Tag Archives: Workshops

Eliot Wieslander

February 19, 2015

We have a yes from our planned venue for Between Steel and Glass! We still have to do some planning and organizing to set up exact dates but now at least we can say with confidence that the larp will happen in Stockholm and that we’re planning on doing it the first half of 2016.

Just home from a brilliant Knudepunkt with way too many people to be able to talk to them all leaves us all tired and sad to miss all the lovely people but also very happy. Knudepunkt is a larp convention that originally was a Nordic affair but that has now evolved to a truly international get-together with participants from more than 30 countries. This year we were exceptionally proud to have two of the twelve keynotes performed by people who’ll be involved with Between Steel and Glass!

You will in a near future find them on the official Knudepunkt blog:

  • Jamie MacDonald on rules: Our Genre Can Beat Up Your Genre (And Your Genre Will Enjoy It)
  • Oliver Nøglebæk, who together with Josefin Westborg talked about How we as players approach characters.

We were also very proud to present two physical workshops! Johan Lundby did a workshop on Ars Marte together with Sophia Stenler that had some very valuable comments from the participants. The method, now having been tested at two games, has evolved some and we are working on making some of that available.

I also made a workshop on gender: Playing gender performing drag and we had a very lovely time being reminded that learning through the bodies experience is a very effective way to truly learn and explore.

All in all good stuff!

Eliot Wieslander

April 8, 2014

Coming down with some international witch-brew of a flu seem to be a common side effect of going to an inspirational meeting of any sort. Once the flu is gone, so is inspiration. Although the memory of greatness, fun, people and learning lingers, the real momentum of “let’s do it!” can easily drown in the ordinary catching-up after a sick leave or just the not-so-helpful comments of colleagues asking if it was “fun”.

Knutpunkt is an annual conference on one of the most interesting forms of participatory learning and performance art: larp. This year, an unusual number of program items (ranging from an open mic night to insightful panels on cultural appropriation) contained loads of inspiration. As usual, some are also coming downs with a post-knutpunkt flu, called the KP-plague.

To me though, the real plague is not the cold itself. To me, after this and other such gatherings, it is always the lack of action that is the biggest loss. It seems we all too often pick up next year right where we left off, both with friendships and, more unfortunately, with our ideas and collaborations as well. Of course not everyone is affected. A lot of inspired, exciting and otherwise mind-blowing stuff happens, but what if we could somehow make that the rule rather than the exception?

As an educator in the NGO field I face this issue quite a lot and that’s why one of the best presentations for me this year was the one done by Trine Lise Lindahl, Lizzie Stark and Elin Nielsen. It was about writing scripts. Of course I was interested in the topic, but what made it more effective than other talks, as interesting and inspiring as they were, was that I could start then and there. Not just to try out what their method, but to try it out on one of my own projects and connect it to something I already wanted to do. It is always easier to continue something you already started when you had the slides in front of you, than to try to remember and start on your own when everything else competes for your attention.

This is to me one example of how workshop facilitators and lecturers can help us make better use of the marvels of coming together. There are certainly more techniques. Everyone at a conference is an expert in something, if nothing else, an expert of being new to that setting or of their own experiences. To make room for us to share that, without every presentation having to collapse into public debates, is another challenge I see way too few attempts to take on in most conferences, despite the wealth of experience in most scenes.

Most facilitators and lecturers are not professionally trained to do this. Instead they are generously giving from their other areas of knowledge and knowhow. The challenge is then for the conference itself, for organizers, program planners and for the participants together to change the culture. In larp this is something we know how to do. We need adequate tools and to learn how to use them. Instead of taking up creative energy for the new tools we need in larp we could easily use existing ones. Maybe there could even be instructions from the organizers handed out to those who respond to call for program items, covering participation and documentation?

So here’s a call for participation! I’d like to hear about your best ideas of making a presentation worthwhile. It can be anything from full on manuals on participatory workshop techniques to:

At the beginning of a lecture to ask participants to think about a few things to make it more worthwhile: Take a moment and decide in which capacity you are here now. As an organizer for a particular game, curious gamer or maybe a colleague? During the talk, try to put what is said into that context.

Let’s make tools for better workshops and lectures available to this community! Lets talk about this before next year!