Leamington Spa, of all places, has quietly become one of the UK Game Industry’s biggest hubs. How? And why do we as Changemaker choose to establish a new school for games and tech in the far far north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle? In Nordreisa there are approximately 5 000 inhabitants, no university, many young people leaving after the gymnasium. Seemingly hopelessly remote – or? What’s going on in the far far South in Dunedin, New Zealand? Why move there?
Geography does not matter anymore. Games are born international. And so is the access to education. You don’t have to live in San Francisco to work at Apple or in Stockholm to work at Spotify. You can live in Leamington Spa or teach students the latest within tech and games North of the Arctic Circle.
The map is being rewritten as we speak. New and totally unexpected places are popping up as new epicentres outside the big cities. The age of Digitalisation is changing our idea of what is the centre and what is the ’periphery’. The normal geographically restrains do not necessarily apply in a digital world.
We are observing a growing interest in unique locations, and a desire, if you so will, to leave the bigger cities and look for more personalised experiences outside the urban spaces. The attitude of the moden restless creator (the student, the learner) is more about combining good skiing, surfing, or breath-taking nature with education, job, and living a life tailored to both your professional and personal needs.
There is a need to be an active part in your local community – and at the same time be connected to the surrounding world. The city of Vilnius, in Lithuania, has built a real time ”portal” to another city (Lublin, Poland) to help people get connected. Is´s like the movie Stargate actually, connecting planets. Cyberspace can connect people, and maybe also whole communities, cities. And maybe now cities, more represent themselves rather than the countries they happen to be in. Again changing the ideas of borders and nationalities.
“Humanity is facing many potentially deadly challenges; be it social polarisation, climate change or economic issues. However, if we look closely, it’s not a lack of brilliant scientists, activists, leaders, knowledge or technology causing these challenges. It’s tribalism, a lack of empathy and a narrow perception of the world, which is often limited to our national borders,” says Benediktas Gylys, one of the initiators of the portal idea.
We will need to connect and re-connect to different parts of the world to stay curious, be emphatic and human.
The north of Norway offers a unique combination of good living conditions, untouched nature, international learning environments and an ecosystem of young tech companies. Leamington Spa offers active support from the communicipal and gives you the Jaguar factory as a neighbour – really helpful if you produce racing games. Dunedin offers stunning surroundings and you can be a part of Futuregames at the same time. Where will the next hot spot be?
It had nothing to do with Covid19 – but Covid speeded up our understanding of digital solutions; not just to solve the problems in front of us, but to combine the best of the digital world with the necessity of the physical meeting.
We are facing a whole new level of flexibility in how we understand and shape learning. How to combine learning on site, on-line, blended/flipped, building your own education-on-demand and new co-created life long learning situations.
A term that is being used more often is “hybrid learning”. Finding the right mix for each individual out of all the possibilities in learning; no matter if they are offline or online. Somewhere there, online/onsite/endless learning combinations will be the starting point of a new learning revolution.
We don’t quit now – nobody does actually. But for us the learning journey starts in Nordreisa; under the dancing Northern lights. And it starts in Boden, where we have gone from zero to ten educations in a few years, being responsible for bringing people to Boden and starting families and making a living there. We see education as an engine for regional development, attracting talents and building on the location. It starts with a vision to connect people in new ways.
In this Magazine we try to explore around these themes. Upsides/downsides of the digital revolution. The need for physical places and meeting other people in real life. Why do we need more hubs? Maybe you can find or develop a red thread in the stories we give to you? Is there a common understanding of what is needed to develop/revitalise a location? What are your demands if you should move to a new place?
To me, education, access to learning, should be like running water. Everywhere, easy to access for everybody, follow the stream, tap up what and when and where you need it. Drink up.
Location is everything, location is nothing.
By: Tom Løyche, CEO Changemaker Educations