Oh, hi there HASTAC. It's, er, been a little while. To make up for my long silence, I'm going to recount not one, but THREE conferences for you. Well, ok, two conferences and one forum but I'm calling it a hat trick anyway.
- Meaningful Play, Michigan State University, October 21-23, 2010
- Future of Information Forum, University of Maryland, November 5, 2010
- Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, Harrisburg, November 11-13, 2010
You'll notice that this post is low on actual descriptive text, but heavy on links. Rather than duplicate effort, I'm linking directly to my tweets (by session) and program entries.
While I enjoyed myself at Meaningful Play, it wasn't quite what I expected--namely, a mini-FDG. There were certainly similarities--both invited Constance Steinkuehler to give a talk, for instance--MP felt heavily weighted toward empirical research and education, while FDG was heavier on design.
Alternate Reality Games as multi-disciplinary design spaces that support creative, choreographed exchanges among diverse design practitioners. Panelists will survey design principles across four disciplines and sectors, with the ultimate goal of abstracting away from the details to see what is most relevant to games, specifically ARGs, and how these principles might coordinate with one another.
That's what the summary says, anyway. My brain, on the other hand, thought of it as, "OMG I have never presented anything in front of this audience and I've never presented this topic in front of any audience!"
Next on the agenda was Multiple Media, Third Spaces, & Magic, which I chose for Elizabeth Goins' paper and Aaron Trammell's name (note my embarrassing first tweet--Alan Trammell was my first landlord in DC).
This was followed by a lunch that took way, way, way to long to get to our table. This and the looming ARG panel sadly left me with nothing to say about Failure, Fun and Learning: Iterative Rapid Prototyping, Engagement and Educational Games.
Other than a slight Powerpoint tantrum before we started, I think it's fair to say our panel went well. Here's what other people had to tweet.
It's fairly obvious that I spent Friday recovering, because although I attended Communities & social gaming and From Research to Practice: Digital Media and Games as Meaningful Tools for Learning, I only have evidence of Robin Hunicke's keynote. If you have the requisite technology to play a game from thatgamecompany, I highly recommend doing so.
Personally not surprised by reading lvl increase for self chosen texts--they're much more likely to engage hyperfocus. #mp2010
Next up was Neils Clark, with whom I'd had a beer the night before, and was looking forward to his Chasing Art: The History and Promise of a Word.I was a little disappointed, but have an obvious bias:
Clark: It's our job, as academics, to be feisty bastards once in a while #mp2010 [+]
And tell the game industry: you're doin' it wrong. #mp2010 [-]
I don't see art and entrainment as exclusive of one another.
Sometimes even the most "frivolous" pieces have a touch of art. #mp2010
While not strictly a "videogame," @EchoBazaar is a great example of marrying narrative to interactivity. #mp2010
@daswickerman Not sure I agree, but the format matters. I think it's easier to discuss with an art history/case study approach #mp2010
Realism is overrated. Expression and gesture are much harder to achieve and more indicative of artfulness. #mp2010
My MP2010 experience ended with a session chaired by Georgina Goodlander, my fellow panelist: Zombies vs. Knaves: Playing Games in Cultural Institutions. You can see my tweets at the end of this page.
Future of Information Forum
I really, really want to say good things about FOIF. But it's hard. As I understand it, this was originally envisioned as a day-long workshop in which people from across campus--representing a wide variety of disciplines--discussed the University's relationship to information, and what types of interdisciplinary activities might help us shape the "future of information."
But then the event opened with Google's Dan Russell giving a keynote to a room mainly composed of iSchoolers and iSchool affiliates. There were also university librarians and archivists, but there was little representation from campus groups who are less likely to include "information" in their job description. It still got me thinking, but I can't help wondering how much richer the conversation had been if it had crossed any wider disciplinary lines.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference
All Tweets (Why does TwapperKeeper capture tags as if they end in wildcards?! Argh.)
Poor MARAC is getting written up when I'm all tuckered out. The program is PDF, so to make up for the lack of original prose, I'll paste some descriptions.
Biggest lesson learned from MARAC: If you're a speaker, stay within your allotted time; if you're a chair make your speakers stay within their allotted times. I MCed lightning talks at last spring's Digital Forensics Symposium, but this was my first go at chairing a full-length session, and I'm very grateful to my panelists for being so time conscious AND doing a great job answering questions at the end. Thanks Holly, Matt, and Rebecca!
Open to Anything: Using Open Source Products in Repositories
Economic uncertainty, dwindling funds, and shrinking staff challenge us to do more with less. Open source products offer excellent tools for continuing to make information and resources available and accessible. Speakers will share their experiences with collection management software Archivists ToolKit, and online publishing tools WordPress and Omeka.
Other than the plenary, in which Kathleen Roe beat the outreach drum almost exactly in time with my heart, the last session I attended was the most memorable and moving:
Considering Cultural, Religious, and Social Sensitivities in Archival Collections
Many archives and special collections departments hold at least one collection containing material outside traditional archival boundaries. How can archivists maintain these unique collections and provide public access while at the same time respecting their cultural, religious, and social sensitivities? Panelists will share personal experiences and interactions, offer insight about how archivists can address the concerns of established and potential donors, and discuss how these sensitivities impact the archival profession.
One of the larger lessons I learned before this year's MARAC, probably most forcibly at GDC, is how important it is to participate in extra-programular activities. And a lesson I've learned from life is that a Rachel with no hockey is a sad sheep indeed. Luckily, JAL Tours provided an opportunity for both, in the form of a Hershey Bears game. They played terribly, but it was great to watch a little AHL Action. I even got a certificate! (No joke!)
Certificates make things look so official. Here, you can have one, too!