Creative Dundee

Fabric Day 3 – Digital

Fabric aims to create an informal peer learning space for current leaders to connect with and begin investing in emerging leaders, and for all to develop their creative leadership skills and agency in the city. The group had two sessions so far, which gave us the opportunity to meet inspiring people across Dundee and share ideas, insights and experience around creative opportunities, equalities and diversity in the city.

For our third Fabric session, we had a great insight into two very different digital/video games organisations in Dundee. In the morning, we went for a quick visit to Dundee-based video game company, Ninja Kiwi, then spent the afternoon with local collective, Biome Collective. We also had an informal chat about what motivated us to take part in Fabric and what this adventure has brought us so far.

At Ninja Kiwi, we had a guided tour of their offices where we’ve discovered more about the different roles and skills behind the processes of making video games, from designing the mechanics and aesthetics of a game, testing and promoting it, to updating, fixing and improving performances, and keeping in touch with their community of players. Employing 30+ people, this Dundee-based video game company is mainly recruiting locally, from Abertay University’s pool of graduates. We actually came across a few familiar faces whom we met at Creative Dundee’s former monthly Make/Share events, which brought people together to gain a behind the scenes insight into the work of people from a mix of creative, science, social and technology backgrounds.

We then met with Malath Abbas and Tom DeMajo, founders and directors of Biome Collective, a community and co-working space for people to create, collaborate and explore new frontiers in games, digital art and technology. After sharing their perceptive on the definition of ‘game’ and some of their previous work in the city, they invited us to imagine a game. Through identifying feelings that describe our favourite gaming experiences and then picking them at random, each group had to design their own game, based on a particular location in the city.

As we presented the games to each other, the definition of ‘play’ and ‘fun’ became big parts of the group discussion, as well as the importance of prototyping games on paper, and through play and collaboration before getting into the digital aspect of the design. The group was keen to discuss these definitions as well as the differences between game-makers like Biome and Ninja Kiwi. We discussed the values we put in what we do and the impact our work has in the world. The conclusions were very much about how we make our key values part of the projects we design.

One strong particularity of the Fabric group is the open and honest conversations that take place at each session. At the beginning and end of the day, we had informal chats about the values of such a city-leadership programme but also about our creative processes and what we do/present to the world.

On sharing about our motivations to join in the Fabric programme, the group have identified the following:

  • Connecting people and things, and the importance of serendipity – stay connected to what’s happening across the city; keep in touch with other creative people; open up what I do to other people and organisations; get into the mix and see what happen; need to make new connections to make things happen.
  • Space for reflexion – put value on thinking and talking about things that have no direct result or influence in what we do in the present, but are moments that will make sense in the future; listen and share new ideas, not always being busy with the doing; step back from your own practice and shape the bigger picture.
  • Leadership and peer mentoring – exploring the idea of creative leadership in a small city; informal mentoring that gives you more confidence to get on with doing new projects/taking part in new partnerships; the group itself plays a role of mentor; stop being passive or stuck in student circle; create friendships with people whom we’ll be working with in the future, to change the status quo.

On sharing about our insights and the benefits from the Fabric programme so far, the group discussed about:

  • Having a space to safely challenge ourselves – break/remove labels that we give ourselves.
  • Having opportunities for informal chat and to share more about how were are doing, about our challenges and struggles – offering a space to share in confidence, to be more open and reassuring or supportive, which reinforce what we do!
  • Changing your attitude from being cynical to being critical – asking ‘what role am I playing?’, ‘what roles are missing?’, ‘what can I do to help?’ and talking about the gaps that need to be filled to strengthen further the city’s creative sector.

Thank you @Creative_Dundee @ClaireDufour_ for letting me come along to experience #fabricdundee and to the fantastic group for your insights. Such a nice way to spend my first day back in #Dundee, hope to catch up with you again. #creativedundee #creativeleader

— Frances Brown (@fbrownwork) February 27, 2019

Another excellent, reflective, energetic and meaningful #FabricDundee session today thanks to all the local cultural leaders going on this journey with us!

Thanks to all of our partners who showed a bit of their work including @biomecollective & @ninjakiwigames!

— Creative Dundee (@Creative_Dundee) February 27, 2019

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