Encountering Meaning in Digital Spaces
a rousing success
Video Games are hugely diverse and varied art form, offering wildly unpredictable experiences, interactive invitations to see life from different perspectives and often beautiful, intricate recreations of other worlds.
This eye opening one day conference that was held at the end of October 2018 showed how youth workers can use video game spaces meaningfully to explore emotional, ethical, spiritual and even worshipful themes. Arguing that delving into this untapped resource can help young people to engage with a host of real-life questions and issues.
We were privileged to have Andy Robertson (@GeekDadGamer) as a keynote speaker. Andy has vast experience in the video-game world, and has led sessions at Greenbelt and 3Generate, as well as contributing to national newspapers and the BBC Radio 4 programme, 'You and Yours'. Andy has a passion for relating spirituality and video games in a modern context for all ages. He also has a new book coming out (check it out here!), co-written by Alistair Jones, a freelance coach and trainer. Alistair studied chemical physics, where he was awarded a doctorate. In his spare time, Alistair likes to cycle and volunteer in youth work in his home community of Stretford, Manchester. Together they wrote a Grove book on Exploring Spirituality in Video Games (find it online here), which was the focus of this event.
The conference brought together Ministers, Lay Workers and Youth workers from across London, and other parts of the Connexion. We explored the spirituality in Video Games, how they are an art form and why games are so popular for people of all ages. We had hands on experience with new games, "Run, Jesus, Run" and "Passage". During the day, we explored together the meanings that can be found in all types of games. Through a case study of how Exeter Cathedral used video games in their worship, we were challenged to consider how we could use this resource in our own context.
The highlight of the day had to be when we played ‘Joust’. Joust is a game that doesn't involve a screen, in which players use a PS3 Move Controller to hit their opponent's controller in order to win. It was a great joy to see members of the conference jumping around trying to out-Joust each other. See pictures below for evidence.