What is a hack day? It is a time to experiment and to create things (both physical and virtual). It is an open forum: bring your own project or come to see and help with other people’s projects. For example, you might bring an item to hack (toys, VCR, etc.), or a software or hardware project you’ve been working on. We generally have a few Arduinos and electronic bits for people to play with.

Hack Days were developed for the Queen Mary University community. There was a need for a space for people to work together or at least near each other. PhD work can be isolating. Hack Days are an opportunity to play with something new or get support for current work. It is mainly attended by Electronic Engineering and Computer Science Department. All departments are invited and we aim that Hack Days grow and cross disciplines and expertise.

Hack Days is intended to be a loose forum. There will typically be some type of tutorials/demos during the session. It is also a dedicated time to come and work on a project or try something new.   Pollie Barden and Andrew Mcpherson facilitate Hack Days.  In the spirit of the DIY culture anyone can organize a Hack Day.

View flickr set of Hack Days.

Pollie Barden is a PhD Researcher QMUL's Cognitive Science research group. She is an artist, technologist, and game designer. She has run her games in festivals and presented her art in galleries and museums all over the globe. For nine years, Pollie has been engaging people with disabilities, teens and older people with technology with an aim to increase the opportunities to be involved in the open source community building. She has taught at various universities in US and UK. She co-founded and co-designed snagu, photo scavenger hunt game, that was a 2006 mtvU Digital Incubator Award winner. In 2011, she was one of the six co-founders of G.Hack, a women's technology club, that supports QMUL women in learning and sharing technology skills. With Furtherfield, a technology arts organization in London, UK and Culture Lab at Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK she ran a research project on Telematic Dinner Parties which explored the intersection of distance, food, dinning and games as influences on social presence in technology mediated social events. Her current research is in how gameplay and technology can ease to adoption of digital technology usage for older people.

Current research topic: Connecting Isolated Older People across Distance through Gameplay and Technology

Games have been used as a tool to introduce older people to digital technology. Here we are developing a gameful system to facilitate the social interactions between older people and young adults in an intergeneration community run club. We aim to ease the integration of digital tools through gameplay for older generations. Our research is about both the meaningful integration older people in the digital age and laying the groundwork for our future selves as older people. We hope to be able to learn and share strategizes for game designer, researchers and participants in the development of our emerging gameplay based society. We are designing for our future selves.