Video Game Workshops

Skins Video Game Workshop

This intensive, 200-hour workshop begins with traditional storytelling –exploring the legends, histories and dreams of our communities– and proceeds to teach participants how to tell a story in a new way: as a video game. With that foundation in place, the youth then learn important industry-related skills, such as game design, art direction, 3D modeling and animation, sound design, and computer programming. The lessons are taught by a mix of game-industry professionals, Indigenous artists and a core team of senior students from Concordia University’s Computation Arts programme. Additionally, Indigenous mentors lend their considerable expertise as cultural consultants and provide moral support to the participants.

From mythic characters to traditional game mechanics to decolonized values, the Skins games reflect Indigenous teachings while offering youth basic technical skills. The instructors and mentors also refer to various university programs related to the disciplines being taught in the workshop.

Prerequisites: None

Duration: Storytelling Evening + 3 weeks of 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Video Documentation: Skins 1.0 | Skins 2.0 | Skins 4.0

“What inspired me to base the game on the story of the Flying Head was because I didn’t really see any games out there that had our culture.”
— Tehoniehtáthe Delisle, Lead Designer (Participant, Skins 1.0)

“We’ve been translating Native traditional stories into a video game in order to intrigue youngsters to remember the stories. It keeps the stories alive. If interaction will do that, then that’s the avenue we need to take. I think that it’s beneficial to the elders because they have a role in our society of telling the story and it’s the children that are coming up who are the next generation.”
— Towanna Miller, Artist (Participant, Skins 2.0)

Everyone here is super friendly and eager to work, and I haven’t really seen that before. The work ethic here and just the amount of motivation everyone has here is through the roof… I’ve been surprised at how motivated I was.”
— Keanu, College Student (Participant, Skins 5.0)

“It was good that we ran over time with the storytelling because that was the entire reason why we were here, just learning the culture, learning what we were going to make. And it’s kind of rare to just sit down and listen to a kumu, an aunty, or an uncle, just to sit down and talk story, just listen to them.”
— Dwayne, College Student (Participant, Skins 5.0)

  • Skahiòn:hati: Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legends – Best New Media, imagineNATIVE 2013
  • Skins Workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling and Video Game Design – Changemakers Award, Ashoka  2012
  • Otsì:! Rise of the Kanien’kehá:ka Legends – Best New Media, imagineNATIVE 2010
  • Wao Kanaka – Best Digital or Interactive Work, imagineNATIVE 2019
  • Wao Kanaka – Performance Award, IndieCade 2019
  • He Ao Hou – Best Digital or Interactive Work, imagineNATIVE 2018
  • Ienién:te and the Peacemaker’s Wampum – Best New Media, imagineNATIVE 2015
Past Skins Video Game Workshops
  • Dawson College – Pixel Art and Game Design with Bitsy
    • Location: Dawson College
    • Date: February 19th, 21st, 26th and 28th 2024
    • Duration: 4 sessions of 2 hours each
    • Instructors: Nancy Townsend, Vanessa Racine, Caeleigh Lightning, Taylor McArthur
  • KSS – Interactive Storytelling with Twine
    • Location: KSS
    • Date: January 28th, February 2nd and February 15th
    • Duration: 2 sessions of 2hrs each
    • Instructors: Vanessa Racine, Nancy Townsend, Caeleigh Lightning, Taylor McArthur
  • KSS – 7th Gen Character Design
    • Location: Concordia University and KSS
    • Date: October 5th and October 10th
    • Duration: 2 sessions of 2hrs each
    • Instructors: Skawennati Fragnito, Nancy Townsend, Vanessa Racine / Caeleigh Lightning (Training: Bronson Jacque & Taylor McArthur)
  • AbTeC & The Future Imaginary 
    • Location: Dawson College
    • Date: November 27, 2022
    • Duration: 1 session of 2 hours
    • Instructors: Vanessa Racine, Caeleigh Lightning