The Twelve Days of Christmas

Competition - Robot-Animated Film - Festive Window


There have been many variations on the well-known carol ‘The Twelve days of Christmas’, but none quite like this! We invite you to join us as a visitor or participant as we convert the Fabrication Lab robot cell on Marylebone Road into a unique festive window, featuring our industrial robot arm, 12 animated film sets, and the live creation of a robot-animated movie.


You can see the robotic cinematography performed live in the windows at the University of Westminster, at 35, Marylebone Road, London; or join us in a live stream of the action at FabricationLab.London/Festive2020.

The world movie premiere begins Tuesday 1st December at 18:00, and the window will be running for 12 days, 12 hours a day, 10.00 - 22.00.


Better still, join in with the creation of this unique event. We are holding an open competition with generous prizes for winning proposals for designs for the 12 elements of the film.

To enter the competition, you need to submit three things:


A Narrative

Invent a short narrative interpreting one of the Twelve days of the carol. Be as imaginative as you like - creativity, humour and wit are welcome! Express the scene as you imagine it in a few sentences, or even better as a simple drawing or diagram showing how you see the action unfold.


A Film Set

You need to provide a sketch, drawing or collage of the set for your narrative. It will be the backdrop for a single scene, lasting 12 seconds, and must fit inside a volume 420x297x297mm (LxWxH). You need to include the floor and at least two sides, as well as layers, props etc. as appropriate. See the diagram and further details below.



Your scene needs actors, whether people (e.g. ‘ladies’), animals (e.g. ‘turtle doves’), or things (e.g. ‘gold rings’). We’re looking for your contemporary and creative interpretations of these categories. Don’t hold back! You might use drawings, photographs, collages, or 3D found objects to represent these characters.


All Entries

Everyone that submits a usable design will have their work displayed in the festive window and exhibition of the event.


The 12 best, shortlisted entries we will help you build, and they will then be featured in the robot cell itself and in the Twelve Days film. We’ll provide the materials and digital fabrication tools to realise your ideas, as well as the mechanisms to animate your actors. We’ll then program a specific camera path for the robot to bring your ideas to life.


The 3 best entries featured in the film will be judged by our guest panel of distinguished architects, designers and VIPs, and they will be awarded the following prizes from our generous sponsors:

1st Prize  - TBC

2nd Prize - TBC

3rd Prize - TBC

Judging will take place on Tuesday 8th December, and the winners will be announced at the film premiere.



We invite everyone to join us in the creation of this festive window, and welcome a diversity of input and interpretations of the competition theme. Bring whatever perspective and skills you have! Participants already include our own students from the School of Architecture + Cities, but also younger students from local schools and colleges. The competition is open to everyone, of all ages and backgrounds.


Competition opens:                       Friday, 20.11.20

Competition closes:                       Tuesday, 01.12.20

Film Premiere:                               Tuesday, 08.12.20, 18:00 GMT

Festive Window/Exhibition:           08 to 20.12.20, 10:00 to 22:00

View live:                                     Windows of the University of Westminster, 35, Marylebone Road, London

Live streamed:                               www.FabricationLab.London/TwelveDays


This is an open competition with inclusive judging criteria. We are not judging entries on drawing or model-making skills - though we encourage to do the best you can, and are very appreciative of skillful executed designs. Judging however will be based based on the following more inclusive criteria:


There have been many variations over the 200 year history of the Twelve Days carol. But most include the following remarkable gifts from 'my true love'. We invite you to interpret these traditional gifts as you like! We should be able to recognise which one was the original inspiration, but we're hoping you'll open our eyes to something new and unexpected, bringing your unique vision of what this gift might look like today. It's an old song, so contemporary interpretations that fit the theme but bring it bang up to date will be especially welcome:

  1. A partridge in a pear tree,
  2. Two turtle doves,
  3. Three french hens,
  4. Four calling birds,
  5. Five gold rings,
  6. Six geese a-laying
  7. Seven swans a-swimming,
  8. Eight maids a-milking,
  9. Nine ladies dancing,
  10. Ten lords a-leaping,
  11. Eleven pipers piping,
  12. Twelve drummers drumming.


You can find inspiration where you like - no doubt Google will help. And your proposal can take many forms, from simple collages to complex animatronic sculptures. But bear in mind we have to make them, and some simplification may be involved! We include here some images of projects both simple and complex to get you started:


The Twelve Days Festive Window is brought to you by the Fabrication Lab at the University of Westminster, in partnership with the School of Architecture + Cities and the Baker Street Quarter Partnership. Participants include students from the College of Design and Creative Industries, as well as local schools including St Mary’s Bryanston Square. We are very grateful for our generous sponsors from Baker Street and the Marylebone area.