I’ve been feeling exhausted, all told. I’ve been ignoring my own advice, part through necessity, part through illness and injury, part through late capitalism’s construction of freelance work and it’s propensity for self-exploitation (shut up Hannah). Anyway, I was talking to a friend the other day and they said ‘how are you’ and I said ‘exhausted and I’m not proud of that’ because I was barely hanging on with my fingertips, after a year of almost no time off (and rarely a weekend day off too), and I think it’s bad to say that like it’s anything to proud of, and then they said ‘but you are aware you did a lot of super cool stuff, aren’t you’ and I paused all of the worker’s guilt for a second and then said ‘thank you’ and ‘I should probably spend a bit of time in the 12 days I have off just having a bit of a think about that’. So that’s this. My 2015. I’m writing it with a glass of wine, surrounded by my mum, brother, animals, and while Muppets Christmas Carol plays on the TV. That seems ok.
So, in no strict order, here’s some things I did
- Worked with The Space as a producer, both helping them to asses the applications to their Open Call and WIRED fellowship programs, as well as trying very hard to make the case for games, and other forms of digital art that Big Art are less likely to have come across.
- I wrote some articles for The Space on the rise of the DIY/contemporary art end of games, and of a list of cool games for art folk who are non-gamers to play. As well as, later in the year, something I’m glad I got to say about DIY music and touring theatre for Fuel.
- Wrote this poem, which I’m proud of.
- Made a brand new 90 minutes of theatre called Equations for a Moving Body which ended up being about the people you carry with you who help you do extraordinary things. Solidarity, really. As part of this I collaborated with Third Angel, a filmmaker, 5 theatres, and won the Title Pending award. I also funded this through successful applications to both the Arts Council and the Wellcome Trust
- Made a brand new piece of community-based sound work called Your Home From Here in collaboration with Daniel J Harvey (music) and Parkin (illustration), and ran free workshops, as part of a Ridges+Furrows commission for my home county! For the town I went to sixth form in: North Hykeham.
- Spoke on an Almeida panel on computing/networked technology and how it’s re-shaping the way we live
- Guested as part of Pony Boy Curtis’ new work at the Yard, writing and delivering a short piece of writing
- Continued to support Third Angel as a board member, and also joined Something Other’s advisors, to support the super cool things Mary Paterson and Maddy Costa are doing around criticism online.
- Ran a workshop on Storytelling With Science in Stockton-on-Tees for ARC, and did a bit of mentoring.
- Trained for and completed a fucking full-length triathlon in 14 hours and 7 minutes
- Published a zine of my collected writing called ‘Selfie’ – named after one of the poems inside.
- Rode 210km – a new furthest ever, a month later
- Performed/Spoke at the V&A and Now Play This on games/politics/poetry.
- Wrote 5 Game Poems for a Wellcome Late on Play
- Wrote 3 Game Poems alongside a scientist researching new antibiotics to help promote his ‘swab+send’ project that crowd sources the search for new bacteria to help develop new antibiotics.
- Chapters on interactive performance for two books, DIY Too, and another forthcoming book edited by Ananda Breed
- I was the resident speaker at Videobrains for 6 months, introducing (what I am proud to say I think were) high quality writing and performances proposing interesting and different reactions to the way we talk and think about games. This involved going on 6 walks across the country/ROI, and a substantial amount of work to support the process.
- I started a Patreon and got some amazing support from ace backers, to produce a series on space and place and their effect on game designers
- Got those picked up as a series of RPS articles! RPS! How cool!
- Did a skills exchange with a friend of mine to teach them more about writing/presenting.
- Produced a Zine of that, which I’m SUPER excited about and which will be for sale as soon as I can afford to print it (free to Patreon backers).
- Co-written and delivered a module for Goldsmiths, and 2 community storytelling projects for UEL. UEL students said the words to me “this has literally changed my life, I’m literally going to live my life differently”. Also mentored a game jam at UAL, which was much fun. And produced a small commission for Chichester University.
- Performed a brand new 20 minute piece called Oh Breeze at Beta Public, as well as earlier in the year, performing an extract of Equations for a Moving Body in the Spring edition of Beta Public
- Wrote a series of 3 critical responses to the super cool If You Go Away by Invisible Flock
- Started road racing on my bike!
- Moved house
- Had a medium-serious accident on my bike, but got back on and started racing again.
- Started the first half of a Social Housing Arts Network residency on an estate in Poplar; story collecting, running game design and poetry workshops, and making some kind of game-thing out of what I gather.
So…. That’s probably all quite good isn’t it? I learned lots of things, made headway in games – which was my big aim of the year, I made a lot of brand new things in ways I feel are important, and/or about things I think are important. I supported others doing so where I could, and did some big milestone-type things which were important to me.
Now I look forward. To some exciting things in 2016 (and many other things I haven’t invented yet), such as:
- A revised Patreon offer – which I’m going to write ASAP, expanding on my games writing work, with some really exciting/cool stuff.
- A curated game jam between theatre makers and game designers which I’m going to run in January in association with Winchester Theatre Royal. Which involves actually paying the designers and makers involved (line in the sand)
- Speaking at The Story conference
- Taking part in an ongoing network around artist activists working in housing/housing activism
- The culmination of my community game design project, in March 2016
- A professional development project – hopefully funded, I’m going to try learning to code well enough to use things like Unity well.
- More game writing – critical and creative, for various outlets!
- A game design project — in late 2016 I’m going to hopefully start something with my new skills!
- A UK tour of Equations for a Moving Body, including a week’s run in London, and hopefully and Edinburgh festival outing
- A book! I may have an exciting announcement in Spring about a book of my very own, from an exciting and notable publisher.
- More teaching – I’m co-writing another module at the moment, plus also am guest lecturing at UEL, Chichester, and with a possibility of some work at Warwick.
- More bike racing! Better bike racing! Less falling off!
And also, this year, this is the first year past I’ve earned enough to truly get by in London. Next year, I am going to get a handle on my finances enough to build up some reserves. It sounds boring (it is boring) but it will allow me to do things like take some time off if I’m ill or injured, or just need some time. So it’s a pragmatic way of dealing with the problems of now. Rather than a big-picture late capitalism solve (quiet, Hannah).
I hope I will continue to make kind good inventive and engaging arguments about the place of art/games in society.
I hope I will continue to make socially engaged work that can listen and respond to its contexts
I hope I will continue to teach others with integrity and attention and care about the things I believe are important
I hope I find time to act politically and socially in ways that aren’t about my practice
I hope I continue to progress in my sports!
I hope I can be a kind and good friend, sister, cousin and daughter.
I hope I can be a careful and good person.
I hope I laugh lots.
I hope I learn lots.
To 2015. Towards 2016. Let’s go.