On Tuesday 19th October, Mel and Andra from Produced Moon went along to YMCA to deliver a game workshop. The workshop was part of the Tinderbox Lab youth programme of games & creative tech workshops, currently running as a Scotland wide game jam which anyone can submit their game to.
We met and created with nine young game designers, exploring VR, music making and digital game creation. We played a fishing game, painted scenes in 360, threw around our oddballs to create some music, and made some pixel art games in bitsy.
Games ranged from an impossible escape room to a game lost in a smiley face. We loved being there, making and playing together, and big thanks to YMCA for hosting us!
Woo, we’re so excited that our weekly Saturday morning Games Club is back and registration is open now!
The Games Club has two bits of exciting news:
- For this next term we’ll be hanging out and making games at Duncan Place:
📍 Duncan Place, Leith, Edinburgh
- The Games Club is now hybrid which means you can join in both in-person or online!
At the Games Club (for ages 10-16) we play, research and make games together, as well as design our own artwork, audio & code needed for them! We use different forms of technology to make games, but we also use traditional methods such as hand-drawn art, board game making, clay-sculpting, crafting with recycled objects, and more. Along the way we may also explore other types of creative technology such as virtual reality (VR), electronics & circuit-building, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and 3D printing!
Everyone is welcome to get involved, and no game design or programming experience is necessary. You can join us whether you are brand new to gaming or if you play & make your own games already!
Find out more and sign-up here or below, or get in touch with us at email@example.com with any questions!
Thank you so much to the games designers who’ve joined us at our Pop-up Games Jams at The Wee Hub.
Over just a few hours, we’ve made a mix of board, card, and digital games! We absolutely loved all of the creativity and unique ideas.
We’re pleased to say we have another free drop-in games-making workshop coming up on Sunday 3rd September at The Wee Hub.
Find out more and sign-up here, or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
The latest Room to Play exhibition has had a couple of excellent outings over the past couple months!
A big thank you to both Hidden Door and Inspace who in June & July both hosted this amazing interactive audiovisual installation, designed by 12 artists from a range of disciplines including musicians, sound designers, visual & projection artists, filmmakers, lighting designers, and performance artists.
Over several months the group came together to experiment with technology in their creative approaches to celebrate the power of play, and collaborate on a new audiovisual exhibition of playful, nature-inspired sculptures.
We had an amazing Games and Music Jam as part of Holiday Events for Young Carers at Mac Arts in Galashiels, with Where’s The One and Action for Children. So much great music, art, and games design was made – under the watchful eye of our friendly mascot here! Thanks to everyone who got involved.
You can play the games made here:
This is the last week of our show with just 3 shows left to go this Thu-Sat, and it is totally sold out!
Huge thank you to everyone who has come along to see us so far and who have booked tickets to our shows this week, we can’t wait to play to you all again!
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Made in Scotland for including us in their showcase, Edinburgh Libraries for letting us use this incredible space, our wonderful collaborators Jellyman’s Daughter, Housekind, Probably Edible, Culture Clan, and Hannah McCooke a poet at Craigmillar Library who worked with us to create a unique piece for the libraries.
We’d also like to thank everyone who has helped to support our musical instrument library campaign by donating their instruments, cash donations, or just helping to spread the word.
Click the button below to help support our musical instrument libraries campaign.
Tinderbox tutors have been providing 1-1 sessions with the pupils of Howdenhall school, in both game design & creative music making!
The game design sessions involved both physical game design, such as making a card game, and also using a variety of game design softwares including Construct 3, Twine, & Bitsy.
The music making sessions involved writing lyrics with rap as a primary focus, & using music making software such a Launchpad, Medly, & Garage Band.
Participants were encouraged to bring their own life experiences and creative ideas into all aspects of the work.
Check out all their games and music here:
• Jimmy’s Adventure: https://tinderbox-lab.itch.io/
• Shakira’s Lane: https://tinderbox-lab.itch.io/
• Three Minutes to Safety: https://tinderbox-lab.itch.io/
• The Forest: https://tinderbox-lab.itch.io/
• ¯_(ツ)_¯: https://tinderbox-lab.itch.io/
Check out a few quotes from the team:
“I worked on the first half of this project exploring game design and interactive storytelling with two students from Howdenhall. The games took us on some wild adventures, from a forest full of speaking animals, to a jungle and desert separated by a river that seemed impossible to cross. Thanks to the students for our wonderful sessions, full of inventiveness and creativity. I had a fantastic time.” – Mel
“It is incredible to think that these workshops have had such a positive impact on the students. By
providing a safe and supportive environment for creative expression, I have seen them grow in
confidence and really start to push themselves beyond their comfort zones. It is such a privilege to
be a part of this project and I can’t wait to see what more the students can achieve in the future.” – Josh
As part of the Tinderbox Orchestra show at Edinburgh Central Library at this years Edinburgh Fringe Festival, we are campaigning to get more musical instruments into public libraries across Scotland.
