Porto Escite 2017

The Ecsite Annual Conference is back and this time it’s in Porto. We can’t wait – Porto looks great. Kate is busy convening the GameLab. She seems to be playing how many great game makers can you fit in a GameLab? The GameLab is what it says on the tin – a place to play, test and develop games. Across the three days a mix of workshops, case studies and drop in events will cover topics from VR in museums to using role playing games to engage scientists and policy makers. Game makers from France, Poland, Norway, Israel and UK will be hosting sessions. And that’s not all! We are really excited to be running a two-day pre-conference session – two days of on-gallery game making in The Hall of Biodiversity – Ciência Viva Center, the brand new integration of the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto.

Hong Kong Bun Festival

HKD were back in Hong Kong this month to review the production progress of Kowloon’s soon to re-open Space Museum. While there, the always curious team were taken for a behind the scenes tour of the annual Bun Festival, held on Cheung Chau island. The celebrations culminate in a scrambling competition – up a 60ft tower of buns! The ritual began as a way to ward off the plague – a tradition our Isle of Thanet could have done with too….

From Wasteland to Wasteland

Margate’s long-running social explores the work of a group of artists inspired by the First World War and TS Eliot. Starting with the dramatic Lochnagar Crater site in France, and the stories behind it, Dawn Cole, Dan Thompson, Helder Clara, Graham Ward and Lorna Dallas-Conte are working on the From Wasteland to Wasteland project. Together, they’ve visited the battlefield site, drawn connections with TS Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, and made new work as a response. This First Friday showcases that work, and the research behind it, for the first time. Richard Dunning MBE, owner of Lochnagar Crater will be giving a talk during the evening. Bring your own refreshments. Also open Saturday 3rd June 11am – 3pm

Children’s Exploration Centre, Udaipur

HKD’s Indian adventure… Curiosity is the driving force behind an exciting new children’s exploration centre in Udaipur, India. The new centre, which is currently on the drawing board, will provide diverse hands-on, creative and self-directed experiences so people can make sense of the world and their place in it. To make sure they are getting it right, the directors are asking children to help to develop the new centre. The first step has been to challenge the belief that learning only happens in schools and that it is very important but dull. So to raise the possibility that learning can happen everywhere and can be lots of fun Kate travelled to Udaipur to run workshops with the project team. “Sometimes you have to unleash the power of play – so that’s what we did. The students were great. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

The F Word

Forgiveness is a complex subject. When an apparently unforgivable act has taken place, how can exhibition visitors be asked to stop, slow down and engage with such difficult and challenging content? From acts of terror to personal assault The F Word: stories that transform is a new travelling exhibition developed by The Forgiveness Project. The exhibition has been two years in the making. This time has been spent evaluating the reception of previous work, understanding the existing and potential new audiences and exploring how the design and functionality can encourage a deeper engagement with the subject. As designers for the exhibition as well as working on the displays we developed an empathy game. This low tech interactive slows the journey through the exhibition creating a focal point for conversation and reflection. The exhibition launched in March in the Oxo Tower, London. We wish it every success and look forward to hearing more about the exhibition and the exciting programme which runs alongside it.

1st Friday event – Margate Caves

Marine Studios is really excited to be hosting a celebration of Margate Caves re-opening at our next First Friday event. Come and meet the amazing team behind this project who have successfully secured close to £1.5 million of funding from HLF and the Big Lottery Fund with their six-year campaign, view the designs for the new building and the programme of activity, and find out about the history of the Caves. You will also hear the Trust’s plans, which include three commissions for artists, and a training programme for heritage volunteers, as they host their first public event since the announcement. Among many local tourist attractions, Margate Caves is uniquely able to tell the story of how landscape, ecology and geology have impacted on the town’s rich social and cultural history. Visit our Facebook page for more information about this event.

GEEK 2017 is taking over DREAMLAND

Let’s get together and play some games! In 2012 we launched our own a festival of play and games GEEK. Since then it has run annually in Margate with spin off events popping up in Birmingham, Singapore and others. We are currently building the programme for February 2017. We are looking forward to meeting innovative game makers, playing extraordinary games and attending inspiring talks and workshops. This next GEEK is particularly exciting as we will be in the heritage amusement park of Dreamland – what a playground! Hope you will be able to join us 17th – 19th February 2017. Do get in touch if you would like to be part of the Museum Games panel and workshops.

Re-display of the Ancient Lives Gallery

HKD to deliver a ‘collectively curated new space’ The re-display of the Ancient Civilisations Gallery in Maidstone Museum will be ‘a collectively curated space’. HKD is looking forward to working with the client team and two advisory groups CUR8 and KAB on this exciting project. The re-display of the Ancient Civilisations Gallery will encourage visitors to look again, be curious and be a detective. Visitors will follow in the footsteps of researchers at The Kent Institute of Medicine and Science and Liverpool John Moores University who have used modern scanning techniques to reveal that Ta Kush was not who they thought she was.

God’s House Tower

HKD love a challenge and a brave brief – and this project has them both. We will be working with ‘a’ space arts in Southampton to reopen the medieval God’s House Tower. The 700 year old building was one of the UK’s earliest coastal fortifications, and has since been a gaol, a museum and home to the Town Gunners – not in that order. The project will combine arts and heritage to – a mix we are fond of here at the studio!

New Scientist Live, London

We attended the first ever New Scientist Live, a fantastic four day festival of ideas, to keep up with the biggest, best and most provocative science out there. We were able to hear from some of the most influential leaders in their field, covering Brain & Body, Technology, Earth and the Cosmos. It was great source of inspiration, here are some of our highlights: “I loved interacting with the robots, it is something I have been working with recently and it was exciting to see how advanced they are” – Tania “The Scientific Village Fete was really good, turning complex ideas into fun, educational games is what we are all about at HKD and Holly Gramazio did a fantastic job” – Glenn

Voyages and vessels

Closer to home we have just completed a proposal for the Ramsgate Society with Destination Makers which tells the story of the Royal Harbour in Ramsgate at the iconic Clock House. It’s early days but that didn’t stop us getting excited by the heritage on our doorstep and we are keeping our fingers crossed for the project as it ventures out to find funding.

Fun and Games in Singapore

The interactive artworks of Future World, Singapore Brainstorming workshops with the team at Science Centre Singapore has taken us back to Singapore this month. It was great to hear their plans, revisit the galleries and meet some of their inspiring friends and stakeholders. While there, HKD also had time to catch up with some of our favourite people and places in Singapore. We love the creative play at the Playeum and had lots of fun in Future World recharged, inspired its time to get back to work on GEEK, our own festival of play and games.

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