Game Arts International Assembly 2019 Program

The first edition of GAIA is co-organized by Game ON! El arte en juego and Game Arts International Network. The symposium is loosely structured into three themes. Day 1 is Past Successes, Day 2 is Current Challenges, and Day 3 is Future Opportunities.

See here for further information on the 20+ participants from a dozen countries.

Nov 28th from 10:00 to 18hs
(breakfast – lunch – dinner included)


Arriving/Settled/Chatting (15m)

Find someone you don’t know and look at their nametag! If someone has a game you’ve never played, ask them about it, if someone is from a region you’ve never been to, ask them about it.


Introductions, Hopes and Fears (45m)

Lu and Jim will welcome the participants and describe their hopes and fears for this symposium. Each participant will be asked to give their name, region and also describe their hopes and fears for this event: the person who can do this in the least words will be declared the winner, with a runner up for the most said with the least words.


100 Events, 6 Years, A Couple of Things I’ve Learned Along the Way

Lorenzo Pilia’s talk (1hr)

This talk will cover a wide range of subjects including tips for making events more welcoming, the question of Is Bigger Better?, how to make community building sustainable and not burn out, and the importance of documentation.


BREAK (15m)


10 minute successes (45min)

Chad, Heather and Chaz will be doing brief case studies on a game arts project they felt succeeded with the intent of inspiring and educating their fellow participants — and celebrating their wins!

13:00 – 15:00hs 

PRESS LUNCH (same building) 


Videogame Curation Starter Kit (1hr)

Coordinated by Lu and Chad

This is a content generation session where we’re going to collectively amass the advice, tips, and warnings to emerging game arts curators, organizers, and cultural workers.


10 Years Curating and Documenting Playful Culture Around the World 

Zuraida Buter’s talk (45min)

Zuraida will dive into curating games from the broader perspective of playful arts/ culture and talk a bit about what they have done with Playful Arts. Secondly, she will talk about the importance of documenting events. This will lead into a discussion about a possible book project. Zuraida has been working on the idea of a book project with Simon Bachelier that highlights the work of curation in games over the years. What could a book project like that look like? What are the different directions that it could take? The basic idea is a book with photos, articles & interviews. They have a setup & direction in mind but would like to discuss this with curators and also figure out what could be possible directions for publication and funding.




Diffusing Alternative Games: Beyond the Event

Isabelle Arvers’ Talk (30min)

Isabelle Arvers shares learnings from her global south art and games world tour in terms of indie games production, funding and content evolution. She’ll explore how encounters between artists and game makers can be facilitated, through trainings, workshops and lectures; how long-term residencies offer opportunities to develop new kind of hybrid projects in between games and art; and the idea of developing and financing an international touring art and games residency exhibition.


Can you be like LIKELIKE? Running a pop-up arcade in your spare time

Paolo Pedercini’s Talk (30min)

LIKELIKE is a low budget, low effort gallery for experimental games in Pittsburgh, PA. This talk will cover its operating principles and strategies, hopefully providing tips for similar endeavors.

Can we complement the current network of game festivals with an ecosystem of small and flexible game art spaces?

18:00hs The Hospitality Team will lead us to MIlion for Game On! Anniversary & GAIA’s opening Cocktail 

19- 21 _ games + music + free beer + tapas  at Milion Bar
Private event just for Game On artists + GAIA participants + Game on Team + press + partners + embassies 

Nov 29th From 11 to 17hs
(lunch included. No dinner plans)

The hospitality committee will take us to a new location, off-site. We will be working near the river, with access to a closed room or the possibility to sit under the trees. 


Meet at San Martin Cultural Center. Transportation to “Centro Naval”


Allies and Adversaries 

Jim Munroe’s Workshop (1hr)

The intent of this session is to quickly map out entities who help and hinder our game arts work, consciously playing with a competitive framework to see what comes up.




Building a Five Minute Game Arts Video Explainer/Brief (45m)

Resource generation session 

Together we’ll script out a video to show to cultural institutions to bridge the credibility gap that game arts has. What are the best games clips, best events to show, best credibility enhancing facts and arguments to distill? 


LUNCH BREAK – we can keep on working, talking and eating since it will be asado sandwiches + empanadas 


Sustainability and Revenue Streams (1:30)

Workshop facilitated by Lu, Jim, Paolo, and others

Money! Definitely the top challenge for most of us. Every region and participant will have a slightly different situation, so we’re breaking up into groups to tackle different styles and approaches:

  • RUSTLING: Volunteer-powered & DIY
  • HUSTLING: Sponsorship, Ticket Sales, Crowdfunding, Memberships
  • BUSTLING: Public Money, Institutional Partnerships and Succession Planning

There will be an opportunity for everyone to go to two of these groups in the session, to get and give mentorship in these areas.




What Is Your Biggest Challenge? 

Workshop (1hr)  up to 5 spots

What kind of help do you need that hasn’t been addressed? Bruno, Claire and Andrew will express their challenges and we will do an exercise based on Troika.

17:00hs return to San Martin Cultural Center for a guided visit to Game on! El arte en juego by Lu Oulton and Agustin Perez Fernandez 

Day 3: Future Opportunities
Nov 30th from 10 to 17hs


Future of Our Network (1hr)

Lu and Jim

Let’s work out the future of GAIA as a network using this format. How can GAIA help the game arts community? What use can we get out of this? Who is interested in hosting the event in 2021 and beyond? What future shapes should it take? Could we use GAIA for our events and shared projects? Could we make an international sponsors + partners network? 


Where Do We Go Wrong?
Establishing shared values and standards in games cultural work

Marie Foulston’s moderated discussion (1hr) 

Over the past 10 years cultural work around videogames has blossomed. This has been an area of rapid development, yet one that is often under-resourced and self taught. As a consequence our events, exhibitions or projects might not achieve the ethical standards we would aspire them to. Let’s use this session to openly and honestly discuss some of the problems and issues this developing cultural landscape and our own work might create or perpetuate, even if unintentionally. We’ll aim to establish some shared common values and discuss what actionable changes we might make to achieve these.




Exhibit the Unexhibitable Curating Challenge!

Pietro Righi Riva’s workshop (1hr)

In this workshop we’ll choose one of a pre-curated set of games, then come up with unusual ways to display those games — in a way that will make visitors/audiences reflect on the theme and still appreciate the individual work.

LUNCH BREAK (You’re on your own for lunch!)


Frag the DJ: Making a Post-Celebratory Games Culture

Shalev Moran’s workshop (1hr)

Big festivals and conferences have done tremendous service to videogames culture; not only by celebrating the diversity and quality of its products, but also by pulling it away from its nerdy image and into more social and cool spaces. But what are we missing by focusing our energy on celebratory events? and what alternatives are there? This session will begin with a talk, attempting to challenge our current “festival culture” and introducing an array of alternative cultural strategies to celebratory game events. The talk will be followed by a short workshop where participants choose a strategy that they wish to employ, develop its framework, and pitch it to the group.



16:00 – 17:00

Establishing A Healthy Community Practices Kit

Heather Kelley’s resource generation session (1hr)

How can we build and heal game communities in the wake of #metoo? What are the best resources we have come across that can teach us how to better establish healthy community practices and how to repair and heal from transgressions when necessary?


Microplans and Final Thoughts (1hr)

Choose one exciting idea you had or heard during this symposium tell us what it is — or if you had it before, if it’s changed — and start making a microplan to do the tiniest thing before 2020. It might be a single email. How are you thinking differently from when we started? Did anything in particular land in an interesting way? Do you feel like making a commitment to pursue a microplan that might help motivate you?