The case of the stolen trophy, part 2

Part one here, related posts here. Click on images to see the larger versions on Flickr.

The cryptic sign spotted in the newsagents near to school

The cryptic sign spotted in the newsagents near to school

The sign points to a video and the sums reveal a password

The sign points to a video and the sums reveal a password

Have you got what it takes? from sneakysneak on Vimeo.

Writing individual stories

Writing individual stories

Working as a team to gather ideas for the stories

Working as a team to gather ideas for the stories

The stories are good enough! We get a list of more video links…

A message for Team Alpha from sneakysneak on Vimeo.

The videos are of clues in Morse code

The videos are of clues in Morse code

Hunting for the hidden clues

Hunting for the hidden clues

A clue is found taped under the top of the railing in the walkway

A clue is found taped under the top of the railing in the walkway

The clues fit together to form a map of the school and field

The clues fit together to form a map of the school and field

We eliminate all but two of the crosses on the map, then go onto the field to investigate

We eliminate all but two of the crosses on the map, then go onto the field to investigate

Not this one: the map said to try the larger of the two options

Not this one: the map said to try the larger of the two options

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The Missing Trophy Mission, Day 3

The case of the stolen trophy, part one

Having previously been trained up as special agents, it was only a matter of time before the Year 3 and 4 pupils at Bredon Hancock’s school received their first mission.

Yesterday morning, whist reading through their weekly newsletter – the Bredon Bugle – the agents noticed a strange article which they recognised as being in some sort of code.

Coded message in the Bredon Bugle

Coded message in the Bredon Bugle

They phoned me and by the time I had rushed out of my office in iGenCa HQ and driven over to join them, they had donned their special agent ID badges, got out their investigation packs, started work with their code wheels and begun to decode the message. After a little bit of work, this is what we found it said:

To the bird of the night,
and another brightest blue.
I have taken something
That belongs to you.

Have you got what it takes,
To unravel the mystery?
You’ll need teamwork and brains,
Or your item is history.

Your entry point,
is where it begins.
Your imagination and mine:
Let’s see who wins…

It didn’t take us long to figure out that “bird of the night, and another brightest blue” was a reference to the agents in their normal pupil roles as Owls and Kingfishers, but what did the rest of the message mean?

I called a team to help me work through the rest of the verses and someone suggested that ‘entry point’ could mean the main entrance to the school. Another agent had spotted some new state-of-the-art security cameras had been installed in that area, so we went out to have a look.

state-of-the-art security camera

We located two of these cameras and decided we would have a look at the files on them to see if they had caught anything useful on tape.

They had!

The first one we watched showed us a person (that we recognised from previously intercepted footage) breaking into the school and then leaving again having wrapped something up and put it in her rucksack. She had some sort of device that zapped the camera though, so we couldn’t see everything.

When we looked at the footage from the other camera (that the intruder hadn’t spotted or zapped) it helped answer some of our questions: she had taken the sports trophy!

Here’s the combined footage from both cameras that shows what happened:

CCTV footage of the intruder from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

Now the coded message from the Bugle made a lot more sense! We also knew we had to get permission to launch a full-blown mission, so our next task was to summarise what had happened in a report to Agent A to explain why it was important for us to investigate this.

Mission initiation report. What do we need to put in it?

Mission initiation report. What do we need to put in it?

One of the special agents sets out what had happened that morning

One of the special agents sets out what had happened that morning

We sent the reports off, but then realised we had to act fast if we were to be able to interview someone who was likely to provide some key evidence in our investigation: Mrs Greenwood the cleaner went home after lunch so we had to speak to her fast!

Listen!

paper

Here’s what was written on the paper:

  • Research challengers
  • Are they are good enough?
  • Think of a way to test them
  • Be sneaky
  • See what they do and who they tell?
  • Are they a good team?
  • Wait for contact
  • ???

What were we to make of that?

