I go to a fair amount of symposiums. You know the kind, where people get together and discuss issues related to their field. The smallest ones I go to tend to be a single lecture theatre with six to eight presentations during the day, breaks for coffee and a couple of panel Q&A sessions. The largest one I go to each year is the convention for one of my clients – it stretches over five days and includes hundreds of talks on all kinds of related subjects.
The Scandinavians are already doing this, with an annual conference to discuss Nordic Style LARP called Knutpunkt. It seems well attended and it’s clearly worth running. You can even catch up with some of the talks later – and they’re really rather good.
We do this here in the UK too, the larger LARP kit fairs have a series of short lectures. However (according to friends) too often they’re sidelined into rooms with no attendance, located in thoroughfares or just not organised and promoted well enough. The problem is that you don’t go to a kit fare to listen to talks theorising about LARP, you go to a kit fair to buy kit. While it’s conceivable that the two might happen in the same place, at the moment the talks are being sidelined (and nobody puts Baby in a corner).
A UK Symposium on LARP
With that in mind (along with a whole bunch of enthusiastic friends) I propose the first UK Symposium on LARP. A place to get together and discuss everything from new ideas to best practices. Where organisers can talk about planning regulations (I’m sure that’s mostly what they talk about…), makers can have lectures by master craftsmen, academics can discuss game design and players can learn how to get more from their hobby.
I’m not naive, these are long term dreams (especially since next winter will be my third year at university) however I see no reason why we can’t start small. With that in mind I propose a small symposuim next winter, taking place over the course of a day. If anyone is experienced at organising these kind of events then now would be a great time to speak up – I’ll take all the help I can get.
So now is the time to speak up if you’ve got an idea that you’d like to talk about to other people interested in developing LARP. I’m open to all ideas for papers. I would have thought I’ll set a deadline mid-summer-ish as a call for papers to see what we’ve got and so that we can properly plan the day.
This will only happen with the support of the LARP community, so this is your chance to help create something new and exciting. Plenty of people have proposed the idea before, but lets make it happen this time.