I spent last week outside Vilnius in Lithuania, helping out with a ground-breaking project in the Nordic larp scene, the Larpwriter Summer School 2012.
Few organizations amaze me as much as the Norwegian Fantasiforbundet. Their goal is to increase the fantasy and imagination in the world and they are especially working on doing that where it’s needed the most, in countries such as Belarus and Palestine.
For years they have collaborated with the Belursian Education Center “POST” and this years the outcome was a summer school for people interested in getting fully fledged knowledge in doing larp for education.
The Larpwriter summer school is a five-day intensive summer course in larp organizing close to Vilnius, Lithuania in july 2012. The school is open for 15 participants from Belarus and 15 participants from the nordic countries and internationally.
During the week, we will provide a framework and a toolbox for creating larps. While the goal of the summer school is to encourage pedagogical larps, our understanding of that term is very wide. We believe that the tools that create good larps can be applied broadly, and our toolbox will be useful for the designer of any larp that aims to tell a story.
About the Summer School
Both myself, Teresa Axner, Lars Nerback and Miriam Lundqvist from LajvVerkstaden have given feedback to the project during the whole spring, since edu-larping and larp is what we do. We all went to Vilnius for doing larps, lectures and workshops together with other great people from the Nordic larp scene. Swedes such as Åke Nolemo and Johanna Koljonen. The Norwegians Erlend Eidsem Hansen, Trine Lise Lindah, Eirik Fatland and Erik Aarebrot. And the Danes, Bjarke Pedersen, Oliver Nøglebæk, Mads Havshøj and Kristoffer Thurøe. And yes, here I will of course even include our Czech friend Jana Pouchlá and Pavel Hamřík. The sense of making a collaborative effort to increase the quality of the program by helping each other out was amazing.
I am so grateful for being able to have been a part of the process and the time at the school. The amazing participants which came from 12 different countries of which the majority had very little experience of larp before went away with a compiled theoretical and practical knowledge on an extremely high level. One idea the programme followed was the idea of The Mixing Desk of larp a brilliant way of portraying which elements to think about in larp design.
Here is some of the stuff I did during the week. All presentations from the week are to be collected at the resource-page at the Summer School website.
Larp – When Our Destinies Meet
Together with four other game-masters I hosted five parallel runs of the black box larp When Our Destinies Meet which I have written about here.
Web page: When Our Destinies Meet
Presentation of the meta-technique fader
For all of the faders from The Mixing Desk of larp, an introductory presentation was held and I presented the one about meta-tecniuqes and dramachanics in larp. The fader was about if your larp should have intrusive techniques which means ones that you use out in the open space or discrete techniques that for example are used in closed space, i.e. a black box a bit away from the game area.
Slides: Fader 7 – Meta-techniques & Dramachanics
Larp presentation of Skymningsland
One part of the program was presentations of different previous larp projects to showcase different kind of Noric style larps. I held a short presentation the Swedish post-apocalyptic larp Skymningsland that was organized by the Solnedgång association in 2010.
Slides: Presentation of the post-apocalyptic larp Skymningsland
Workshop about meta-techniques in larp
I also held a meta-techniques workshop in which I wanted the participants to get more comfortable with creating black box scenes and requesting monologues.
Slides: Meta-technique workshop
Other than this I help hosting a bunch of larp, a fantastic creative larp-making jam session with both post-it bonanza and great reflection and finally at the end, a 5,5 hour dj-set at ending party. And we invented the new icebreaker “The Thousand Dollars Up His Ass Man” (hilarious). Great week.
I just want to give one final thanks to the organizers for pulling it all off. From getting all the great participants and lecturers to setting up the program and filling it will all the stuff from last week. And for implementing the genius structure of the The Mixing Desk of larp. From POST, Alexander Karalevich, Aliona Velichko, Nadia Aliokhina and Tatiana Smoliak and from Fantasiforbundet Martin Nielsen, Martin Eckhoff Andresen and Erlend S. Bruer. You guys are just plain awesome.
Kjetil Aasland, Charge d´Affaires from the Norwegian embassy in Vilnius opened the Summer School. This was the end of his speech.
“It is no new insight that simulation type situations are excellent for practicing the handling of complex and ambivalent situations and issues. Rather than offering passive learning it teaches through exposure to choice, which enlightens self-reflection, self-knowledge, and awareness of the consequence of choice. What indeed could be better suited to develop self empowerment?
It is also perhaps the only form of learning that is inherently resistant to indoctrination. Because real choice is incompatible with indoctrination. And even if you construct it in a way that predetermines choice or eliminates it in practice the main effect will then be to draw uncomfortable attention to exactly that absence of choice.
For the next week you will be learning how to develop larps. I think what this really is about in many ways is developing people.”
Some of the other recources from the week
Larpwriter Summer School – Official website of the project
All slides and documents from the Summer School – Collection of presentations and other resources from week
Fantasiforbundet’s International work – About Fantasiforbundet’s international projects (in Norwegian)
Report on the project on the Belarus Larpwriter website – Translated with Google translate
Larpwriter Summer School 2012 – Report on the Larp.cz website by Dominika Kováčová – Translated with Google translate
Nordic Larp Wiki – A Wiki for Nordic Larp
Chamber Games – Website with a collection short larps
The workshop handbook – Website with a collection of pre-game workshops and exercises.
Larpwriter Summer School talks by Oliver – All of Oliver Nøglebæks talks
And if you don’t know what Nordic larp is – check out my presentation about that here.
17/7: Updated with some more thoughts, thanks and links.
18/7: Updated with the quote of Kjetil Aasland’s opening speech.
23/7: Updated with link to Belarus larpwriter, thanks to Lizzie Stark.
7/8: Updated with link to Larp.cz article.
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