Retrospect: ISAGA & RIDERS summer schools

While the two summer schools I visited took place only two months ago, it feels like much longer, therefore the ‘retrospect’ in the title.

The first one I visited was organised by the RIDERS project at the University of York and was, logically, on storytelling. People from many different fields, such as academia, theatre, comics and live action role play (larp), visited and gave talks about their work. One of the things I liked most was the fact that there were actual hands-on sessions after being introduced to all kinds of different concepts: we got to make our own 3D video, drew a comic, worked on audio recordings and participated in a larp. It was a very enjoyable experience and I really liked the different ways in which these media could portray stories and their plots.

I was also invited to give a talk about my own work and that of my predecessors at my department on interactive storytelling, which you can watch below.

And here are the slides accompanying my talk.

The second summer school I visited one week later at the Technical University of Delft revolved around simulations and games and how they can be put to use to teach people something. We also had lots of interesting talks in this summer school, including one by Alexander Verbraeck, whom we later invited to give a talk at the special track of our SIG at ESSA. Yet the main thing that stuck with me was the project we got to develop over the course of the full week. All participants of the summer school were divided into groups that worked on creating different serious games or simulations based on wishes of external companies. Together with my team members and our coordinator, Marleen van de Westelaken from Samenspraak Advies, we created a board game called Equalife for Terre des Hommes, an organisation striving against child exploitation. Equalife is meant to show 12-year-olds in ‘first world’ environment how their lives differ from that of children in third world countries and how their lives influence each other. The goal of the game is to become as happy as possible in each world, but also to divide the happiness evenly between the two. A spokesman from Terre des Hommes was very enthusiastic about our first prototype, so we’ll soon get the opportunity to play it together with people from Terre des Hommes to see what the future of this project will be.

Me and my group discussing Equalife.