And Lo! She did return, from the dusty folds of academia she did emerge, and it was good.
So I’ve almost finished the PhD. It’s in ‘metaphorical drawer’ stage. Which is like ‘literal drawer’ stage but saves on printing costs, in that it’s ‘in a drawer’ (I don’t look at it) for the next 8 weeks, and then return to it to do things like write an abstract, introduction, conclusion and generally try and patch any theoretical leaks that have appeared now all the parts have been put together. Then submit. Thar she almost blows!
So yes, now I am returned, here follows a series of blog posts about what I’ve been wanting to tell you about but couldn’t because of The Document That Must Not Be Named.
Playing in Public! I don’t have a massive amount to write about this, partly because I was mid-PhD haze when I went along as part of a panel for the Hide & Seek weekender conference event, and partly because I mostly get stuck in when I have something to complain about. It was just good. Like seriously good. An amazing mix of artists, theatre makers, game designers, developers, venue people, and scales from indie games to a Creative Director from the Southbank Centre. No one wasted any time trying to make a case for games as ‘relevant’ or ‘cool’ or ‘are culture now, please’ (except one PR man who had kooky socks and drank BRAND cola suspiciously obviously) and instead just got stuck into proper ideas and thoughts and provocations. And, do you know what? PRETTY MUCH 50/50 MALE/FEMALE SPEAKER SPLIT. Just like that. And I didn’t hear anyone exclaiming about lack of interesting, thoughtful, provocative speakers, or screaming THE WOMEN, THE WOMEN, THERE ARE SO MANY I MIGHT DROWN (of women, that’s a thing). So, well done the Hide & Seek team, I think I love you.
I was speaking on a panel called Regeneration games – how can public play contribute to community life? (They seem to have scoured my flickr feed for a picture there and have an amusing blowy one from my first (well, and only) trip to Paris that makes it look a bit like I hang around boats and have weird angular hair.) Also on the panel were Shan Maclennan of Marine Studios (an ace community regeneration thing in Margate), Kate Kneale of the Southbank Centre, and it was chaired by John Newbigin of Creative England. I wish we’d had more time to chat on this panel, as it began to touch on some really interesting stuff, and I would have loved to have the opportunity to get more into the deep, dirty stuff of what ‘games’ actually means for all of these levels of organisation, and what it can mean for the generation of agency, exploration of systems, and still struggle with in terms of the dangers of coercion. I really, really enjoyed this, though. Turns out 3 years studying a thing means you feel like you know just about enough to have fun explaining your opinions.
In terms of the rest of the event, it was really nice to have the chunkier panel sessions and proper speaker parts broken up with 5 minute segments from indie or up-and-coming designers talking about their work. Continue Reading →