mscapeFest locates to Belfast
This year, mscapeFest took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the first time the event has been held outside Bristol. Belfast was chosen as the venue because of the strong mscape community in Northern Ireland, particularly in education. The event was opened by Nigel Dodds, government Finance Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive. He welcomed delegates from around the world, including the UK, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, the US, Netherlands and Canada.
The programme focused on education, gaming and heritage, reflected in the range of topics and talks. One workshop was tailored specifically for schools, educators and others who may benefit from using mscape as part of the curriculum, or for other educational purposes. There was also an audio workshop at the Sonic Arts Sonic Lab, a newly established centre of excellence dedicated to the research of music technology. HP is sponsoring a PhD student at Sonic Arts.
HP Labs announced advanced new features in its downloadable mscapes authoring technology, which is used to create mscapes and share new fields of collaborations and experiences, such as the successful Last Will theatre prototype.
Among the groups taking part in the festival was BBC NI Mobile Learning, which launched an mscapes project for mscapesFest08. Letter to America is an evocative experience of emigration revealed around the original Belfast docks. The story of emigration is retold through narration of primary sources. Emigrants' letters, journals from voyages, newspaper reports, Parliamentary debates and contemporary accounts of Belfast are recounted to recreate a century of emigration from Belfast.
Other examples of mscapes on display at mscapeFest included educational games for children developed with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
The first mscape in Belfast was created by groups of cross-community children from primary and secondary schools in the city. It captured the cultural history of the Titanic through personal family stories and imaginative sound effects.
The mscapeFest08 conference was supported by DFPNI and 2CK and sponsors in kind were Sonic Arts Research Centre (part of Queen’s University Belfast) and the European Education Research and Innovation Centre (EERIC).
See also the news release from the Northern Ireland Executive.