Hello and welcome! I’m Philip Minchin, a consultant on and advocate for play, games, creativity, community, and learning, with a substantial side of strategic thinking about the future of libraries.
For the last few years, I’ve been working as a cultural consultant to bridge the gap between the library world and some of the less bibliocentric forms of geekery (though I love my books too!).
In particular, I’ve been advocating for games and play as essential parts of culture, particularly in a library context. (For an outline of why I hold this view, read this series on games I wrote for the International Games Day @ your library blog, and this follow-up series on play.) I’ve also been exploring new opportunities for libraries in the online world, moving from the old one-way, broadcast models of publishing to more two-way, networked ones. And I’ve been writing and designing for games, both electronic and tabletop.
I’ve been happily working away in the background, but it’s getting to the point where I need a central online location for all my various bits and bobs so people can find me easily. So here it is! And there’s more to come.
I’ve presented at numerous conferences, conventions, and library services; those with public links are:
- VALA 2012
- Cracking ‘the hard nut’: creative approaches to teen and adult literacy
- Connecting the dots: people, libraries and technology
- PAX (Penny Arcade eXpo) Australia 2013 (slides available here)
- PAX Australia 2014 (slides available here)
- NLS7 2015 (slides available here)
Upcoming APILI conference(postponed)
I’ve also written a paper on libraries in the age of interactivity, which touches on questions of play but focuses more on the structural role of libraries, and another (just hosted locally, but excerpted in the June/July edition of ALIA’s journal InCite) about libraries in the new creative economies.
I’ve had blog posts selected as weekly Feature posts on international game designer site Gamasutra.
In 2011, I was instrumental in getting the ALA to recognise that its National Gaming Day @ your library was in fact an International Games Day @ your library, in 2012 I founded the Global Gossip Game to link libraries worldwide for the event, and in 2013 and 2014 I jointly ran the event as a whole, produced the IGD@yl blog (including a series of interviews with prominent folks from the worlds of books/libraries and games – featuring some big names, such as the ALA and ALIA Presidents, and legendary game designers Brenda Romero and Richard Garfield) and expanded the GGG (including taking it to all seven continents in 2013). In 2015 I have stepped back into a more strategic role, but continue to be active, brokering partnerships in South America and… other locations I’m not yet at liberty to divulge.
I’ve been a consultant to various games companies on working with libraries to share their games with audiences. I also do freelance creative writing and worldbuilding work; in the last couple of years I’ve contributed to numerous tabletop RPG books, including half-a-dozen Player Companions and minor contributions to an Adventure Path and the Bestiary 4 for Paizo Publishing’s Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
I’ve been a consultant and trainer to libraries around games, as an important part of culture in themselves, as the basis for interesting new forms of literature, as tools for promoting both traditional and new modes of literacy, as promotional tools to bring people into the library, and as a simple source of fun. Most notably, I prepared a Games & Interactivity Strategy for Melbourne Library Service around their new Library @ the Dock.
I’m a contact point for library e-Game lending – I’ve been advocating for a few years now that libraries need to work with vendors to develop an e-lending solution for electronic games, and I am supporting a subscription service along these lines to expand here in Australia.
And I’m currently beginning the work of establishing APILI, an institution that will be to play and games what the National Library of Australia is to the archived written word, ACMI is to the moving image, the AIS is to sport, and the National Gallery is to the visual arts… only with key parts of its work being (a) more fun and (b) more readily accessible through local communities’ own libraries and schools.
Here’s my standard intro blurb if you need it:
Trained in history, literature, classics and archaic languages, Philip Minchin has worked in publishing, arts production, NGO governance and campaigning, and library IT in Melbourne, Australia. There he got interested in the evolving relationships between libraries, communities, games, interactivity, systems and UI design. He now presents and consults to libraries and game companies on these issues, helping to develop games & interactivity strategies that blend the best of old and new media to support intelligent, literate engagement across the full range of modern culture. He also writes game content for Open Design and Paizo Publishing, among others, and volunteers for International Games Day @ your library (Saturday November 21 in 2015) – including running the Global Gossip Game, a not-so-little exercise in information theory and silly community-building fun.