A lifetime ago (well, three long years) I was asked to do something that changed everything and added around 20 years onto my forehead. My hair was uniformly orange back then and now it’s a mixture of citrus and snow.
I was asked to run a stand for the college at the World Skills Festival, to be held that year in London at London ExCeL.
To my shame I knew nothing about the World Skills Fest. I didn’t know it was the Olympics of education, nor that it had been running for decades all over the world. I didn’t know that students competed for a place to represent their country nor that they showed off the best of industry working with education. World Skills is a fabulous thing. Had I known how good the opening festival would be I would have taken my daughter with me, for example. It was a little less Olympics and a little more Eurovision and it was utterly brilliant. I fell asleep during the show once, but only because I was absolutely shattered. I had probably worked two 80+ hour weeks back to back and had one more to come.
I pitched for a space, with this picture, saying that we’d be happy to run a, say, 2 x 2 m stand showing off tablet artwork.
(which I drew on my trusty iPod touch using the very lovely – at the time – Brushes app v2).
They came back with a positive suggestion.
Could I do a slightly larger stand? 50 square metres or so?
and, when filled with people (as it frequently was) it looked like this:
Since then the students and I have done a couple more events (BETT, BETT, BETT, Teentech, Teentech, Adobe, Adobe, Autodesk, Magic Summer, Eurogamer, MCM, MCM, Channel 4, Sky Arts, Bohunt, Barbican, Surrey Skills, Surrey Skills, Royal Academy, Digital Surrey, London Mac User Group, Art on the Street, London International Technology Show, World’s first tablet only life drawing session and so on…)
And, of course, the Gadget Show Live:
Which, at 120 sq m, almost broke me, I’ll admit. Organising 70 students, a residential and everything on the stand to an available budget of £2,500 was a ridiculous challenge but one that worked out beautifully in the end. Well. Not at the end, naturally, as the end saw me wrapped up in carpet and frog marched to the coach.
I mention all of this as I’m deep in the heart of organising our next event: a 60 sq m stand at Eurogamer Expo. And you know what? I’m enjoying the doing of it, because I always do. So far it’s all moving along quite happily and mostly all the jigsaw puzzle pieces are in place. A couple are still left to do but it’s merrily ticking away.
I probably shouldn’t say that 🙂 but hey. Organising something like this I’m happy. I can’t wait to see the stand, there’s some ace artwork already coming in, I get to see the disparate pieces for the stand banner come together tomorrow and it’s just fun. Organising events? Yeah, I can do that.
Two weeks from now… Can’t wait…
And, for the first time, I’m going to Cosplay at one of the things we’re doing. All sorts of fun planned…
But why Black and Redline for the title? Well… The stand is entitled ‘Welcome to Guildford’ and we’ll be riffing on the Guildford games heritage. The original idea was to print screenshots of games from Guildford but that turned into a complete minefield so, instead, some tablet artists of fabulous note are going to change the history of Guildford games and create the titles that could have been… It’ll be amazing, trust me. I’ve seen the pictures as they’re coming in. It’ll be brilliant.
Two weeks 🙂