This Girl Codes Curiosity Academy

Recently, I was really excited to be asked to participate in the Curiosity Academy project run as part of Junction Arts This Girl Codes project.

This Girl Codes is based around a “series of taster sessions, pop-up heritage STEAM labs in historic houses, castles and caves as well as festivals, trips and events during school holidays.

Bad plants!

I was asked to run a Bitsy game session around the theme of Creswell Crags, and the witch marks they’d found there a few years ago. Since submitting a Bitsy game to Creswell Crags Winter Folklore Festival in 2020, I’d wanted to follow up and do something more with them. So, it was great to be asked to participate in this programme of events. Similar to a session I ran at Feral Vector, I thought it would be a nice idea to get everyone to collaborate on a game, and it worked so well. I really wanted to see what story and characters they would come up with themselves, and the end result was a lot of fun. The participants created their own characters, game narrative and settings based on the folklore and history of Creswell Crags. And after that (proving that Bitsy is really easy to get to grips with), one of the participants was inspired to make her own game, and I helped finish it off. I wasn’t able to travel to Creswell Crags, so I did this all virtually with the support of the project co-ordinator and artist, Amy and Cora.

You can play the game, Mother Grundy’s Protection, on the This Girl Codes site. It’s “based around the myth of Mother Grundy, rescuing a local boy from poisoning, with the help of herbs, animal guardians and tree spirits.”

You can also read more about how the game was created in this blog post.

Looking at the rest of the activities during the Curiosity Academy, I was very inspired by the focus on the overlap between physical and digital art made by local communities, and also the making process itself. Also tied in with the strong folklore and nature theme, it was a project that was right up my street and I loved being involved in it.

Off the back of this, projects created as part of this programme of events are on display in the interactive exhibition, Sweep Away The Silence, at Creswell Crags until 5th October (closed Monday 19th September). It includes “light paintings, spell poems, audio recordings, incredible artefacts found within the caves and much more.

Get down there if you can. 🙂

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New game: a 3D interactive folktale

Every year, when winter is almost at its peak, a house grows in a clearing in the old wood. Fuelled by the frost and sun, the tangle of branches sprouting from its roof glisten in the cold air. And every year, a spirit of the wood grows within it too. A creature whose responsibility it is to ensure that the guardian of winter is able to rest well for the following seasons, and that his sister has all she needs for her period of guardianship over the coming spring.

I’ve released another free to play browser game on itch.io, called Sister Spring, Brother Winter. It’s a 3D interactive winter folktale about the changing of the seasons – collect pieces of the fallen sun to help Sister Spring wake the world.

It features a 3D style that gives a nod to the ZX-Spectrum of the early 1980s, including games such as Jepac and Atic Atac.

I used 3D Bitsy to create it – I just find it so fun and easy to create little narrative games using this game making tool. 3D Bitsy is made by aloelazoe, which is built on Adam Le Doux’s Bitsy.

You can play it at https://ashg.itch.io/sister-spring-brother-winter

I’ve Been Selected For The Museum of Wild and Newfangled Art

I’m very happy to announce that one of my small narrative Bitsy’s has been selected for inclusion in the Museum of Wild & Newfangled Art Biennial Exhibition. This online exhibition features 100 global artists from a wide range of creative backgrounds. To get a flavour of the exhibition take a look at the teaser video below. It’s such an interesting leftfield and (as the curators cari ann shim sham* and Joey Zaza say) wild mix, and I’m so pleased to be included in with such a creative group of people.

In the curators own words…

The 2021 mowna Online Biennial is an exhibit of an international pool of artists selected from 44 countries gathered through a free call for submissions process that ran from January through March of 2021. mowna’s largest show to date, the Biennial includes all forms of art made from 2019 to 2021, inviting artists to consider new ways to exhibit their work online and how their artworks translate best through mowna’s digital platform. To kick off the Biennial with opening night festivities, mowna will host a special screening of the feature doc “The Faithful: The King, The Pope, The Princess,” by Annie Berman on April 30th at 9 PM ET. It will be followed by q&a, the mowna party room, and a first look entrance to the Biennial.

The online exhibition runs from 30th April to 22nd September 2021 and is paid entry, with artists receiving a percentage of the entrance fees.

It will be hosted at www.mowna.org and tickets can be purchased here.

New Workshop – Creative Digital Experiments with Collections

On 21st April I’m running a new online session as part of the Beginning Cataloguing seminar programme, which will be focussed on how libraries and heritage organisations make use of technology to share and re-work their collections and resources in creative and engaging new ways. I’ll be sharing a variety of inspirational examples from organisations, along with how online mapping and narrative tools can provide visitors with a new digital discovery route into your collections.

You can book now via the Beginning Cataloguing Teachable site.

While you’re there, take a look at the range of other interesting cataloguing, bibliography and book history seminars and workshops that Beginning Cataloguing is running.

Photo by David Bartus from Pexels