Cultural Institutions

Here are some of the major ways I can assist a cultural institution, such as a library service, museum or gallery:

In addition to these general options, I offer some additional services and collections offerings specifically tailored to libraries.

 

Training

Games and play have been around forever, but historically they have been neglected as anything other than a delightful diversion.

For all that, there is still a great deal to know about the ways play helps us learn and connect, and about games as culture – whether the millennia of the medium’s history, or the extraordinary diversity of forms now exploding onto the scene, and the wider culture surrounding games.

I can give your staff a solid introduction to the wide-ranging world of games and play, familiarising them with the range of play experiences currently available from the classic and traditional through to the groundbreaking work on the cutting edge, and equipping them to use games to further your institution’s mission. I can also offer hands-on training in using games to achieve particular goals, from attracting visitors, through fostering community, to achieving particular educational or cultural outcomes such as literacy, numeracy, systems thinking and more.

 

Public programs

Perhaps you’re interested in giving your patrons the chance to sample the kinds of experiences on offer. If so, I am available to organise and/or run games programs for any and all ages and backgrounds. My personal preference is to run open gaming days (or evenings), where anyone interested can join in and mingle with people outside their usual peer group – you would be surprised the range of interactions that can take place over a game! – but I am also happy to run more focused events if you prefer. Contact me to discuss your particular target audiences or desired activities.

 

Presentations

Despite being largely ignored by high-cultural institutions until relatively recently, games actually have a fascinating history as a medium; and of course it’s impossible now to ignore the tremendous share of humanity’s mind-hours they are absorbing – for better and for worse. There’s also a noticeable generation gap regarding which games are played, how they’re understood, and their impacts on health and wellbeing.

I am able to present on a range of topics:

    • The extraordinary history of games and play, from their mystical and profane roots, through their ties to culture both high and low throughout the past millennia, to their rise through the 20th Century (starting with H.G. Wells) and their role on the cutting edge of technological and cultural innovation.
    • The remarkable range of experiences that games and play now encompass. They can be competitive and co-operative; solitaire and massively multiplayer; electronic, tabletop, narrative, imaginative, social, and physical; frivolous and deeply serious; and about almost anything you can imagine.
    • Advice to parents on games and play: using them to bridge the generation gap; understanding the appeal of games; knowing the benefits and risks, and how to make sure people get the former without the latter; and how to engage intelligently with them yourself, both to help young people do so and also for pure enjoyment.
    • The lessons games teach: persistence, problem-solving, systems thinking, social awareness, game theory and theory of mind, goal-setting, teamwork, and many more.
    • The future of games: where they might go from here, and where they might take us. If desired, I can also discuss the role of games in the context of your specific institution.

 

Group activities

In addition to offering hands-on training in running games and play events, and running such events myself for the public, I can run an event for your staff body! Whether intended as a purely recreational reward for a hardworking team, as a team bonding exercise, as an unexpected way to work on collaboration skills, or as a creative way to spark discussion around issues you nominate, I can work with you to prepare a session that will blend fun and function to taste.

 

Collections advice

If you’re thinking of adding games to your collections, simply coming back from a vendor with a stack of stock and putting some basic information on your catalogue is not doing your purchase justice.

Whether it’s advice on which items to include in your collections, the processing and handling of the games themselves, or the kinds of metadata you’ll need to meaningfully describe games to their target audiences, I can steer you clear of the worst mistakes and ensure you – and more importantly, your patrons – are set up to make the most of your new collections.

Or, if you like, you can give me some guidelines and a budget and I can take care of collection acquisition, and even some pre-processing, for you.

Finally, I prepare “player’s advisory” documentation that enables your staff to help your patrons make the most of your games collections.

 

Strategy development

Perhaps you’re looking ahead and want a holistic, considered picture of how you might weave games and play into your institution’s future.

As a big-picture thinker with an eye for key contributory details and strong knowledge of the field, I am available for consultation in the development of your strategy – or as a consultant to develop the strategy for you.

My strong consultation and communication skills, and gamer’s appreciation of the importance of synergy, mean that the strategy documents I prepare will be strongly focused on meeting your institution’s particular needs and working in harmony with your other functions, processes and goals.

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