas of the sky and revealing how this effects our daily lives by changing each minute, hour and day.