While we were thinking, a message came back from Agent A giving us permission to go ahead with the mission. We used the school’s recording devices to interview the head mistress (who had information about the security cameras) and the secretary (who had information about what state her office was in when she arrived at work that morning).

From what the cleaner and the secretary had told us, we decided to see if we could lift any fingerprints from the scene of the crime. First we practised getting prints from our own fingers and then a few of us went to look in the foyer to see if we could get any off the remaining trophies, the door or the reception hatch.

Examining the fingerprints on the large trophy

Examining the fingerprints on the large trophy

Unfortunately we were unable to lift any of these prints, but we had a really close look and decided that the ones on the door and the hatch were probably the same.

From the to-do list that the intruder dropped, we knew she was watching us to see who we would tell about what had happened.

I was unable to join the special agents today, but I believe they were compiling a special edition of the Bredon Bugle to tell EVERYONE.

Special agent training camp: debrief interviews

Another post relating to Phase 1 of delivery of an Agent N project designed to inspire creative writing and foster curiosity amongst a group of Y3 and Y4 pupils.

Whilst the pupils were winding up the training camp with a piece of reflexive writing, I took the opportunity to take a couple of them outside for a bit of feedback on the goings-on of the previous two days.

Rather than shoving a microphone in their face, I used some binaural microphones that look like earphones and just wore them around my neck. I’m repeating most things they say because I wasn’t sure if the mic was picking them up or not!

Here are the results:

Listen!

Listen!

Special agent training camp: video reports

Last week I spent the first 2 of what will be approximately 6 days working with the Year 3 and 4 classes at Bredon Hancock’s Endowed First School in rural Worcestershire.

My brief was initially to “inspire their children and staff to write with imagination, creativity, enthusiasm and confidence”, but this has since (I think in part as a result of conversations at my interview, which I did in role as Agent N) been expanded out to also try and foster a spirit of creativity, experimentation and enquiring minds in a more general sense. Staff and pupils.

I’ve worked on several Agent N projects up until now: immersive experiences taking place over 3-5 days in which the pupils have an overarching challenge to work on and, as a part of this, investigate different areas of the curriculum. Whilst I’ve had enormously positive feedback on the effects of these, I think there’s still plenty of scope for improvement, so with this project I have changed the structure to explore ways in which to hand some of the authorship back to the children. This has resulted in the delivery being split up into sections. Last week was the first of those sections: a 2-day special agent training camp.

Relinquishing some of the design decisions started well in advance of the delivery time in school when I recruited a friend – 8-year-old Agent M – to help me prepare a video for the trainees to respond to.

The message from Agent A requesting that we look at the top secret footage

The message from Agent A requesting that we look at the top secret footage

I wanted a video of an operative in action. The action involved had to be exciting and intriguing, but not so prescribed that the the pupils in school couldn’t come up with a large range of different interpretations. I had a few locations in mind, but the filming was done as part of a weekend away with friends, so even those decisions had to be flexible.

Here’s the result after some basic prompts for Agent M to run with plus a bit of video editing:

operative from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

I’ve never seen 40 children sat with such rapt attention before!

We played the video a few more times, pausing in places to give the trainee agents a chance to write down any important details or questions in their special agent notepads.

After a bit of discussion to get a general idea of what they thought was going on, the children were asked to write up their reports for Agent A.

A trainee agent prepares their report...

A trainee agent prepares their report...

Here are a few excerpts (spellings etc corrected):

In the film there was a girl disguised as a young child. At the start the girl was at an airport. At a machine she got some tickets. The code was AQZP. After she caught a plane and got dropped off at a wood. Why did she feel the tree?

The lady typed in AQZP. She walked up to a plane netting and stopped. The man walked to the plane. The lady ran to a tree and found a bag with a book in it. It might have been a clue. She ran to a farm track and stopped and ran a bit more and stopped again then suddenly pointed at a farm house. She ran down to a beach and crouched down to touch the sand. She was concentrating on the texture of the sand. Then she ran to a castle on a hill. I think she might be an agent on a mission.

