From Monday 22nd February Tinderbox PlayAway Games Festival will showcase and celebrate the creativity, diversity, innovation, and imagination in games and interactive media. Based at North Edinburgh Arts Tinderbox is a collective of young people, musicians, artists and youth workers. From grass-roots youth work to award winning art productions, they “aim to ignite a spark – one which fills people with confidence, imagination and sense of possibility, and which enables people to achieve things they never thought possible”. 

Over 30 game designers, artists, composers, educators and others involved in games will be getting together through a series of panel discussions, workshops, demos, music performances, virtual play sessions and game jams.

At a time when so many people across the world are moving online due to the pandemic, they wanted to turn to the Games industry for inspiration – to ask how games are adapting and responding to the pandemic, and to explore what role they could play looking ahead.

Are there possibilities for new connections, collaborations and learning between gaming worlds and other sectors? What are the most interesting ways of playing and interacting both online and offline at the moment? And how can we build a more playful and creative way forward for us all in the future?

As well as a festival for people involved in games, Tinderbox PlayAway welcomes people from other sectors and different artforms. A range of speakers & events will explore some of the cross-sections between games and education, well-being, research, music, theatre and other areas, and it hopes to prompt new ideas, discussions and collaborations.

The festival is being run on a donations-based model – it aims to be free & accessible for anyone to attend, while paying speakers and performers fairly. 

Festival director Luci Holland of Tinderbox Collective, and Scala Radio said: “Games are such an exciting artform with so much depth and possibilities – they use all sorts of creative formats and technologies, inviting people to collaborate, communicate and explore ideas, and always with a playful ethos. We hope this festival will showcase some of this variety and create new connections and conversations with people from different sectors, including those who might not know much about games – yet!” 

Jane McGonigal

Keynote Speaker and best-selling author, Jane McGonigal, said: “We all need a boost of creativity and imagination right now, so I’m thrilled that the festival invited me to share my research. Games are a powerful, renewable source of positive emotions and social connection. And in the past few years, game scientists have found that there are specific ways we can play to get the most benefits and the biggest resilience boost. I can’t wait to share what we’ve learned!”

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