Metro Invention Challenge
How can we make a journey on the Metro more fun? Could we jazz up a driver's shift or enhance buying tickets for the passengers?
Our partnership with Nexus Metro brought the Metro Invention Challenge to primary school children across the North East. They invented something fun, practical, or bonkers that added to the experience of riding on the Metro!
The Challenge was funded by Arts Council England as part of the Tyne and Wear Metro Community Takeover, a programme of activities that celebrated Metro’s 40-year anniversary.
Visit the microsite to see all of the ideas and winners!
The Tyne & Wear Metro is a quintessential part of the North East. The overground and underground railway line has been calling at Newcastle Upon Tyne, zooming through Gateshead, and whizzing around Tyneside and Sunderland since 1980.
Our Metro Invention Challenge was an interesting one because it asked primary school children across the North East to take the everyday, to examine an ordinary system they knew well, and make it extraordinary! The aim of Little Inventors, and of our challenges and workshops, is to allow kids to think creatively and explore what is possible using their imagination.
So how can invention improve a ride on the Metro? We proposed increasing entertainment whilst travelling or creating a uniquely magnificent Metro seat. We suggested inventing something to jazz up the experience of the driver. The children could invent for the passengers or invent for those who worked on the Metro. Whether fun, practical, or bonkers there were many ways to approach the challenge and this was certainly reflected in the submissions.
Some little inventors considered how to make the ticketing process easier and smoother whilst others included disco lights or a cheeky massage onboard the journey. Lots of participants wanted their pets to join them for the ride and so incorporated Metro features that their furry friends could enjoy. We scoured the entries and selected our favourite ideas to be brought to life in 3D graphics. They were then exhibited for Metro passengers to see.
Metti Mash Virtual Tour Guide, invented by Lily, age 10 from Newcastle, was a tour guide app for phones. It had two modes: facts and fun. Take your pick and stay informed of your surroundings on the Metro journey! Lily mashed up information and entertainment into pocket-sized convenience.
Move and Groove Ticket Dispenser, invented by Maddison, age 11 from South Shields, was a treat for the eyes and the wallet! This invention asked you to get your body moving. Maddison knew not every passenger would be comfortable with dancing in public however, so she included a booth and curtains for privacy. Nice one Maddison. Those who danced along with this invention also jived their way to a half price ticket for their next journey!
Metro Fun Park, invented by Eden, age 7 from Sunderland, took leisure time on the Metro to the next level. Forget sitting back in your seat, Eden injected the standard Metro ride with plenty of playtime and colour! She invented a Metro carriage complete with a ball pit, climbing frame, and bouncy castle. A party for the young and the young at heart.
The Super Ultra Pup Seat, invented by Eva, age 9 from Newcastle Upon Tyne, was super ultra decked out for dogs. Canines no longer had to be tucked in at the feet of their owner but could travel in style with plenty of food, toys, and even an armrest for them to plop down their weary head after a hard day. Eva ensured that any dogs on board would be exceedingly more comfortable than human passengers.
Gary Pogue, a Newcastle-based animator, brought the ideas to life in 3D graphics, posters of which were installed at selected Metro stations and on advertising sites on Metro trains.
Eva anticipated her invention being shown off, “I can’t wait to see the big posters in the stations. My invention was inspired my dog Jasper, who I think would like a Super Ultra Pup Seat on the Metro.” Eva was also asked to discuss her invention on Claudia Winkleman’s BBC Radio 2 show!
Maddison echoed Eva’s enthusiasm, “it’s really exciting that my design is going to be in the stations and on the trains, I’m looking forward to going to see it.”
Huw Lewis, Nexus Customer Services Director, said: “art has featured on the Metro in a wide variety of ways over the last 40 years and this was an opportunity to really encourage some creativity in our younger customers. The winning designs are innovative, full of fun, and would no doubt be loved by some of our customers - and their dogs!” We couldn't agree more.
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