Click the button below to find out more, or to donate to the instrument library.
We are very excited to announce that our new single ‘Tribes’ with local rapper Thomas Murray aka. Probably Edible will be released on Friday 30th June 2023!
The track is a powerful combination of rap, heavy guitars, and orchestra instrumentation, reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine. We can’t wait for you to hear it!
Click the button below to listen to ‘Tribes’.
We had a fantastic time working with amazing YMI Borders Tutors on a Traditional Scottish Hip Hop training day. The idea came when Sara Alakus who is newly in post as YMI Creative Learning Officer in the Borders got in touch to ask about Tinderbox helping organise a Hip Hop project in a Borders primary school.
Sara explained that she was really keen to get some Hip Hop into the work that they are doing in the borders but was aware that it wasn’t exactly the genre of choice for the current tutors on the team. When she mentioned that the team are quite strong on Trad music Jed remembered a project he had seen recently at the Highland YMI day in Inverness. Jack Hughes and …. had been running a project that took a fiddle tune and used it as a basis of a track for writing rap.
The basic idea of the project was to put a Hip Hop beat under a traditional Scottish tune, teach a class to play the harmony chords and have the class write rap or spoken word to perform over it.
Jed asked Sara if she could go back to the team and ask if there was a suitable Borders tune that has a decent story associated with it that we could use as a subject for writing rap or spoken word about.
The team came back with the perfect tune, Tam Lin. It’s an epic borders ballad and with a cracking tune.
For the training we spent the morning working with tutors on techniques for helping pupils write rap and planning the afternoon session. In the afternoon we went to deliver our project in Newtown Primary School.
The whole thing went to plan with the pupils getting totally into the story and writing some brilliant words. They joined in on percussion, tuned percussion, keyboards and Ukeleles. We finished the day with a full performance of the finished piece. Check out the video below.
Everyone had an absolute blast!
Room to Play was designed by Abby Carter, Ink Asher Hemp, Antony Lucchesi, Jessica McIntosh, Shawn Mark Nayar, Kenneth Nuelan, Chandi Petro, Mark Sandford, Saffron Slater, Lingli Wang, Maria Cecilie Wrang-Rasmussen and Zxy Dust, with Boris Allenou and Luci Holland.
Our Saturday Games Club is currently in full swing with only two sessions to go (no session on June 3rd)! We’re excited to show what the club has been working on, but for now check out last term’s game and check out this blog about it from Lead Tutor Mel!
“Last term our Saturday Games Club met for five sessions from Feb to March, on Saturday mornings between 11am and 12.30pm, in the Tinderbox Lab space as part of The Wee Hub (Ocean Terminal). This term was full of electronics, fish, 3D printing and underwater worlds. We continued working on our digital game Ruins of the Deep, adding new characters, obstacles and game mechanics. We also began to explore adding new physical elements to this game, creating a scavenger hunt-style challenge that took you out of the game space, into the real world, and back into the game again.
To create this scavenger hunt challenge, we played a scavenger hunt, we explored electronics, including makey makeys (where we made some fruit into keyboards), and we learnt how to use a 3D printer. Each session was brimming with ideas, passion and creativity, as groups worked on digital game design, visual design, and physical game design, always fuelled by biscuits, oranges and glasses of squash.
Over the term we developed an adapted version of Ruins of the Deep, with a new level which invites you into an installation in the physical world. Our final session was a celebration where we played the game together, exploring the digital world designed and coded by the group, and exploring a physical installation too, to find hidden 3D printed coins and copper tape buttons.
You can play our game here…
And find out more/register for the current Games Clubs here!
Mel (Lead Tutor)”
Tinderbox Orchestra kick started the year with a gig & open mic session at central music library, launching the ‘We Make Music’ instrument libraries initiative! The orchestra filled the library with music and awe, and opened a space for the audience and other local musicians to get up play, jam, and share some songs. There was some beautiful poems and solo, a cappella singers from the library, cool and intense punk-rock from some young people from our Tuesday Hub/Sparks courses, and impromptu jams and singer/songwriters – a great start to the instrument library!
