Big news: I’m talking at this year’s dConstruct. I gone to dConstruct for many times over the years, so it’s a real privilege to speak.

More to the point, it’s a privilege to speak as part of that line-up. Especially, you know, James Burke. It should be a great day out.

I thought I’d finally try to draw a line through a section of my interests and practice over the past few years, and pull them together – all the bots, jokes, games, strange pieces of code that don’t do very much, stranger pieces of code that do – into a single thread. Which is how I came to the topic, something I care a great deal about:

Making Friends: on toys and toy making

Toys are not idle knick-knacks: they allow us to explore otherwise impossible terrain; fire the imagination; provide sparks for structured play. They do not just entertain and delight; they stimulate and inspire. And always, they remind us of the value – and values – to be found in abstract play.

Toymaking is not an idle habit. Toys are a fertile ground for creators to work in. They offer a playful space to experiment and explore. They are a safe ground to experiment with new techniques, skills, or ideas. Though they emerge from no particular purpose, they expose purpose and meaning through their making. Toymaking ranges from making realistic simulations of life to producing highly abstract playthings. And everyone who makes things – out of paper, wood, metal, plastic, or code – has something to gain from making them.

Trying to draw a thread through what, it turns out, has been a lifetime first shaped by toymaking, and then spent making toys in idle moments, Tom will take in (amongst other things) woodwork, Markov chains, state-machines and fiddle-sticks, to examine the values of toys and toymaking to 21st-century creators.

It should be good. I’m already a bit nervous. See you in Brighton in September.