She was wearing black and she looked like she was on a top secret mission. She typed into the computer AQZP which looked like a code. She thought carefully about what she was doing as if the time was running out. She recorded stuff in her notepad. She thought carefully about stuff she found and used it to help her. She looked around carefully in case anyone watched. She looks as if the time was running out and she had to go with the flow. She was just guessing and running. She wrote something into the sand. She felt the tree as if the tree had put it there.

Agent Harry's report on the video

Agent Harry's report on the video

On the DVD I think that there was a girl in an airport and she went there. A cash machine or ticket machine and then she looked at the plane and went to a woodland when a plane went overhead. I don’t think she wanted to be seen because she was sneaking. She picked up a bag and ran to the beach and made a sign in the sand. It was something like this [picture of an arrow]. She was disguised as an old gran. She had glasses like this [picture of glasses].

Agent Jemma's report

Agent Jemma's report

I think that the code at the beginning was that she was ordering some clues to find where she needs to go next. Next thing she was taking facts about the airport. Trying to get the right plane. Missed the plane. I think that she was undercover because she has glasses and a hoody.

I saw some dead drops that the agent was finding. It was an agent on a mission I think or she was finding information. An agent was on a computer on Flybe. In the corner of the screen I saw a word that was WHSmiths. The agent at the end was a bad agent finding clues about the good agent. I can’t work out why the agent at the end was feeling a tree and feeling the sand. The agent was writing the code AQZP to get permission.

The report from Agent Cara

The report from Agent Cara

Ideas from these reports and from other pieces of writing generated over the training camp will be used in the next phase of delivery…

Come Alive with Science at King Edward VII

Come Alive with Science is a programme running across the East Midlands that aims to encourage young people to regard science as a creative area.

I got involved with it last year and worked with movement artist Miriam Keye to get 20 under-enthused Year 8 pupils to the point where they designed, planned and presented their own interactive science fair.

This year I’m working with Dean the Art Wizard and 20 ‘Gifted and Talented’ [a definition here] Year 10 pupils from King Edward VII Science and Sport College. The pupils will spend some time developing projects before going as small groups of Science Ambassadors into feeder schools and running activities with younger children. As part of National Science and Engineering Week in March, they will also host activities at King Edward’s as part of an open evening.

Yesterday Dean and I spent the whole day with the soon-to-be ambassadors: we introduced our practices and I did a presentation around the theme of materials selection in sport. Dr Lewis, the science teacher we are collaborating with wanted the project to use recycled (reused?) materials and to tie in with the Olympics, so we then presented the pupils with a pile of junk materials and the challenge to design a sport to take into the feeder schools as an activity.

We used an iterative process of first generating wild and exciting ideas and then over a few more passes eventually distilling these down into things that kept the kernel of what made the original ideas exciting, but were realistic for taking into primary schools and doing with a few classes of young children over a couple of hours.

We finished off by documenting the process and by starting to write up rule-sets for the new sports.

The Year 10 pupils will me a few more times to refine their projects and then Dean and I will accompany them into about 6 different schools to roll out their activities. I’ve no idea what to expect.

Generation of initial ideas

Generation of initial ideas

Introducing the new sport of hockegg

Introducing the new sport of hockegg

Principles of box jousting explained

Principles of box jousting explained

Making prototypes

Making prototypes

Making prototypes

Making prototypes

CD and bubblewrap wheels are attached to a racing cart

CD and bubblewrap wheels are attached to a racing cart

Ideas and process get written up

Ideas and process get written up

The Grid at Mowmacre Hill Primary School

I was asked if I would run some workshops as part of Mowmacre Hill Primary School’s Creative Learning Day – a day aimed at trialling a range of creative learning activities and developing the pupils’ role in the planning, reflection and evaluation stages of Creative Partnerships projects.

