Festival of Art and Independent Games 2015 – 2019
The main goal of the Festival of Art and Independent Games was to foster cooperation between European digital culture sectors and increase their opportunities for taking part in international actions which promote the creation of independent artistic games.
LAG Festival of Art and Independent Games was organized as part of a project co-financed by Creative Europe Programme run by the European Union and was also financially supported by the Town of Cieszyn. The leader of the project was the University of Silesia, that is the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music in Cieszyn, and the partners were the University of Ostrava and the University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava.
The festival was attended by high-school and university students, game creators, artists, teachers, and representatives of business and cultural institutions, not only from Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but also from over 20 other countries including: Germany, Belgium, Austria, Spain, Cyprus, Japan, the USA, Mexico, China and France.
Our common mission was to strengthen the impact of independent high-quality artistic games on the entire video game industry. We wanted to achieve this goal by building ties between universities which offer majors related to the creative industry with particular focus on video games, that is both their design and marketing, and also connections between creative communities and the creative industry, which could be formed thanks to joint development of independent artistic games aimed at wider public.
Since this branch of the creative sector is developing rapidly, it is necessary to educate specialists in independent artistic games who are aware of the value of video games and the role they should play.
We worked on strengthening the ties between academic centres and student associations, with the help of independent creators of artistic games.
The Festival enabled its participants to establish cooperation and build a network of contacts. This enable the formation of international creative teams that boost career development and increase job perspectives.
Another important goal was to promote independent games. We hope that it will increase public awareness of artistic games, which will be reflected by growing expectations as to the artistic quality of commercially available video games.
The project involved over 200 high school students, 400 university students and 2000 representatives of the local community. The residents were interested in the creative sector of video games and attended open events organized as part of the project, such as concerts, presentations, conferences and workshops.
The Festival was accompanied by many other events, including:
two editions of the international poster competition, an exhibition of concept art, an exhibition of diploma projects, movie screenings, and artistic projects in urban spaces, such as car painting or sculpting in the open air.
The Festival of Art and Independent Games was held in the period from October 2015 to September 2019 in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Each year, the project involved cyclic events, such as: LAG Arena, LAG Game Jam, LAG Edu, LAG Music and LAG Festival, as well as a number of accompanying events, for example the international competition for a poster inspired by games or a board game competition.
LAG is an acronym for Letnia Akademia Gier (Summer Game Academy). It is an event which has accompanied the Game and Virtual Space Design major course ever since its establishment. The first workshop of this kind took place in 2012. The idea behind it was to organize an overview of the previous academic year, similar to events organized by educational institutions which offer artistic education. After the very first meeting, we realized that even if innovative education does not require completely new forms of presentation, it surely does require a modified form of presentation which would correspond to the programme assumptions of this major. A video game is a complex product, in which the visual designer or the sound designer is indispensable but still just one out of many other contributors. Because of that, the workshops were aimed at students dealing with the visual aspect of games, sound, narration and programming. Since 2015, LAG has been a part of the Festival of Art and Independent Games and has become a regular item of the cultural calendar of the Department of New Media at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music in Cieszyn. It is an artistic event which promotes interdisciplinary activities and digital culture. It is not only an important event for the students but also an important teaching tool.
The publication entitled “Crossing Borders” which we wish to present to you offers a summary of the project discussing subsequent editions of LAG in individual chapters.
This modest size publication offers only a glimpse of the vast amount of material we have gathered.
For more information please visit our websites: lagfestival.us.edu.pl
Director of Festival of Art and Independent Games