Trust in Play - Open Call closed

The first phase of Trust in Play had reached his peak yesterday (May 31st) with the closing of the Open call for the research of the first group of Trainee that will take part of the schools first years activities.

It was a very successful and exciting period (from April 15th til May 31st) during which we set up a customized version of Discourse, we planned a strategy, we launched the call and we organized online activities to start sharing contents immediately and of course a landing page.

This post is to sum up what happened and share what we learned.

Edgeryders in particular is responsible for the Nomad (or nomadic) branch of the school i.e. our goal is to organize and learn mostly remotely with creators that are everywhere in Europe (both me, @natalia_skoczylas and @noemi are involved in different capacities).

1. Put the community at the center since the beginning.

During our kickoff meeting in Berlin (January 2019) we were, thanks to @matthias already able to use the discourse platform, and together we committed to use it and familiarize during the kick-off. This was painful and my feeling is that after that experiment not all the partners felt comfortable on using it in the following months, also the activities were reduced at that time.

But because the platform was there we were able to engage with it and one decision that was taken was to have some sort of interaction in it mandatory for everybody that was interested on participating to the school.

It’s again raising the bar for someone that want to participate and “it didn’t make the call so open”, but at the same time we thought that the discourse platform will be the place where all this people will meet, and why don’t start since the beginning to meet to each other?

In the form for the application there was then a request for the link of your “presentation” comment on the platform
2. This little trick created this a thread of 212 posts so far, with stories coming in from all around the world, interactions between the applicants, with a visible immediate value for everyone that landed there.

You can read it though the conversations that are naturally happening.

Some of the applicants figured out that in order to stand out they have to start a new thread and this is interesting too, it means that there is a familiarity with the tech that this little choice was able to enhance.
3. The number of complete application that we received is high, -we were expecting half of it-, and the quality is also really high (I didn’t look at all of them yet but at first screening everyone put a lot of work in it), the Nomad branch received 54,3% of it, the Athens branch 32,1% and the Amsterdam branch 13,6%.
Amsterdam has a 1/3 selection ratio which is enough to have astonishing Trainees.
4. As Nomad branch we used 2 main strategy to communicate the call, but I have the feeling that the result was more organic then driven by those.

First we mapped a lot of community that were connected with our topic and we shared the call but then, and I think this was a key feature of the open call, we organized two webinars, i.e. conversation with guests artists around topic that could be interesting for the Trainee that we are engaging.

The first one was about money and sustainability, the second about festival and community.

For the first one we had 30 people registered to the event and a presence of 20 guests during the webinar, for the second the number of registration rises to 48 but the number of people present was around 25. The good news though was that a lot of the creatives that were present the second time were not present the first time.

Webinars are not easy to attend, you have to stick to a certain time and topic, but all the feedback that we’ve received where really positive, and personally, I believe that sharing curated contents for free, is a feature that will define the kind of school we want to be and will attract the students that we want to have and the organizations that we want to work with.

So to sum up:

  • Community first

  • Sharing free content immediately

  • Put your face out :slight_smile:

Now the call is closed and we will select a small number of trainee though ;( and we are scared that this value that we have will got lost because:

  • a) we are not structured to do community management (there is no money in the budget for it and this is not the short term goal of the project, but could be a long term goal)

  • b) the open call was the main reason because the applicants got involved so if they are not selected what could keep them interacting to each other? Or will they interested on it?

Did you see some possible solution?

Luckily for me I’m in good company: for three days I will spend time with @johncoate in northern California so we are going to talk about it but I feel that all of you have a lot of stories about it that could help us going in one direction that is better for the designers that shared their story with us.



Very cool, congratulations <3 will think about your questions

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Super great post summing up some important things @matteo_uguzzoni!!
Congrats to all for the 140 applications which came in!