Working in mixed-age ‘research groups’, each consisting of 30 pupils, the children were exploring the following 5 areas of creativity:

  • Envisaging what might be
  • Questioning and challenging
  • Making connections and seeing relationships
  • Exploring ideas and keeping options open
  • Reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes

So, I needed to provide an activity that would work with children aged 5-11 years old and would provide a framework for the areas of creativity. After some discussion with the Creative Agent (representative from Creative Partnerships) we decided to use a version of Emergent Game.

Given that at least 50% of the adults who play Emergent Game pay to keep hold of their avatars, I thought it would be prudent to change the format to one that didn’t involve soft toys!

A selection of mysterious liquids

A selection of mysterious liquids

Inspired by the workshop we did at hanare project in Japan last year, where we ran out of toys and one of the players used a glass of water instead, I decided to theme it around some mysterious liquids…

I was also keen to build on the immersive experience work I did earlier this year at Linden Primary School, and experiment with how key strategies from that might be scaled down into something much smaller. In this case, a workshop lasting about an hour.

Starting off in a room next door to where I had laid out the grids, I first introduced myself as a secret agent. I wasn’t allowed to tell them much about my job, other than that we were on the lookout for fresh talent to join my department in the years to come.

I gave them a description of the sort of people we were looking for:

  • People who can notice the smallest details.
  • People who can think the biggest ideas.
  • People who can tell the best stories.
  • People who can imagine the wildest dreams.

I then informed them we would be doing a series of missions as a sort of a job interview, and I would be watching to see who had the skills we were interested in.

We also wanted people who were good at team work, so I gave them 1 minute to get into pairs (preferably with someone from a different year). After that, I told them our missions would be based around investigating some mysterious liquids. The scientists in my department had no idea what these liquids were, so we needed the pupils to figure out what the stories might be so the scientists knew where to start with their research.

The mysterious liquids were all in a rucksack and the teams of special-agents-in-training did a lucky dip to get the one they would be investigating. Whilst the bag made its way towards the back of the group and after the initial exclamations of “its just water” had been heard, I reiterated the four skills, asking after each one if they thought “its just water” would be the sort of thing we were looking for. Generally, they thought not!

The Grid

The Grid

With all the mysterious liquids distributed, we moved next door into the mission laboratory and gathered around the edge of the grid. Here I explained the first mission:

Profile:
What is the name of your liquid?
Where is it from?
What is the best thing it has ever done?

From this standing start, the children only had about 3 minutes to come up with the seeds of a back story for their mysterious liquids.

They did me proud with intergalactic waters of several different sorts; healing octopus blood; water from a river-and-washing-up-liquid accident; jelly from London that would make you powerful and water from Antarctica that looked innocent enough, but only the two agents working with it had the special eyesight to see what it really was…

It poisons you because a part of the moon has fallen into it...

It poisons you because a part of the moon has fallen into it...

Where some of the older kids were sniggering and wanting to say their mysterious liquids were urine, I called their bluff and demanded more details.

Frog wee/wii

Frog wee/wii collected by a farmer over the course of one day

Next – to some embarrassment from aforementioned sniggering kids – was the reporting-back session, where each team told the rest of the group what they thought their mysterious liquid was. This gave me a chance to make sure everyone was entering into the spirit of things and identify the very few who were unable to see anything more than a bottle of water. It also meant that everyone could see what sort of standard was being set and what they had to match up to.

Next I unleashed the remaining missions: one asking them to write a postcard from their mysterious liquid to one of the other mysterious liquids; one asking them to design a creature that might live in the liquid, giving me information about what it looks like, how it moves and how it breathes; one asking about what it might have been used to wash clean; and one explaining where the liquid might (and might not) like to hang out in school.

The creature-designing mission was by far the most popular mission, but again the pupils did amazingly well, with most of them completing all four missions in something like 15 minutes.

We concluded with a second reporting back session lasting about 10 minutes in which each team was asked to share their best mission.

