A Look Back at GAIA 2023

Last June, we hosted the Game Arts International Assembly, a professional development symposium for 22 game curators and community organizers hailing from 10 different countries. We were so excited to meet in person again!

GAIAIndoorGroupshot3 SaganYee
photo by Sagan Yee

We workshopped solutions for various curatorial challenges…

photo by Sagan Yee

…and went on field trips to the Art Gallery of Ontario to hear the folks there talk about games in institutions.

photo by Jonathan Kinkley

While in town, we had visiting curators help local creators with festival advice and encouragement at Toronto Games Week…

TGWNextGenShowcase MarieJanin
photo by Marie Janin

…and we introduced young creators to some of the visiting curators as a part of our International Game Pals initiative.

TGWNextGenShowcaseCrowd SaganYee
photo by Sagan Yee

Then for a breath of fresh air we took a ferry to do our second day of programming on beautiful Toronto Island!

photo: Marie Janin
photo by Marie Janin

Then we had a discussion about public spaces, who can access them and how, and who can safely subvert them. We shared experiences of public game design and privilege.

photo by Sagan Yee

We also played a game where we had to knock a corn nut off each others’ hands.

photo by Sagan Yee

We moved to the beach to think about playful experiences we’ve had with disciplines outside of games, and how to draw those inspirations into our practice.

photo by Sagan Yee

Discussions about structuring how we want to work together with our collaborators, peers, volunteers, or employees continued over meals…

photo by Sagan Yee

…in the Dream Big! session we literally took a ten minute nap to drift off to imagine kinds of curation, events, or gatherings we would host with unlimited resources.

photo by JooYoung Oh

We also found some time to read a comic book by one of our participants exploring alternative forms of videogame production such as co-ops and unions.

TGWComic2 JooYoung
photo by JooYoung Oh

Then we came back to OCAD for our third day, where we considered synergies between participants and planned collaborations. And then we played doctor! “Patients” explained their curation and organizing troubles to a pair of “doctors” and had treatments prescribed.

photo by Susie Buchan

We’re excited to see the waves that our small symposium will send to shores all over the world!

photo by Lynn Hughes

While we can’t do justice to the full three day event in this post, we did have very industrious note takers. To allow for candid discussions we didn’t want to post them publicly but we are willing to make them available on request for the education of our peers who were not able to attend.

Thanks to our supporters:
Canada Council for the Arts
Consulate General of France
Fondazione Sardegna Film Commission
game:play Lab
OCAD Digital Futures
Toronto Games Week

photo by Sagan Yee

GAIA 2023 was organized by Lu Oulton, Shalev Moran, Marie LeBlanc Flanagan, and Jim Munroe.