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5th International Independent Videogames Festival in Berlin, April 20 to 22, 2016 – plus extra Family Day.

We’re still adjusting and adding things to the schedule, so keep checking it in the next days for updates!
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Friday, April 22 • 11:00 - 11:30
Katharine Neil: Context is Everything: A History Lesson from the Escape From Woomera Project

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There was a time, not so long ago, when if you suggested the idea that so-called small-budget “indie” games could one day be popular you would be met with derision or disbelief. Suggest that games could be a respected art form like film or literature, or that games could contain serious social themes, and you would be met with bafflement at best, and open hostility at worst. If you were very unlucky, a governmental inquiry would be commissioned by the Minister for the Arts in an attempt to put you and these outrageous notions of yours back in your box.

This is the historical context for the instigation (and defence) of the Escape From Woomera project (2000-2003). We aimed to create an adventure game based on the heroic and painful stories told to us by refugees who had lived through (and in some cases, escaped from) years of mandatory detention in camps in the Australian desert. The project was initiated by a refugee rights activist who was a game developer by profession, and developed by a team comprising AAA game developers (moonlighting under assumed names), artists and an investigative journalist. This talk tells the story of the project and its attempt to start a conversation about the role of videogames in contemporary culture. 

Artists
avatar for Katharine Neil

Katharine Neil

Katharine began her game development career at Melbourne House in 1998 and since then has alternated between design, programming and audio. Her extra-curricular activities have included directing the social impact game Escape From Woomera in 2003, co-founding Australia's annual independent game developers conference Freeplay, and completing a PhD researching experimental tools for game design.


Friday April 22, 2016 11:00 - 11:30
Haubentaucher Revaler Str. 99, 10245 Berlin

Attendees (52)