Here is a slideshow of some of the mission cards that were produced during the three workshops:

It was great for me to be able to run the game (although I never actually called it that in front of the pupils) 3 times back-to-back, because it meant I was able to try different formats and tweak things that weren’t quite working as well as I wanted.

In addition to this, the pupils were also involved in evaluating and reflecting on each workshop immediately after it finished. I wasn’t part of these sessions, but you get the gist of them from the evaluation sheets each child completed:

Did you...

Did you...

At the end of the day there was a final session where the pupils were again asked for their thoughts on the different activities they had taken part in, this time feeding back verbally in response to questions such as: did you think the activity was better suited to any particular year groups; what did you enjoy about the activity; and what aspect of learning did they think it was relevant to.

I followed my last group into their final session and so was able to get a feel for how positively it had been received. I missed whether they thought it was suited towards a particular age group, which was a shame because I want to know how the youngest children got on with it.

There was potentially a large focus on writing during the game, and I wanted to check whether the working in pairs (and often with a teacher supporting them), coupled with the verbal reporting-back sessions, meant that they were still able to express their ideas in a way that wasn’t too daunting (more important to me than actually generating written documentation).

A really interesting thing that came out during this evaluation was how much the pupils were linking it to their maths and science lessons. It’s possible it could also have been influenced by us working in the science room, but they were mostly making an incredibly strong connection to the containers of liquid and their work on capacity etc!

Another piece of feedback I received, this time from a member of staff at lunch time, was the value of the reporting-back sessions in going towards developing some much-needed speaking and listening skills. This was really useful, because up until then I had been a little bit concerned about the pacing and whether this bit slowed things down too much.

Anyway, many lessons learned, and I’m confident that the Emergent Game framework can be successfully and interestingly adapted to use in different education contexts. Next challenges might be to explore how it might be harnessed to a specific set of learning objectives. It would also be good to get the pupils roaming around the school a bit and interacting with their surroundings. I’d also like to see what happens if we re-introduce the emergent aspect and ask the pupils to start generating their own missions…

project space

I just wanted to say that the fizzPOP hackerspace is increasingly becoming the communal, collaborative production space for unpredictable creative things that I was hoping for when I left art school.

Actually, come to think about it, in many ways it’s quite like what I hoped art school would be.

London and Tokyo, via Bournville village green.

Since doing an exchange visit there in 2005, my contact with Joshibi University of Art and Design and its students has included: helping to host their exchange students coming to Birmingham; effectively working there as a technician for a month; countless days just sort of hanging out there; keeping in contact with several pupils and alumni, including visiting their homes and having them stay with me in the UK; and hearing from alumni friends their tales of working as artists post-graduation and their encounters with graduates from other universities. As a result, I have a pretty well-formed idea of some of the things I would like to do to shake things up a bit, beyond my low-level “So, have you ever considered showing your work, outside of a gallery context” vibrations.

In 2006, 2007 and 2008 I also coordinated and delivered the social programme as part of the annual Joshibi Summer School. This involved sorting out all the pastoral and evening/weekend social stuff for the 30-or-so students who would spend a month based at Bournville Centre for the Visual Arts (BCVA).

We’ve had many conversations about how the Summer School programme could be improved. The main problems from my point of view are that the students arrive as a group; take over a block in a halls of residence as a group; are the only group studying at Bournville over the summer; have an interpreter with them the whole time; and have negligible contact with anyone outside of the staff and the other Summer School students. They may get to experience something of a different way of approaching art education, but there’s a lot missing in terms of cultural exchange and development of language skills.

I decided I didn’t want to work on the social programme this year, but was later invited to provide a day’s teaching for the Summer School. Based on last year’s werewolf success, and my recent work with BARG, there was no doubt that a game would be involved.

dead pikachu

My contribution was to form a starting point for a larger project where the students would go on to develop work that contrasts London and Tokyo. I ran two workshops in the morning where we compared the places in Japan they recommended I visited to the places that actually had meaning to them in their day-to-day lives. This got us from guidebook staples such as the Emperor’s Palace and Kiyomizu-dera to stories of favourite ice-cream shops, overheard sounds of children playing in campsites and stars as seen above car parks.

