We Sing In Fire and Blood

Our First Tuesday in June was a vr-focused session for Grrrl Games, so we invited artist and writer Hazel Grian to come and talk to us about We Sing In Fire and Blood, her VR choral piece. It’s a moving piece of work about how we come together as communities after traumatic events, and is inspired by Hazel’s story of surviving a life-changing event. It was interesting to hear her process of developing the project, building on past experience of creating work and realising that past projects had been too ephemeral – she wanted to create something that would last longer, after all the creative effort that goes into experiments using new technology.

Hazel went through a long process of writing and rewriting funding applications, sticking to her sense of purpose about wanting to tell her story in her own way. After several months We Sing In Fire and Blood was funded by Arts Council England and Watershed, and she was able to assemble a team of talented composers/musicians (Duncan Speakman & Sarah Anderson) and VR people (All Seeing Eye) to bring her ideas to life. She showed photos of the design process – using TIlt Brush to sketch out the piece in vr, and the filming of actors in green screen, and her design for how the audience views the piece, as if they are sat around a communal fire.

HazelTalkGGamesJune18

The current version of We Sing In Fire and Blood is a 12 minute VR experience. It is moving and inspiring, and definitely worth the experience if you come across it at a film/vr festival – hopefully it will be heading out into the wider world this year. Hazel is currently seeking more funding to develop the work into a longer operatic piece – she played a snippet of one of the bits of music and that on its own was pretty stunning.  Bristol based people may be able to try We Sing In Fire and Blood if they get in touch with the PMStudio. She is heading to Sheffield Doc Fest next week and we wish her well.

Hazel is a resident at the Pervasive Media Studio – read more here – and we want to say thanks to them for hosting our meetup this month!

Advertisements

Announcing the XX+ Games Jam

UPDATE: Thanks for all the interest and applications – we will be curating our list of participants for each venue and get back to you asap.

**************

Calling all women who like games – have you ever wanted to make one?  ReFIGuk are delighted to announce the xx+ games jam, 24 hours of fun and games design for women, transgender and non-binary people funded by ReFIG.  UK sites will be running in Brighton, Bristol, Leamington Spa & London.

XX+ Games Jam is an international jam, happening over 24 hours at 5 sites in the UK and 2 sites in Canada.  The Jams will be a relaxed affair, and people of all talents, professions and skill levels are welcome.  Any kind of game can be created, including digital, physical and paper – and teams will be formed to work around a theme – announced at the start of the jam on  Friday (but shh – keep it a secret until Canada starts too!)

No background in tech or previous programming experience is needed – we need artists, sound designers, organisers, writers – and enthusiasm to come up with cool game ideas!  People will be on hand to help out where you need.

Drinks, snacks and tech support will all be available – the venues will be open from 6-10pm on Friday and then til 6pm on Saturday. Some venues will allow for optional late night jamming.

~ there are 24 spaces in each location so apply now!

~ xx+ runs from 6pm Friday 14th October to 6pm Saturday 15th October 2016

~ application deadline is 4th October 2016 – we will let you know by asap after that date if you have been successful

nb this event is for over 18s only

There will be concurrent xx+ jams in Montreal & Toronto so you’ll be working alongside women in UK and Canada, expanding your networks and meeting other women who are changing the games industry one step at a time.

If you would be interested in supporting the xx+ jam in other ways – by being a volunteer mentor or tech support on the day then please get in touch: xxplusgamesjam2016@gmail.com

 

Locations: Bristol ~ pmstudio/watershed
Leamington Spa ~ Arch Creatives
London ~ Kings College
Brighton ~ The Skiff
Norwich – cancelled, sorry!

REFIG is full of women who believe that the games industry has the capacity to deliver rich, meaningful, creative and stimulating cultural experiences that can also contribute new tools for education and new avenues for economic prosperity.  A diverse, inclusive and representative workforce will ensure that it achieves this with opportunities for all.

 

Blast from the past – XX Game Jam 2012

For some reasoning I’ve been thinking about what triggered our grrrl game activities and one of the definite sparks was a women-only XX Games Jam that ran in Autumn 2012 up at Mind Candy HQ in London (a very colourful space full of Moshi monsters). All those who went had a great 24 hours or so developing games with a bunch of women who mostly didn’t know each other beforehand. Jess & I went along wondering if we had any relevant skills to contribute and came home wanting to make games more than once in a blue moon (still working on that one!) and to encourage other women to have a go too. It kickstarted our cunning plan to develop software training, discussion sessions and taster workshops to build useful skills in preparation for another Grrrl Games Jam.

XX Games Jam was also where I created my Ada Lovelace icon that just reminds me of what a blast I had working with Terri & Kimmi, who I had never met before.

TickTockTerrorGameSmall

There’s this featurette on BBC Click online about the XX Game Jam. It was a big confidence booster for a lot of women in games, including yours truly. These reporters get the point and are generally positive about the idea of women making games, and how women-only jams are a good way to encourage us to take our first steps. Just one women-only games jam was enough to give me confidence to attend mixed jams too. There’s a nice video here about XX Game Jam that includes interviews with organisers and attendees, and it just reminds me why we want to organise another XX Games Jam!

 

First Tuesday

Kicking off on Tuesday April 7th and kindly hosted by Bristol Games Hub, First Tuesday is Grrrl Games regular meet-up evening in Bristol, an informal get-together for women interested in games to talk about what we are making, what we want to make and maybe even make something. We’ll meet at 6 for 6.30 ’til 8pm and then quite probably move along elsewhere for food/drinks.

We don’t have sponsorship for drinks/snacks so feel free to bring something along if you want more than instant coffee.

Sign up through our Meetup page!

What It’s Like To Be A Woman Making Video Games

ku-bigpic

Whitney Hills, who has worked in games since 2007 and has shipped over a dozen titles, has written this summary of her experiences of being a woman in the games industry. It’s an incredibly open piece which picks up on a lot of the same points that i’ve seen floated around the women-and-video-games discussion before. This one in particular though, made my heart ache:

Over the years, other people’s words and actions pile onto your shoulders. You feel enormous pressure to pretend that nothing bothers you, because you don’t want to give others more power to hurt you, or upset people you care about or make them feel uncomfortable.

The article is a must-read and i’d even suggest taking time to read the comments as, despite the deluge of criticism, there is actually a good discussion buried in there, I particularly liked this comment:

My gender equality teacher in high school used to share this short anecdote with us sometimes. It’s about how women state, understandably, how uncomfortable it is to walk by a group of men who wolf whistle.

In response, many men stated that they’d love to have a group of women wolf whistle at them. But it doesn’t work that way, and we can’t know what it feels like to be objectified like that by society and by many of the people in it.

My point is this: we, as men, can never, ever know what it’s like to be a woman. Period. We can’t presume to know what it feels like or what life is like on that side of the gender line.

So that’s that then.

What It’s Like To Be A Woman Making Video Games