On May 16, we at Kill Screen are hosting the third annual Two5six conference in Brooklyn, New York, bringing together the best people in games, technology, and culture to have a conversation about the future. Our future. And we want everybody to be invited.
“The world is diverse, and Intel is trying to build products that are going to thrill and delight everyone, no matter where they are,” says Lee Machen, Director of Developer Relations at Intel. “We believe diversity in our workforce and in our industry is critical to being able to do that.”
That’s why, together with Intel, we are announcing the Intel Two5six Scholars program. The goal is to offer opportunities to those less frequently heard but with much to say. We will choose thirty promising applicants from under-represented communities in the field, such as young women or people of color. Successful applicants will be given free tickets to the conference. In addition, scholars will attend a unique day of classes on design and development, allowing them a chance to learn from, and share ideas with, a leader in the industry.
“I want [applicants] to be people who are eager to learn and make a difference,” Machen says, “and to bring with them a variety of fresh perspectives that will in turn inspire the rest of us.”
The half-day session will be a primer on introductory game design. Instructors from the Code Liberation Foundation will walk the class through the creative process, and practical application, of making your own game using Construct 2. The final segment will be a mini game jam to bring your ideas from the page to the program. Afterward, the thirty chosen scholars will attend a dinner with local gaming and tech luminaries, as well as Intel representatives.
“We believe everyone has a story to tell,” says Phoenix Perry, founder of Code Liberation. “This workshop empowers new creators with the skills needed to speak out using games as a platform.”
This past January, during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich gave a keynote speech about the worrying state of diversity in an industry central to how our culture evolves and grows, both in the near- and long-term. “It’s not good enough to say we value diversity,” Krzanich said, “and then have our workplaces and our industry not reflect the full availability and talent pool of women and underrepresented minorities.”
They are practicing what they preach: $300 million has been invested in a new “Diversity in Technology” initiative that hopes to push for the recruitment of new voices. Aspiring applicants can look to the head of the company as inspiration: Renée James, president of Intel and a prime mover for bringing new blood and talent into the industry. By 2020, James aspires for her workforce to more accurately reflect the demographics of the larger population. As a Two5six Scholar, you will represent that hopeful future.
Each year, Two5six has offered a space for people to share ideas, and each year the results surprise. The day starts with curiosity and ends with vibrant, hopeful possibility. What that next morning brings is shaped by those willing to step forward and lead. Or those who listen carefully, realize a new path is needed, and change course.
“Why wouldn’t anyone want to learn more about the intersection between media, gaming and technology?” Machen asks. “We’ll provide the scholars … access to leaders in these areas who I hope will inspire them and show them what a career could look like.”
So: We want to hear from you! All you bedroom game developers or motherboard tinkerers, between-classes coders or ambitious programmers—come join us at Two5six and see what tomorrow looks like. Better yet: You show us.