Call for Submissions: Exploring Cities Through Audio AR

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Gesso is a finalist in the Creative Cities Challenge. They are inviting you to publish hyperlocal stories on their platform.

Gesso is an audio AR platform that inspires meaningful explorations of the world through immersive, cinematic audio experiences. In addition to producing their own original location-based content, their platform empowers the next generation of storytellers to publish and sell place-based stories through their iOS, Android and mobile web apps. 

Cities around the world are leveraging innovative solutions to speed the recovery of local creative and cultural sectors from COVID-19. 

To address the growing needs of creators and cultural businesses, the Global Innovation Collaborative launched the Creative Cities Challenge to identify functional solutions that embrace new avenues of digital engagement and strengthen long-term financial resiliency.

As a finalist, Gesso is inviting sound artists, local experts and creative thinkers to publish hyperlocal stories on their audio AR platform.

While Gesso’s creator platform is actively in use and accessible to anyone in the world, the Creative Cities Challenge is specifically looking to highlight creators in Berlin, London, New York, and Paris. Published content from participating creators on Gesso’s platform will be promoted across cities by the challenge partners, setting a model for reigniting the creative and cultural sectors in cities around the world.

By joining Gesso’s creator community, you will have opportunities to easily monetize your artistic ideas by turning your areas of expertise into digital, on-demand experiences that can continuously reach new audiences, especially as global tourism slowly returns to ‘normal’.
Publishing content on Gesso is as easy as dropping a pin on a map and uploading images, text and audio files. Registering as a creator allows you to publish audio content as an audio tour with a specific walking route or as a collection of audio snippets geotagged within a specific area. 

Narrative themes can take any direction you would like, as long as content is place-based and highlights unique historic or artistic insights. Whether imagining site-specific sound art, exploring food history or tracing the evolution of historic neighborhoods, the opportunities to explore diverse themes are endless as the stories that contribute to each city’s unique identity are constantly evolving.

Here are some content examples from previous Gesso original work and collaborations:

  • Meditative walks through public parks, exploring nature, science, mindfulness and indigenous history.
  • Tracing the birth of music genres by looking at historic neighbourhood cafes, the history of music venues both old and new, and biographies of famous artists and singers who lived in the area.
  • Audio memoirs about the evolution of neighbourhoods as told by lifelong residents, local artists, and archivists.
  • Collections of audio stories about immigrant-owned businesses, amplifying the stories of local community members and raising awareness about food insecurity.
  • Sound walks by artists, composing site-specific music ​​triggered by listeners’ movements.
  • Understanding iconic landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge through the lens of less well-known historical facts and perspectives (women’s history, history of protest, etc.).

Empathy is what drives storytelling on Gesso’s platform. Local creators and artists are invited to tell the stories of their cities, celebrating the wonder in the world and fostering long-term dialogues around history, art, culture, community and equity. 

For a chance to be featured in Gesso’s newsletter and social media, please email [email protected] to express your interest immediately and submit your piece by 15 January.

For more information on Gesso, visit, or follow Gesso on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The Global Innovation Collaborative

The Global Innovation Collaborative brings together data, expertise and innovative ideas from four global cities to collectively find and pilot solutions to the complex challenges cities are facing in recovery from COVID-19, within the arts & culture sector.
For more information about the Creative Cities Challenge, read the full press release here.

Henna Wang

Henna Wang

Hi! I am Henna Wang, an art historian and sociologist deeply interested in human creativity and connection. My work across the arts and international development sectors have prepped me for my most important role yet: as Co-founder and Co-CEO of Gesso. Ges...


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