#StaffsPGR Support Group

July 15th, 2015 by WEARN Nia

I’m a member of a few facebook interest groups – and there’s a few I’ve set up myself. The latest of which is one for the Postgraduate students of Staffs Uni – born out of a few conversations at the 3rd annual conference about how alone many of us felt.

The key thing I’ve learn’t so far from other groups I’m members of is that Australians are having a lot more fun with their phd’s then we are. Thesis Haiku competitions, Dance your PHD’s – even the #3MT (Three Mniute Thesis) idea hails from sunny Down Under. I hope a little that we can create a support network within the university – cross faculty and maybe aligned with this mythical graduate school we keep hearing mention of. Maybe we can inject some fun into it as well, even just to let off some steam.

Who knows, I might even try and form it into a proper post grad society at some point in the future (once we’re moved to Stoke I suspect)

3rd annual #staffspgr Conf

July 14th, 2015 by WEARN Nia

It’s been a little bit busy of late – marking, planning for September , graduation etc all gets in the way of doing research so it’s always good to have a chance to get my head back into #niaphd mode. Our annual Multi discipline postgrad conference was just that this year.
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I’ve uploaded my presentation here – http://www.slideshare.net/Wormella/3rd-postgraduate-research-student-conference

What’s nice is it outlines my 3 main research questions:

  • What are the skills that our students use to make games
  • How do we know that our students use these skills to make games
  • Could we use a Game Jam type thing to asses our Games Courses

Ludo Lunch: On the Grass

June 8th, 2015 by WEARN Nia

So I suppose Ludo Lunch was a point of convergence – Family life and professional life in one place. Back in September Simon Roth and I joked about running a relaxed family friendly conference about games, to be held on picnic blankets with baked goods. We were stood in London South Bank University for Women in Games 2014, reminiscing about when Game Camp was help in Paypal’s HQs.

Anyway sometimes silly ideas follow through and Ludo Lunch was born (https://ludolunch.wordpress.com/) – And it was lovely – We held it on Christchuch’s Colleges Meadow in the center of Oxford, it was sunny, people brought snacks to share, someone passed around choc ices and we had talks and workshops at a very relaxed pace. Actual, since Will didn’t turn up it was entirely female speakers; running interactive fiction workshops talking about research, or localisation (all about the text box size) and at the same time a board game jam, and games being played.

ludolunch

Since it was family friendly, people brought their children – we had bubbles and balloons, craft items etc and time again I had people coming up and thanking me for hosting something everyone could some to. As an industry that’s growing up – that means there’s needs to be more events where people can bring the family – not hidden away in pubs or in stuffy conference centers all the time. It also means conferences need childcare options if they are going to stretch over the weekend – as they increasingly do (The Recent Google I/O Conference in London had this) . I’ve seen the difference in the people that turn up to Afternoon Play (The board game group I co run in Birmingham) by hosting that in coffee shops, not pubs. That also has a well attended annual picnic. I think the promise of baked goods is the way forward (See also Gamerbake)

Official Artist rendition of LudoLunch: On the grass™


Official Artist rendition of LudoLunch: On the grass™

LudoLunch

Me and Brit (@bcwearn) doing out talk

I spoke about what having a baby had done to my ability to play strategy games and how at the time when I was most bored, with waiting around for hospital appointments (or indeed in hosiptal) I had the most free time I’ve ever had, but no one in the games industry thought that maybe advertising their games to me was a good idea. There’s a reason King.com have so many players and I hope there’s still a place for me in the games industry when I next have chance to play something.

Will we host another one? Probably – I think Simon calculated it cost about £15 to put on – and that was mainly the raspberries for his cupcakes. I also hope other people do similar things – head outside, bring the family and don’t worry about the wi-fi password is for once…

Update – There’s a nice article – The benefits of a family-friendly conference at Ludolunch