Monday, December 07, 2009

Woolwich Workshops

A couple of weeks ago we went down to London again to run some workshops at Woolwich Poly and continue our research for the game.

We are working with a really inspiring art teacher at the Poly called David Fischer who has alot of interest and excitement in citzenship, community and also gaming. A perfect match for us.

The first session was run by Matt with BTEC students. The aim of this workshop was to introduce our work and the game and begin to look at developing art games, based on location. The idea was to introduce the concept of locative art games to the students, begin to get them thinking playfully about where they live and who they are, and to work with them on some game ideas.

For us it supports our understanding of the area, build and test some ideas and as we develop our ideas hopefully the students will develop their own, eventually they will test the game for us.

The second session was with Key Stage 3 students, this concentrated on location and identity. Using maps of the area we slowly worked with the students to create maps of the area based on their perspectives, the locations that were important to them, their journeys, their territories. Places they liked or avoided. Eventually we ended up with a set of maps of the area around Woolwich for each individual student and a shared map built up in Google Earth in the interactive screen, that showed the key areas for the whole group and the connections between the locations.

The final session went back to the BTEC students to begin to build 2 board games based on Woolwich. Looking at games like Ludo and Monopoly to create a playful set of rules, scoring points and the board design. This brought up alot of issues of territory and the ongoing issues of gangs in the area. They are now developing two games that are looking really great, telling interesting stories about the area that we would have never discovered from just wandering about and reading research.

As a final session for this stage we met with Said from the Somalia Parents Network to talk about involving this group in the project and to find out a bit more about some of the current issues facing the biggest immigrant community that now lives in Woolwich. It was a very interesting chat and we very much appreciated him taking time out from dealing with the pressing issues that face the community on a daily basis. We hope that the young people he works with and the families take part in the development of the game, and play when the game is finally built.

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