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alice-taylor - playARK speakerAlice Taylor
Founder, MakieLab

MakieLab is a brand new kind of toys & games company, developing network-aware, customisable toys and games that talk to each other.

Started in March 2011 by Alice Taylor and three co-founders: Sulka Haro (Habbo), Luke Petre (Little Big Planet), and Jo Roach (Channel 4, Somethin' Else), MakieLab is developing its first network toy line: locally-made dolls & action figures. Previous to MakieLab, Alice was Commissioning Editor for Education at Channel 4, where she commissioned multiple award-winning games and media targeting teens & tweens, including a BAFTA for Bow Street Runner and Best Game at SXSW.

Alice writes a personal games-centric blog, Wonderland at and has contributed variously on the subjects of games, new media and technology for the BBC, New Statesman, The Guardian, and more.

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Ticket prices - Full: £30.00
(Lunch is included in the ticket price)

From an early age, play and games are hugely important to our development as people; it is the fundamental mechanism that allows us to learn and understand complex issues and social interactions. Games can bring people together and open new and unique channels of interaction. So why do we stop ‘playing’ in our adult years? Could games be the key to our future development; produce closer connections with our communities, create a more engaging education system and provide a new direction for business?

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Dan Dixon - playARK talks speakersDan Dixon is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Technologies at the University of the West of England where he runs their degree course in Web Design. His research revolves around the way people interact with technology and specifically the space where digital gaming and the real world mix.

Currently he is working on a PhD, entitled Playing with Reality, which examines the cultural and aesthetic aspects of the nearly indefinable field of Pervasive Gaming. He is also involved in projects on gamification, augmented reality and location based gaming.

Prior to moving to academia he had roles as a senior consultant with social software company Headshift, product manager for the BBC’s online communities and production director for new media agency Syzygy.

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Gareth Loudon - playARK talks speakersDr Gareth Loudon is a principal lecturer in Product Design and Head of Masters studies for the Cardiff School of Art and Design. His research interests focus on creativity and the product innovation process, combining ideas from anthropology and psychology, engineering and design. He is one of the co-founders of the PAIPR research group and also runs a research project called “Creating New Realities”.

Gareth has over 20 years experience in academic and industrial research and has taken several research ideas all the way through to commercial products for large companies such as Apple Computer and Ericsson. Gareth has several patents to his name and over 40 publications in total. He has won many awards including Best Software Product Award at COMDEX Asia, and for his concept design work from IDSA/BusinessWeek.

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playARK-dave-sharp-speakerDave has a 25 year background within the creative industries both as a developer of video games and with the business side of commercialising and licensing IP. Dave currently now runs a successful games development production company as well as being a board advisor to two investment companies working within the creative sector.

Most recently Dave has been part of the driving force behind one of the UK's most unique and successful digital regeneration projects - 'DigitalCity' located in the North East of England. The project is a multi-million pound project to create new digital and knowledge economy companies and has to date helped establish 60+ new companies in this sector.

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Mark - Stevenson - playARK talks speakersMark Stevenson’s early career saw him mixing two jobs; one as an industry analyst dealing with prime number cryptography and computer aided systems engineering, the other fronting a pop band, enjoying brief notoriety in Japan, France and Chile.

Today he combines two other (more related) careers - one as a successful writer/ comedian (writing for stage, radio and print) and another as a speaker and consultant on future narratives, institutional innovation, engineered serendipity and learning, working with both private and public clients. His writing has appeared in numerous publications including The Daily Telegraph, The New Statesman and The Irish Times. His first book An Optimist’s Tour of the Future continues to receive wide critical acclaim (“Sharp and Fascinating” – The Wall Street Journal) and has been translated into four languages

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Matt Locke - playARK talks speakersStorythings and is a company established by Matt Locke in April 2011 to experiment with new ways of telling stories, through consultancy and production on major projects with new and established talent; through events and annual conferences looking at storytelling in a wide range of contexts and media; and through a series of objects and publications produced with some of the most innovative storytellers around.

Before starting Storythings, Matt was Head of Multiplatform Commissioning at Channel 4 where was responsible for running the Multiplatform Commissioning team with a £7m budget for multi-platform projects around some of Channel 4′s biggest brands, including Million Pound Drop, Skins, Misfits, Embarrassing Bodies and Big Brother, and developing a new commissioning strategy based on emerging audience behaviours Prior to this Matt was Commissioning Editor for Education at Channel 4, where he was responsible for a £5m annual budget, commissioning many cross platform and transmedia projects.

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Wendy Keay Bright - playARK talks speakersWendy Keay-Bright is the award-winning researcher whose interaction design projects have included Somantics, ReacTickles, and ECHOES. Her work is characterised by simple, elegant design, ease of use, transferability across multiple technology platforms and environments, and the inclusion of end users with learning disabilities in the design process. She works with a dedicated team of software artists to create technology interfaces that are responsive and user-led, designed to encourage play, creativity and expressive communication for some of the most hard to reach individuals in special education, clinical and community settings.

Wendy lectures in design and runs regular practitioner workshops in schools and service centres. Wendy is a Trustee of Autism Cymru and an Associate of the Autism Centre for Autism Research (ACER).

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playARK games - Saturday 1 October - 10am - 5pm

Solve the mystery of the mobile murderer, chase the stag through the forest, be the first to collect all your numbers in Human Bingo, beat your friends in The Retro Game tournament and be the first to try exciting new digital games.

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Phone Box Frenzy
There’s been a mobile-murder in Cardiff; it’s up to you to discover which phone box is responsible and bring them to justice. A relay game in which the players play the role of detectives on the hunt for a murderer. Each phonebox they encounter has a distinct character and role in an unfolding murder mystery story.

Wednesday Club

Why not come along to our meeting on Wednesday evenings and see how you can get involved! Click here to view our calendar.

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