Studio Y – March 13

Studio-Y-cohort

Our second stop inside the MaRS building was Studio Y, where young people can apply for a 8-moth fellowship to learn about techniques useful for building leadership skills, entrepreneurship and many other types of skills. Reading about Studio Y made me wonder a few things, and those were my questions:

  • What specific qualities and abilities Studio Y’s members work on?
  • Aside from discussions, are there any other ways for the members to participate and develop their skills?
  • What do you classify as ‘innovation’ when it comes to game design?

Summary

Studio Y is located on a very nice room that looks a lot more informal and diverse than what we had seen from the MaRS building. We were greeted by some of the studio’s members, who introduced themselves and explained to us how the studio worked, and what are its objectives. We were then invited to participate in a session of discussion of varied topics, some proposed by the present studio’s members and others raised by some of us. Each person could pick one of the proposed topics to discuss, which resulted in small groups discussing varied subjects (for example, games narratives, the future of tech, games in education, inclusion and technologies, and others). The person who proposed the discussion topic also needed to pick a location for their group, including different corners of the room, the kitchen, and the food court. I decided to join the games in education discussion (located in the food court) with other four people. We discussed how often games are “dumbed down” to be used as instruments of education, which ends up creating a negative label for educational games in general, even though there are some good games of this type out there. It was also mentioned how there seems to be a lot of educational games for children but not nearly as many for teenagers or young adults, which reinforces games being “dumbed down” as children’s play and being necessarily easy and about simple topics. This prompted us to discuss about possible solutions to make educational games just as appealing as most common games. Once time was up, we returned to Studio Y’s room and each group gave feedback about their discussion, and nice discussion outcomes were rewarded with finger snapping.

 

Impressions

The nicest thing I noticed about Studio Y is that there’s a lot of freedom for participants to choose what they want to do and discuss, which promotes more honest and vivid discussions. The environment itself is also very welcoming and strangely cozy, giving the meeting a much more personal rather than professional feeling. I think this kind of atmosphere can be very positive for idea generation and innovation in general. The studio seems to explore and reinforce everything that most OCAD students seek, especially with the heavy focus on innovation. The idea of being able to pick a topic to discuss from scratch instead of discussing previously defined ideas (as it happens in most “discussion circles”) is very refreshing and particularly useful for brainstorming, and I feel I could have participated a bit more if I wasn’t shy. Regardless, even for shy people such as myself, I think the studio provides a very positive environment for idea generation and learning in general.