We also looked at the landmarks that we give significance to in our journeys through landscapes that we are very familiar with. Taking our journeys to university as an example, we drew maps and uncovered more stories. I’m familiar enough with the bus ride to the Joshibi Sagamihara campus that I could recount my personal map of that journey and compare it to theirs. This experience lasting only a few seconds is so completely and vividly on my map that I’m genuinely shocked to realise now that it’s a memory from 4 years ago.

As expected, the smell of the chicken farms featured prominently in the cycled versions of the journey…

question card

For the afternoon, I’d prepared a scavenger hunt around Bournville Green and the surrounding area.

This was designed as a team game, but with significant components where each student would be very much working alone (…unless they plucked up the courage to ask passers by for assistance!). Use of the Japanese language was, of course, banned throughout.

consultation

The students randomly selected a question to tackle and then had some time to discuss it with their team mates. The questions were worded to avoid typical Japanese constructions of English. I also tried to avoid making them so simple that no discussion was needed to fully understand them.

Examples include.

  • There is a car park at the Western edge of the park. Around it, with one end in the ground, are wooden “dragon’s teeth”. How many dragon’s teeth are there?
  • Stand between the Porter’s Lodge and the church. Look at the church. Can you see the carved wooden panel? How many flowers does it have? What is the man holding in his left hand?
  • Go to the chemists and find a lilac-coloured dog hanging up by a door. What colour is his collar, and how many diamonds are on the front of it?
  • In the alleyway between the chemists and Louise’s, there are some old style posters. What is the name of a UK city written on one of them?
  • Go to the butchers shop. What is the name of the sheep on the counter near the window?
  • Go to the Wyevale garden centre. There is a scarecrow near one of the doors. How much did his hat cost?

There were a range of strategies employed in designing the questions. Some of them, such as the sheep’s name question above, could only be answered if the student asked the appropriate question of the relevant shop keeper. Others would be made infinitely easier if they asked a member of the public for help in explaining what a particular word refers to (e.g. dragon’s teeth).

The other major aim was to get the students out and into parts of Bournville that they would never normally go to. This had the intended bonus of meaning that I had to seek out these places first. I was a student at BCVA for 5 years, and yet there were so many places in that tiny area that I had never been to until the planning stages of this game. I had lots of adventures and conversations: so much of Bournville is hidden away in a secret second-layer-back, and there are some truly class acts working there.

I was also determined that I would work with what was already in situ, and not parachute in any foreign bodies to plant for the game. The sharks, Iggle Piggles and Bill Oddies were all there already, waiting to be discovered and played with.

Right, so we had the basic mechanism of having to go to places and find answers to questions. The other aspect of the game design was about how to make this an intense, sometimes visceral experience.

tech amnesty

Prior to explaining the game rules, we’d confiscated (in a nice way!) all their mobile phones, electronic dictionaries and phrasebooks. This was originally done to ensure that looking things up didn’t replace discussion, but I think it also had quite a wrenching effect, because this technology is usually very heavily relied upon.

maybe the man with the plant knows where the garden centre is

I deliberately made it so that, after the initial discussion phase, each player then had to go off independently to find the answer. This took away another safety net of group decision making.

The other thing to do was to add a magic vest in the form of some hats for the players to wear whist they were out and about.

consulting the map

This covered my usual criterion for having an element of silliness involved in order to break down a few barriers, but as Holly Gramazio pointed out at Hide and Speak, your players look like criminals and, if the students were going to be in the bank counting CCTV cameras, I wanted it to be clear that they probably weren’t dangerous! The “help me find stuff” labels on the hats were intended as an invitation for people not involved in the game to approach the students and initiate conversations.