Some quick reactions:

  • Great choice to have a Nomadic branch instead of city-limited participation only. It became, as expected, the most competitive too (bummer for the applicants), but the outcome of having cross border participation and interaction is invaluable.
  • We stand to learn from a clearly defined 6 weeks engagement campaign: good landing page, clear instructions, simple platform participation - leave a comment (the threshold higher, not sure we would’ve had these numbers). The clear reward I think is useful for us too working in other projects like Wellbeing in Europe or Internet of Humans: 2 webinars + 1 training bootcamp. Perhaps webinars is a better strategy than community calls? Because of the clear knowledge delivery?
  • Single topic for communication purposes: OpenCall - again, clear message across the board
  • Finally, I think the rich networks of those driving this - Maria’s, Seb’s, Matteo’s, Natalia’s really helped. Curious how many people of the 140 do you know or know of…? If they came through a friend organisation, professional groups you are part of … etc.
  • Invite a number of strong applicants (who did not win) to the Athens bootcamp, free of charge learning, but on their own expense - that’s a nice way of saying thank you. In exchange for coming, ask them to commit support to one of the teams during and after the camp.
  • Map the networks for skills and interest and see who is close to whom, and what? Either manually (just areas of interest and list of people under each) or through a network graph? This return to community would offer an overview tool useful for us all - later down the line you might want to get in touch with key people for different game applications in the cities.

Special thanks to @sebquack @MariaS @iris_equinox for believing in a community forum.


ping @inge @anon82932460 @hugi @natalia_skoczylas @johncoate @MariaEuler

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I love this. great idea to show people you appreciate them and want to keep them involved.

I also agree re landing page: it’s immediately clear to me as visitor:

  1. What I get out of it
  2. What I need to do

Great works guys!


I also managed to get the call for example on On The Move, one of the main websites for such opportunities in the world, and the Culture Backstage participants were sharing it - 35 people with yet again great networks. And a couple of high-level tweets from established game designers were also my lucky call (all thanks to Matteos encouragement!).

Surprisngly, i know only two people who applied - and both of them i have only met once in Berlin, one at republica (jakub) and one, Anne Loraine, at the small gaming gathering we are having every now and then with a bunch of super cool indie game people in berlin.

I think Noemi suggests great things.
Lets do the graph and have it as a sexy teaser of what is possible in the network - and write a summary for the rest showing what we see happening here, but also asking how they want to use this community now.

Meeting in Athens can also have some meetups around it.

And maybe we can open a call for proposals for everyone, where we offer to create new projects and opportunities together? Some starting ideas are there already anyway.

We can also organise a separate webinar for the community to brainstorm about it.

Also, maybe we open a TIP festival of games that will happen simultaneously in various places - these games already exist or will be designed during our school and maybe on the platform? This way we give the label a lot of steam and presence and create a nice opportunity for the community members?


Thanks all for the feedbacks!

We will have spots for the not selected to come to Athens, so this is going to happens, we are really excited about it!

And I think that what suggested by @natalia_skoczylas goes together with what emerged from a discussion with the partner i.e: both have some free space during the conference to have peer to peer engagement and learning opportunities (and I see a conversation happening around that easily similar to the ones that lead to Open Village).

Also @johncoate asked me during a conversation in this days at his place (btw, let’s organize a CultureSquad retreat there :)) what is the need of this people of being together online, ie what is one thing that we can manage to do on the platform that game designer / public space activist needs in order to improve themselves and their practices?

His example was that with the Well what the community needed the most was not conversation about engineering or technology but social interaction, that’s why his focus was mostly on organizing social events and put them together (@johncoate correct me if I’m wrong).
So I think this is an open question that we will ask each other and we can have space for experiment in different direction this summer.

@noemi to answer about how many people I know that applied? just 1! (this is also why I’m so psyched, because this are all new potential member of my chosen family of game designers!)



Wow, so you and Natalia collectively didn’t know many people. Maybe others in the partnership did, but this only proves more the power of (effective) networks!!

Dont say this twiceee :slight_smile: omg we can definitely do it. Rent a bigger house as we did in Turkey and invite everyone! Probably better to do it while we are in Athens though…