Routes, Roles & Rules

Following the success of my Ministry of Rules project with The City Gallery back in February [Museum 2.0 interview], they’ve asked me back as project manager for their Summer programme of activities.

This time we’re linking in with the 2Player exhibition at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery (“exploring the abstractions of game play and computers as a form of communication”) and I will talk with anyone who will talk with me at the LCB Depot (“looks at the nature of conversations, the creativity that can come from the gaps, stutters or breakdowns in speaking and the spontaneous production of new ideas that can occur when people meet for conversation and collaboration”).

The Graham Hudson installation housing the exhibition at LCB Depot

From my starting brief I’ve put together a framework to allow us to really explore the potential of the gap and journeys between the two exhibition sites. Loosely based on the idea of a Choose Your Own Adventure gamebook, rather than getting a bit grumpy about having to shepherd people to an unfamiliar venue, or even just working on a fixed route between New Walk and the Depot, we’ve defined a group of possibilities. The workshops will work with these to explore the layering of stories and characters over the top of the routes and the decisions made along them.

The workshops will run for the two weeks between the 15th and 26th of August, with different workshops aimed at different age groups ranging from 0-2 years through to 12-17 years. We’ve got an absolutely top-notch team of artists lined up to lead these sessions: Graham Langley (storyteller and one of the Traditional Arts Team), Lindsay Jane Brown (who has worked on early years programme with the REP), Sian Watson Taylor (a narrative-weaving artist who’s worked with more galleries and schools than you can shake a story dice at) and Ashley Brown (digital artist to be found in ludic rooms of all sorts). That’s a pretty amazing collection of skills and expertise we’re unleashing onto the streets of Leicester!

If you’re under the age of 17, you and your responsible adults can sign up for workshops here. (They’re all free, most will include BISCUITS! and most will involve exploring outdoor space – be prepared!)

The Routes, Roles & Rules programme also has its own blog where you can read more about the artists and the workshops as they take place. We’re very much interested in the idea of building on themes that come out of the workshops, so keep an eye on the activities section where we’ll be posting stories, tasks, and trails that you can download and do yourself. Here’s the first one – Story detectives – to get you started.

The Story detectives worksheet - can you find all the story clues and mark them on the map? Bonus marks if you can then make a story using them. Suitable for all ages!

Don’t forget to share your results with us!

Oh, and whilst we’re on the subject, I also had a bit of a hand in planning the activities for The Herbert‘s Wild Worlds early years summer exhibition. You know it’s a good sign when you’re sat in a planning meeting trying to figure out what small children you can borrow to be able to take part yourself!

Circuit-bending workshop at the British Science Festival

On Sunday the 19th of September I’m running three 1-hour circuit-bending workshops as part of the It’s a Geek’s World event, 10-4 at Aston University’s Students’ Guild Hall. (geeks_world on Twitter.)

Toy mp3 player, soon to be more with light and sound than the manufacturer anticipated...

Toy mp3 player, soon to be more with light and sound than the manufacturer anticipated!

We’ll be converting one of these toy mp3 players so that the sound it makes is controlled and distorted by light.

Circuit bend for It’s a Geek’s World. from nikkipugh on Vimeo.

The mod is pretty simple – so don’t worry if you’ve never soldered before – and as you can see from the video above the results are very engrossing. The kits come with earphones, so you can even play with them for as long as you like without risking familial discord! Alternatively… there’ll be another workshop where you can make your own audio amp. Yeah!

We'll switch over a couple of components to make the toy sensitive to light.

We'll switch over a couple of components to make the toy sensitive to light.

The workshop costs £3.50 and at the end of it you’ll have your very own bleepy chirpy tinkly thing to keep.
To reserve your place in advance you need to register on the It’s a Geek’s World website and then you can sign up for the different activities. There will also be a few places available to snap up on the day. My workshop runs at 10:15, 12:15 and 3:15.

The website is mostly booking system and doesn’t really show much of what will be going on, but take it from me: if you like gadgets, robots, and/or electronic noise then this is the place to be.

There are several workshops on offer throughout the day, ranging from learning to solder through to making a Beat Box sequencer with Mr Underwood. Something for everyone!

Nottinghack will be there with Drawdio kits. We had a fab evening when they came to fizzPOP for a Drawdio workshop, so that’s also tried, tested and approved!

We’re not neglecting the blinky light side of things either – there will be workshops for making these colour-changing boxes and a few other LED treats too.

Colour-changing light box

Colour-changing light box

As well as the workshops there will be people from Curious Minds (they of the Star Wars Force Trainer), oomlout, RobotBits and others. Expect interesting things to see, touch and interact with.

Others from fizzPOP will of course be there too, so come along and say hi – we’ll say hi back if we can hear you over all the bleeping noises!

British Science Festival

It's a Geek's World: Sunday 19th September, 10-4

It's a Geek's World: Sunday 19th September, 10-4

As part of the British Science Festival this September, myself and several other fizzPOP types are contributing various activities as part of the It’s a Geek’s World event. Entrance is free, but I believe there will be small charges made for some of the kits that you can construct with us and then take home.

Organised by Dr Kate Sugden of Aston University’s Electronic Engineering department there will be plenty of opportunities for you to make things that go blink, beep or ping at the various workshops that run throughout the day. (Sunday 19th September, 10-4, in the Aston Uni Students’ Guild Hall at Gosta Green.)

Registration will get going over on the Geek’s World website in the coming weeks and there’s also a Twitter account to watch at @geeks_world.

Save the date and stand by for more details for what’s shaping up to be a cool day full of things to learn and make!

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