If you would like to borrow a musical instrument you can visit any of the following libraries: Central Music, Moredun, Wester Hailes, Craigmillar, Drumbrae, & Muirhouse!
Or, if you would like to donate an instrument, feel free to contact these libraries to arrange a drop-off 🎷
One of the great things about having a weekly workshop in RHCYP is that we have the opportunity to work with young people throughout their stay. Rhys met Kieran when he was 16 years old and he had never written a song before. Kieran was in for a long stay, which ended up being around 6 months, on and off, and had his guitar with him for the duration. Through the weekly workshops and lessons, he quickly started to write songs and perform for the nurses who visited him. Fast forward to now, a year later, Kieran has continued to partake in Tinderbox workshops, has written an album’s worth of material, performed 2 of his songs live with the Tinderbox Orchestra and performed at 4 concerts.
“Meeting Rhys was a breath of fresh air. I had my guitar in the hospital and when Rhys came in with his, we immediately started jamming. Rhys taught me a few new songs and gave me some good advice about writing my own music. I played my guitar more than ever during my hospital stays, sometimes for more than 6 hours a day so my technique improved at a fast pace!” – Kieran
We would like to say a huge thank you to our hospitals team Rhys, Claire, Shea, and Jamie for the wonderful work they do with the children & young people there, and to Edinburgh Children’s Hospitals Charity for having us as part of their Arts Programme all year.
Tinderbox SPARKS is an alternative youth orchestra for young people aged S1- S6 who are Grade 1 and above on ANY instrument.
Last term, Tinderbox SPARKS teamed up with Dynamic Earth to improvise, compose and perform a piece of music for Dynamic Earth’s new Summer Show at the Planetarium!
It was a 6 week long project that ran on Monday nights throughout May and June and besides from being SO MUCH fun also gave us the chance to play together as a big band and create our own piece of music- something a lot of the group had never done before!
We kicked off the project with everyone coming together and having a tour of dynamic earth. WHICH WAS SO COOL(!) We went into the planetarium and were shown the Spring planetarium show along with the video that we would be writing our piece of music for. (Created by the amazing Ali from Dynamic Earth)
The theme of our composition was the Sun and pictures taken from a telescope that showed the sun in different states with different colourings.
It truly was an AMAZING 6 weeks and we can’t wait to be back at Dynamic Earth again for Tinderbox SPARKS round two of making more original music together!
Claire Doherty – Lead Tutor
In August 2022, we started a Music Project for 11–18-year-old Ukrainian
refugees at Milton Campus, Edinburgh college.
The project consisted of 9 guitar sessions over the period of one month. The project was focused on guitar, but also included 5 drum clinics and flexibility to teach more instruments.
The group of young people we got involved with are coming from a Ukrainian orphanage supported by the Scottish charity “Dnipro Kids Appeal”. The charity helped them to get to Scotland from their city “Dnipropetrovsk”, after the war in Ukraine started. We were aware that these young people have been in traumatic situations way before the war started, so we took extra care in our teaching and youth work approach.
The attendance was great with almost 20 kids interested in attending the lessons more or less regularly. The young people were split into groups of a maximum of 5 people according to their past experience. There were complete beginners and quite advanced players who have attended music courses in Ukraine. The lessons covered various concepts and the young people were welcome to request certain topics or songs to be learnt. The lessons were thought in Ukrainian; however, English terminology knowledge was encouraged, and the material provided was written in both Ukrainian and English to facilitate their later transition into school and to help them with English.
During the first week of the project, we assessed each participant’s abilities on guitar and settled on certain topics and goals for the term. Tinderbox also pupil each participant with a guitar to practice, both electric and acoustic depending on their preference. Although the project lasted one month, the guitars were available to them for two months to encourage practice and self-study afterwards. The young people were very involved in the lessons and had questions and the will to learn certain songs and techniques. The tutor Alina gave them guitar tablatures and scores for a few songs and each pupil was free to learn which one they preferred and then play it in the next lessons for the group, if they felt comfortable doing so. A run-down over the essentials on guitar was also offered to all the pupils, to make sure there were no gaps in knowledge before going forwards. A similar approach was taken by the drums tutor who assessed the pupils abilities with drumming techniques and decided on the content of his next cliniques. There were two to three people in their drums group more or less regularly.
