Hi everyone! This blog post has two parts. First, an important announcement:
PROCJAM 2019 is happening from November 2nd-10th!
The goal is to Make Something That Makes Something - that could be a videogame with procedural generation in, or maybe an artwork that uses generative systems somehow, or a physical card deck that randomly creates Shakespeare plots - whatever you like, whatever makes you excited to make things. As usual, we encourage you to make it your own by starting early, finishing late, or adapting the times to make it healthier for you. We can't wait to see what you'll make! You can join right now on itch.io here.
The rest of this post isn't about PROCJAM 2019 - it's about PROCJAM 2020, 2021 and all the PROCJAMs that will hopefully come after it. I need your help to keep PROCJAM going long into the future, and to guide it in new and exciting directions. If you think you'd like to be a part of that, in a big way or a small one, please read on.
When I started PROCJAM in 2014 I had lots of plans and things I wanted to do with it, like bringing together different communities, or using academic resources to drive outreach and create resources everyone could use. I had no idea if anyone else would be interested, which is why its growth and the positivity of the community has been such a delight. It also felt like a good way I could pay back a bit. I enjoyed a lot of privileges - a safe academic job, contacts with the press, university resources - and I thought it would be a good way that I could take on some extra work to produce something positive (which isn't to say this was entirely selfless - PROCJAM has obviously benefitted me as well, as part of the cycle of academic CV-building).
As time passed and PROCJAM continued to grow, a couple of things started to worry me. First, while I was trying to take on extra work to create and manage a postive and welcoming space for people, that meant I was the main person making decisions about the event and its direction. It felt like it would be better to let other (especially marginalised) voices have a say in the project. At the same time, PROCJAM was a lot of work for one person, not just organising the jam but also trying out new things like talks days, zine publishing and tutorial commissions. These issues were both significant on their own but they also conflicted with one another: I desperately wanted to ask for help organising the event, but would it be fair to dump a lot of unpaid work onto marginalised voices?
This year, due to some other life factors, I haven't been able to plan a talks day, put out a call for tutorials, or commission an art pack. Our annual zine Seeds will still go ahead, thanks to Jupiter Hadley's tireless work editing, and the jam will happen too of course. The PROCJAM community is wonderful and understanding, and I know that these little things won't stop 2019 being a great jam, or stop us from doing it again in 2020. But it also made me realise that it would be healthier and more reliable to have PROCJAM organised by a bigger team of people; and also that the community probably don't need me on that team any more.
The main reason for writing this post is because I want to stand down as the organiser of PROCJAM, and replace myself with a team of people who collectively organise and decide on the future of event together. This team will be made up of volunteers, and I realise that is asking a lot of you. That's one of the reasons I want to build a small team rather than hand off to one person - so everyone can share the load, and no-one has to try and do it all. Organising PROCJAM also comes with its own benefits - it can look nice on a CV, you get to meet and support some of the most amazing people in the world, and you have a chance to help grow and direct a truly positive community.
As a team, you'll decide how to divide the work up and what needs doing. Some of the major tasks involved in PROCJAM include:
You might have other new ideas for things the jam can do too - in fact, that's exactly what I'm hoping! Keeping the core going - the jam and the Discord - are a top priority, but besides that, my only request is that you do your best to follow the spirit of PROCJAM so far: building a welcoming and safe community, giving space to marginalised voices and diverse skillsets, and helping people with no experience get started in this space.
Adam Summerville talking at PROCJAM 2016 at Falmouth University
We don't need to do all this urgently; there are no deadlines. This will be a long process, and I will be here in the meantime to fill in gaps and help guide things along. I'll continue to try and seek funding where possible, and help arrange things like hosting, but this new team will be the face of the event, and decide where it goes next.
I'm so grateful to everyone for supporting this initiative over the years, and I want to stress that nothing is ending and PROCJAM will always keep going somehow! I'm really excited to start moving this community into a new era.
If you're interested in applying to help organise PROCJAM in the future, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following info:
If you are a member of a marginalised group, or feel you could provide a perspective that is often underrepresented in tech and art spaces, we strongly encourage you to apply! We want the future of PROCJAM to be as diverse as its community, and to do that we need to include everyone's voices in the organisation.
As I said, this will probably be a long process, but it's the first step to guaranteeing a bright, energised and long future for PROCJAM, and that's something to celebrate. PROCJAM has been a huge part of my life for the last half a decade, and it remains the brightest part of my year. I have no doubt that this wonderful community will keep growing and evolving long into the future In the meantime, I'll see you all on November 2nd for this year's jam. Keep making things. And thanks. 💜
Thanks to Alice, Ahmed, Berrak, Emily, Fed, Jessica and Kor for feedback on this.