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Karen Sikkema

Karen Sikkema

Karen is experience designer, escape room designer and gamification designer for cultural heritage. She specializes in game-based learning and developed the Game-based Learning Design Wheel, which we at Living Story work with in our designs.
After working as a consultant and innovation manager, she joined Living Story 12 years ago and gained an enormous amount of experience in entrepreneurship, game design and gamification. In addition to Living Story, she was the founder, CEO and business developer of Tempeest, in which location-based games for cultural heritage were developed. She works as a guest lecturer at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten (school of arts) in Utrecht and at Politecnico in Milan, and is the driving force behind the Winter Garden Experience where the Escape Room ELIXIR is designed in combination with an atmospheric tea garden.

For me, working on games and game-based learning is about creating meaning in the world by connecting people to themselves, to others and to great locations, contributing to sense of belonging, connection and respect for yourself and others.

Karen joined Living Story 14 years ago. Her days consist of managing the team, staying up-to-date with the progress of our designers, production leaders and project managers for each project, translating the wishes of the client and the learning goals for an experience into a concrete design, the giving training and workshops about our Game Based Learning Design Wheel, speaking at network meetings and conferences… you guessed it: Karen is actually not enough with 24 hours a day.

What she loves most is designing new experiences and trying to translate the learning goals that need to be experienced as well as possible into a great game that motivates people to learn that. “The best moment is when a few months later the participants are playing your experience with gleaming lights in their eyes and afterwards, full of amazement, tell them how much they have learned from it”.

She loves Escape Rooms. “In a good Escape Room you are immersed in a story and everything fits together. The time pressure combined with having to solve puzzles together with your team makes me lose myself completely in the game. I often play Escape Rooms with a number of different teams of people, always a great day!