The last week of the lessons was focused on clearing any gaps or doubts about what was covered during the term. The musical repertoire learnt over the term was also consolidated so that the pupils could perform it at their “Ukrainian Independence Day Celebration Exhibition”. A small private concert was organized by their community in the halls of Edinburgh College. This offered an amazing occasion to show off the knowledge and skills that they gained over the past month. On the last lesson, the tutor made sure to offer direction and support for the pupils’ self-study after the end of the project. The students expressed their enjoyment for the project and even wrote cards with a personalized thank you note.
Overall, the project was a success and offered the refugees a creative escape from their recent traumatic events. Their musicality was also developed and maintained thanks to the availability of guitars and drums to practice on. Moreover, some students had the opportunity to explore both electric and acoustic guitars and changed their mind about the complete “separation” of the classical and contemporary approach on the instrument. For example, some classical guitarists were not engaging with electric guitars or the use of plectrum in the first lesson considering it was something that did not relate to their musical experience. At the end of the lesson, after seeing some of their peers playing they requested to have an electric guitar even if they already had their own classic guitar. The tutor was pleased to see that the group of young people got more united, and everyone’s musical experience was enriched.
A few weeks after the project’s end, the tutor Alina was offered to play a concert for Ukrainian refugees in Stirling. The participants were encouraged to join in and take the opportunity to perform in front of a bigger and new audience. Three of the participants agreed to perform, this really benefited their confidence and musicality on their instruments. We are looking forward to being able to provide more music lessons for Ukrainian young people to support them in a moment of need and make sure that their passion for music is encouraged.
By Alina Levanova
Edinburgh Fringe – the biggest arts festival in the world! The city is filled with 10s of 1000s of different performers, and it is the perfect opportunity for performers to showcase themselves and perform to international audiences.
We thought about what our show would look like and how long a run we thought we could manage. In true Tinderbox style, we decided to GO FOR IT and decided on a 13 show run over the first three weeks of August with 10 different collaborators and a catalogue of brand new compositions. We were lucky enough that our friends at the Pianodrome were taking over the Old Royal High for the summer (including the fringe) and gave us the opportunity to take over the Grand Hall – a room once intended to be the debating chamber for the Scottish Parliament.
Our collaborators for the fringe were a huge mix of artists that we have worked with before, members of the collective who have their own music projects and some brand new collaborations too.
We had Chinese alternative folk-punk artist Song Yuzhe in the opening weekend. Followed Trad-inspired indie folk singer ‘Housekind’, Edinburgh based psychedelic rock band ‘Duke Duncan and the Hurricanes’, Electro-pop Artist PINLIGHT and Indie singer songwriter Brave Little Note. And in the final week, we finished things off alt- folk duo Jellyman’s Daughter, rap and poetry collective ‘ Culture Clan’ and improvisational trio (and also Pianodrome’s creative directors) S!nk.
We were also joined with drummers and puppeteers from Kathputli Colony an extraordinary community of traditional artists in Delhi that we met and collaborated with online through a project called The Samata Sessions which you can read more about here.
After lots of work from our marketing team (Somya and Leo – you wonderfully talented humans!) and selling the show to EVERYONE we knew- it was SHOWTIME.
I can really put into words adequately, the feeling I had on the opening day of our show. ‘WAS THIS A GOOD IDEA?’, ‘ARE PEOPLE GOING TO COME?’ ‘HAVE WE REHEARSED ENOUGH’? I wasn’t sure at all. However, I did know that I was surrounded by incredible musicians who had worked really hard to create an exciting and unique showcase of wonderful music. And even if we had a small audience or made a few mistakes- it wouldn’t REALLY matter because we were doing something exciting and new AND we were getting to do it together.
The doors were open and the audience started piling in, I kept waiting for the queue to die down but it didn’t and very quickly the room filled up. Our first show and an audience of 130 people came along to support us. The music started and the energy in the room was electric. The set flew by and what felt like a minute later was the end of our first show and the audience were on their feet to meet us with a standing ovation. I looked around the room in amazement as pure pride and joy waved over me. We had done it! The first show was a success.
From then on, our show was met with standing ovations and sold-out crowds. Friends, family, colleagues, young people from our youth projects and their families all came to support along with new audiences- people who had seen us busking during the day or people who had read about us or seen us play at a festival over the summer. It was exhausting and a huge amount of work but more importantly, it was inspiring, exciting and also gave us this unique opportunity to hang out together all month- socialising, making music and having FUN.
A friend of mine who came to see the show said ‘I just kept crying because I’ve never seen so many people on stage performing together who just look like they all love it and each other so much’ and that’s exactly what it was like. I think about it constantly- how lucky I am that I get to stand on stage and perform such amazing music with such a wonderful group of people.