MozFest Fringe Blog Takeover: Day 3

MozFest Fringe Blog Takeover: Day 3

Picture of Julie Neville

BY: Julie Neville
21 Sep 2016

Day 3 of our MozFest fringe week brings you Orleans House Gallery and their inspiring youth-led fusion of heritage and digital gaming.

Orleans House Gallery has a rich and vibrant history, from the baroque Octagon room, to a main gallery which hosts five historical and contemporary exhibitions each year. The gallery provides a wide range of creative learning activities for children, young people and adults for all ages and abilities.

hackathon-5The creation of their Gaming Hub is part of a Heritage Lottery Funded Young Roots Project, 'Building Foundations'. The Gaming Hub project ran from July-August 2016, with Arts Awards offerd in Discover, Bronze and Silver. Young people aged 8-16 worked with designers and artists to create an exciting gaming platform to be used by gallery visitors. After a planning and research session with the gallery’s Art Forum youth group, young people decided to create a ‘sticker book’ style platform where young people can upload their designs and drawings to be used as backdrops, avatars and obstacles within an online game.

The summer project has included a series of activities and trips:

  • Visit to Power UP! at the Science Museum to find out about video gaming through the decades, test out games and be inspired to create their own.
  • Hackathon games workshop, gaining coding and programming skills using new technology and creating digital games on the Orleans House Gallery Gaming Hub. Games were tested using Makey Makeys and everyday objects to create a functioning games console.
  • Behind the scenes tour at Makerversity at Somerset House, a hands on gaming workshop with interaction designers, Soda. Young people showcased their own DIY games, found out about digital designers and makers and experiencied programming in action. Participants also learnt about robotics, laser cutting, 3D printing, and programming work in a public space.

Sample Bronze Arts Award:

Part A: expore the arts as a participant
- Creating a digital game on the OHG Gaming Hub
- Creating a 'hacked' Makey Makey console

Part B: explore the arts as an audience member
- Visit to Power UP! at the science museum- write and share a review about the event
- Visit to Makerversity- interview the different artists, makers and designers
- Visit to Ham House and Boston Manor House to get inspiration for their game

Part C: arts inspiration
- Research and interview founder of Soda
- Research and interview artists from Makerveristy
- Research other games designers from the Power UP! event

Part D: arts skills share
- Planning and running a gaming workshop at MozFest and Open House Festival

Top tip for digital delivery:

Always test out the technology before running a workshop, but then to hand over as much powern-up-2as possible to young people to allow them to be as creative as possible with the technology.

Before thry ran the Hackathon workshop they tested and played with the Makey Makeys beforehand as a way to solve any technical issues. However as soon as all the basic technical issues were covered (testing wifi, making sure each person had access to the correct hardware) young people were allowed to run with their ideas and bring in their own ways of working.

Arts Award digital fact file:

What is hacking? An activity that involves altering some computer programming to make changes, or to solve a problem.  In today’s digital culture, this is not about illegal activity but about creative problem solving, personalising and changing something.

What is a Makey Makey? An invention kit that turns everyday objects into a touchpad and combines them with the internet.  For example, by making a piano from a set of bananas or a staircase. Or a games console from everyday objects.  When you touch the objects, the computer thinks you are touching a keyboard.

MozFest – what you need to know:

MozFest is a digital festival hosted by the Mozilla Foundation taking place in London on 29 and 30 October where Arts Award will be hosting the digital arts and culture space. We’re inviting you to get involved by attending the event with young people, or by taking the inspiration from our fringe activities to shape your own digital arts delivery for Arts Award.

MozFest youth tickets are £3 (under 18s) and educators go free. Tickets provide access on both days as well as lunch, drinks and a goodie bag.  Group tickets can be booked through this link. Schools and youth organisations that need assistance with ticket costs can contact, remember to state that you are an Arts Award centre in your email.

For further information about attending MozFest, contact

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