Ludic City 4: Brussels at Play
On Thursday 10th of December 2015, the fourth edition of the ‘Ludic City’ lectures took place. These lectures organized by iMinds-SMIT, VUB in collaboration with DiGRA Flanders, focus on gaming and play in relation to the public environment, and urban and everyday culture.
In this fourth edition, we had four speakers with us who are all active in Brussels. They offered their particular perspective on play and games, presenting the role that play and games have in their work practice: as an instrument and process for socio-cultural work (Eric Gijssen, Maks vzw), a product and work of art in game development (Sven Van de Perre, Monkube), social glue in the coming together of people at a festival (Nicolas Boseret, Brussels Games Festival), and a topic for research and reflection in academia (Katleen Gabriels, VUB). Host of the evening – as in previous editions - was Lizzy Bleumers, researcher at iMinds-SMIT, and member of DiGRA Flanders.
Eric Gijssen kicked off the evening with a presentation on how Maks vzw works to foster media literacy through coding and game-making. He was followed by Sven Van de Perre, who discussed game-making within a different context; that of indie development. As abstract board games were one of the inspirations for Sven’s game studio Monkube, the connection with our third speaker became clear. Nicolas Boseret elaborated on the Brussels Games Festival, which hosts a multitude of board games, and he shared with us just how diverse the group of board game authors is. Finally, Katleen Gabriels, took us in a different direction, considering the ethical aspects of applying game design elements to influence people’s attitudes and behaviors.
It was a special edition, which provided a unique glimpse of Brussels. With such great vibes and a highly interactive audience, we are already making plans for a fifth edition next year.
Note: The idea for the Ludic City lecture was first proposed and organized by researcher Lizzy Bleumers four years ago with a twofold goal. Firstly, it is meant to explore work on the intersection of two ongoing research lines at iMinds-SMIT: gaming and play research (e.g. WOOPI-project on hybrid play) and smart city research (e.g. ECIM-project on mobility). In addition, it is intended to give the audience a broader perspective on how games and play can be part of everyday life. As such, it also serves to disseminate game-related work and inspire collaborations. This is an important task for DiGRA Flanders (Digital Games Research Association) with which we team up for this event, and in which Lizzy is a member of the organising committee.