The weather was drizzly, the students were extremely tired after spending a long weekend in London (not to mention the jet lag!), energy levels were low, and I had to tweak some stuff on the fly to increase the pacing, but it all worked! It worked a treat!

magic hat and green

run

It was great to see the balloons bobbing around on the green and in front of the parade of shops. It was fun to see the teams playing jan-ken-pon to decide the next runner, but substituting diddle-diddle-dum lyrics so as to avoid the 50 point fine for speaking Japanese. It was satisfying to hear small groups of students with nothing to do standing around and chatting in English. It was worrying to hear that one girl hadn’t been seen for 25 minutes, but heart-warming to hear from the search party that she’d been found in the park with a gang of kids around her trying to help her solve her clue. We giggled to hear the story of people offering to help count dragon’s teeth. It did nothing less than warm my cockles to hear someone describe the hats as being magic, a comfort, and to thank me for making them wear them.

relocation of the Bournville factory, as explained through the medium of leaves

thinking hat

changeover

All three teams did really well and the rain mostly stayed away until we had finished playing. The final scores were in the region of 120 points (average 10 points per question) with only maybe 4 failed questions per team.

I finished off the day with a more formal presentation about the use of mechanisms and rule sets to instigate interactions with spaces; how presenting something as a game contrasts with presenting it as a piece of performance artwork; the importance of stories; the importance of magic vests/hats; the importance of silliness (and how it’s easier to be part of a large group doing silly things rather than being by yourself doing silly things) and how doing projects in public spaces confers ownership of that space to you (in the sense of responsibility and empathy, rather than of power).

Anyway, it looks like I may yet end up doing some social stuff with the group on Saturday: I may take the opportunity to quiz them on how the game has affected their perception of Bournville…

Babington 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!

It’s taken a while, but I now finally get to say “we did this!” and link to the blog and video from a school project I worked on earlier this year. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

Babington 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! from ignitescience on Vimeo.

Round up

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, here’s why:

w i d e o p e n s p a c e

w i d e o p e n s p a c e from BARG on Vimeo.

A fab afternoon with a great crowd of people. Heather wrote a nice summary of the first section and Nicky Getgood did a great job of capturing the non-games aspect of the afternoon which was to explore, and temporarily reclaim, some neglected urban spaces.

A song for Skatz

I spent 4 days being a secret agent at Linden Primary School.

We investigated, we hypothesised, we made a humming labyrinth, we transported a minstrel over from a parallel dimension where planets were losing their sunlight, and we helped him write a song that contained all the knowledge about light and shadows that they needed to bring the the sun back.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

An excellent project where I was able to draw on a lot of the theory from game design in order to make an immersive experience that each of the 60 pupils could engage with in different ways. I hope to be able to write more about this once I know more about the permissions situation.

Rhubarb Radio

On the 17th of May I was a guest on Steadman and Grimes’ Sunday Social show on Rhubarb Radio. We talked about BARG and the w i d e o p e n s p a c e event. I’ve written the first of two posts on the BARG website that include the audio and a selection of links and further information relating to the things we talked about.

BARG website

barg.org.uk

Now BARG has been running for a few months and we’ve got a feel for what shape it is, pindec and I spent a lot of time last week coding up a website to cater for the different aspects of the network’s activity. Here’s the result: http://barg.org.uk/. We’ve loads more events planned and we’ll be using the website to put out all the details when the times come, so subscribe to the news feed, or make sure you join the mailing list if you want to get information by email.

Post Digital

Mudlark heralded their transfer to Birmingham and their arrival at Fazeley Studios by organising a “day of talks from inspirational friends and allies”.

Post Digital brought together an interesting collection of view-points and practices, to which I added a deliberately lo-fi potted history indicating how I had arrived at a practice where I hack up cardboard and masking-tape interfaces for GPS units.

I ended my presentation by asking what sort of post-digital spaces a pro-am sort of someone like myself might be prodding in a few years’ time…

Howduino

howduino

A brilliant event. I wrote about it on the fizzPOP website.



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