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 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

Free Creative Cultural Leadership Development Programme

The Create Place programme is open for applications for its second cohort of participants (deadline 29th January). It’s a free North Staffordshire and Cheshire East based programme supported by Arts Council England. It focuses on developing leadership skills in creative & cultural co-creation, co-production and co-curation for the arts & heritage sector…. which includes getting communities involved in making, creating, & community arts.

Even though I’m based in Surrey (not Staffs or Cheshire), I’m part of the 1st wave of participants & it’s been a great experience for me. I have had so many useful conversations about developing creative projects; linking up with other creatives; and developing strategic & leadership skills. I’d totally recommend applying for a place if you’re based in England.

It involves 3 x 2 day residencies (currently virtual/online) & continuing support from 16 North Staff/Cheshire & UK cultural/arts organisations.

There’s a lot more detail on the Create Place site.

Please share this with anyone you think might be interested.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Pexels