There were a lot of thank-you's said during the Umeå 2008 game symposium. First, HUMlab for hosting it and the department of culture and media and the faculty of arts at Umeå University for funding towards it. Then to the HUMlab staff who are really exeptional in their friendly approach to everything from PR to remembering the last practical details and making sure people find their way.
But most of all the participants should thank each other. Each presentation was somehow unique, and contributed to an increase in common knowledge. Each discussion was different, and as it went on we still started to see a net of interconnections, from the first lecture to the last workshop. If I was to have wished for anything, it would be that we could have had an even broader scope, because after three days together we had all learned a lot about the usefullness of a lot more than our own approach to knowledge and understanding.
Perhaps Mia Consalvo summed up the most important aspect of the symposium though, over dinner when all had gone home. "I have been writing about this stuff," she said, thoughtfully, "all alone and isolated among the faculty where I work. Then I come here and I find that this is what is being discussed. I am not crazy! I am not alone!"
No, we weren't alone. Not during the lectures, not at the meals, not in the cabin with the booze and the one shower (sharing one shower with 13 other people really drives it home that you are not alone), and particularly not while chasing each other around in the lazer-tag zone. The silence as all left was overwhelming, and Umeå feels even more quiet than before, despite all the left-over bottles collected after to be stored in my kitchen cabinet. Or perhaps because of it.
But you all came here and made it special. Thank you.