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Red River College and New Media Manitoba offer first-of-its-kind Queer Coded youth summer camp

July 15, 2021

Calling all rainbow gamers interested in learning game development and new skills!

Red River College and New Media Manitoba are launching a Queer Coded youth summer camp — the first-of-its-kind to be offered by the two organizations. The camp will be taught by 2SLGBTQIA industry professionals and allies in a safe and supportive environment, with the goal to open more doors for interested youth and diversify this growing industry in Manitoba.

“With the expansion project of our Exchange District Campus opening this fall, and the exponential growth of the digital and tech sectors in Manitoba, we know the demand for diverse and skilled grads in areas like game development, interaction design and development, and film production will continue,” says Dr. Christine Watson, RRC’s Vice-President, Academic and Research.

“Red River College is committed to fostering an environment where all individuals are and feel welcomed, respected, safe and supported in their ideas, perspectives and participation. We are proud to offer a series of camps and provide opportunities to open our doors, virtually, to invite future students on campus and expose them to these growing industries in a fun, safe and inclusive way.”

Youth with a passion or talent for drawing, writing, animation, music or programming are all welcome to this virtual youth camp that will give participants an opportunity to meet and work with peers, create art and tell interactive stories in their own way.

The camp will be offered virtually over two weeks. The first week of the camp will focus on character design, what works and what doesn’t work (exploring favourite games and genres), storytelling, and creating sprites and backgrounds. In the second week, participants will learn about implementing characters and backgrounds into a story with mechanics using a game engine, creating narrative games and/or visual novels, and using a visual game creator.

“New Media Manitoba has a long history of partnership and collaboration with Red River College, and we are happy to see that continue with Queer Coded — our first video game camp for 2SLGBTQIA youth,” says Jonathan Phu Son Lê, Training Manager at New Media Manitoba.

“This camp came from a shared goal to create a safe and inclusive space for students to learn about game development. In addition, both organizations are committed to fostering a greater diversity of voices to create stories and experiences that better reflect who we are as a community. Our sincere hope is that this camp could be that important first step for students in discovering the exciting possibilities of this medium.”

The camp will be taught by professional illustrator and art teacher, Alice RL, a non-binary, transgender, Ojibawe artist who draws inspiration from their experiences and cultural teachings. A graduate of the University of Manitoba’s Fine Arts Program and RRC’s Digital Media Design program, Alice’s range of projects includes game and comic book art, digital and traditional illustration, and graphic design.

“As a member of the 2SLGBTQIA community, I always share a variety of materials to capture a range of perspectives to ensure my students all feel safe and included in the content I am sharing,” says Alice RL. “It’s very important for people to see themselves in whatever information or medium is being presented —from kindergarten right through to high-school and post-secondary, it’s imperative that people from diverse backgrounds are reflected in the success stories we are sharing, and this camp provides a unique and safe opportunity for youth to explore art, technology and their creativity.”

No previous game development experience is required, and participants are encouraged to come with an open mind and a desire to learn, to see what a powerful creative medium video game development can be.

The camp will run from Mon., July 19, to Fri., July 30; the cost to participate is $49. With the goal to make this camp as accessible as possible, participants are encouraged to mention if cost is a barrier when registering so the College can work to find a solution.

Register now, or click to learn more about this camp and others RRC is offering.