Tag Archives: academic

July 2017, Melbourne: DiGRA 2017

Website: http://digra2017.com/

3-6 July 2017, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia.

(Text below from the conference website)

DiGRA 2017 will bring together a diverse international community of interdisciplinary researchers engaged in cutting edge research in the field of game studies. DiGRA 2017 is supported by Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University, the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne.

The conference welcomes submissions on a wide range of topics associated with studies of games and play, including, but not limited to:

  • Game cultures
  • Games and other cultural forms
  • Communication in game worlds
  • Gender and games
  • Games as representation
  • Minority groups and games
  • Games and childhood
  • The games industry
  • Independent games
  • Games criticism
  • Gaming in non-leisure settings
  • Game studies in other domains
  • Hybrid and non-digital games
  • History of games
  • Game design
  • eSports and spectatorship
  • Platform studies
  • Game production studies

Further information – including registration information – will be available on an expanded conference website by mid-January.

Submission Types

We welcome a range of contributions to DiGRA 2017. These include full papers, extended abstracts, panel and workshop proposals, and doctoral consortium participation, as well as proposals for events and other activities that fall outside the academic tradition.

Full papers will be peer-reviewed, published on the conference website and published in the conference proceedings available via open-access through the DiGRA digital library.

All other submissions will be reviewed by a panel of track chairs and the conference organisers for suitability for DiGRA 2017. These submissions will be published on the conference website, but will not be included in the conference proceedings published through the DiGRA Library.

April 2017, Tampere: Spectating Play

Website: spectatingplay.com

24-25 April 2017, Game Research Lab, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.

Organised by: gamelab.uta.fi

“Spectating Play is the 13th annual spring seminar organized by University of Tampere Game Research Lab. The seminar welcomes any and all scholarly work on the intersection of audiences and game/play.” More on this as well on the blog of Frans Mäyrä.

As I’ve happily said before, the Game Research Lab at Tampere University are also a friendly group of pro-active researchers; the best conference I have ever attended was their 2007 Gamers in Society seminar.

It’s also rather pleasant to publish this post on the 99th anniversary of Finland’s independence; I think I have a good idea where there will be an excellent party exactly a year from now…

The journal of Digital Culture and Education

I’ve been accepted onto the editorial board of the journal of Digital Culture and Education. This particular online journal:

…is devoted to analysing the impact of digital culture on identity, education, art, society, culture and narrative within social, political, economic, cultural and historical contexts.

They have a nice archive of articles. It’s good – and healthy – to read academic research writing which isn’t just about games, but covers other aspects of online and digital uses. It’s also an Open Access journal, so content within is free to read.

In addition, I am currently:

Previously, I was also a member of the editorial board of Ariadne, specialising in games and gamification in the library and information science sectors.

July 2016, Manchester: Playful Learning

Website: http://conference.playthinklearn.net/blog/

13-15 July 2016, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England.

The conference is being chaired by Mark Langan, Alex Moseley and Nicola Whitton

Call for papers: http://conference.playthinklearn.net/blog/call-for-papers

Playful Learning is pitched at the intersection of learning and play for adults. Playful in approach and outlook, yet underpinned by robust research and working practices, we’ll be providing a space where teachers, researchers and students can play, learn and think together. A space to meet other playful people and be inspired by talks, workshops, activities and events. Based in the heart of Manchester, we’ll also be exploring some of the city’s playful spaces with evening activities to continue the fun and conversations after the formal programme ends.

(I’m on the conference committee and therefore officially endorse this event 🙂 )

April 2016, Tampere: Money and Games

Website: https://gamemoneyseminar.wordpress.com/

18-19 April 2016, Game Research Lab, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.

Organised by: http://gamelab.uta.fi

As I’ve happily said before, the Game Research Lab at Tampere University are also a friendly group of pro-active researchers; the best conference I have ever attended was their 2007 Gamers in Society seminar.

Virtual World Watch

It’s taken a bit of time but the files for the Virtual World Watch (VWW) service are now all back online. The introductory and index page is elsewhere on this website.

Though now a fading memory, VWW took up a chunk of working life for several years towards the end of the last decade. It kicked off when Andy Powell, ex-colleague from UKOLN and then the Director of Research at the Eduserv Foundation, spotted I was spending some time in Second Life, wandering around the various education sites. He got in touch and asked if I’d like to do a report for them on this subject.

Which I did. The response to the report was somewhat unexpected. Lots of academics in UK universities and colleges appeared out of the woodwork and got in touch, some using the report to justify what they were doing to their peers, others using it as leverage to obtain either internal or external funding to continue their research, or to find peers doing similar work, or having similar views, in other UK universities and colleges.

Further stand-alone snapshot reports were commissioned by the Eduserv Foundation. Then, they went full-in and funded a more holistic service – Virtual World Watch – for a few years. As well as the snapshot reports, this included:

  • A bundle of conference presentations, especially in 2009.
  • Podcasts where I interviewed UK academics who were using virtual worlds.
  • Tweets, Facebook postings, the usual social media.
  • Several articles in academic journals and other media; for example [1] [2] and [3].
  • And, of course, collecting data. Lots and lots of lovely data.

Thankfully, we quickly moved away from VWW being solely about the contentious virtual world Second Life, though throughout the life of the service SL remained the predominant virtual world in UK academia.

This was a good time for research into this particular technology; as well as the Eduserv Foundation funding VWW and a variety of other virtual world projects, Jisc also supported several projects across various programmes. There was a lot of activity – at one point every UK university had someone using this particular technology for research or formal/informal learning, with some institutions (more the newer ones) using it across courses and departments, sometimes over several academic years. This led to some spreadsheets containing lots of that lovely data – for example:

VWW snapshot data spreadsheet

…all of the data of which I (thankfully) archived away.

However, the data collection and dissemination was definitely not problem-free. The range of funding for this against for other EdTech research, a dislike of virtual worlds (or anything that looked like a game) in academia, and the (very unhelpful) over-the-top hype in some parts of the media over Second Life contributed to a Marmite-effect, with more than a few vocal academics being entrenched in either near-evangelical advocacy or near-hatred of the technology. Interesting times, though sometimes weary on social media.

The high-point for this specific generation of technology interest, funding, use and discussion in UK academia was probably around the spring and summer of 2009. The keynote at the Jisc RSC Northern conference on virtual worlds in April of that year was especially fun to do – and a big event (side point: even back in 2009, 23 of the 25 speakers at that event were tweeting). The slides from it are probably the best summary to come out of the Virtual World Watch project:

After several years, things were wrapped up with VWW. All of the snapshot reports, plus three other reports I wrote under my own steam, are online and free. Between them they contain a large amount of data, much of it deliberately unedited (and sometimes frank) survey responses. Do use, but please use responsibly, attributing authors and using their text responsibly.

Overall it was an interesting experience, though it feels somewhat unfinished. It’s good to see that quality research has been continuing elsewhere in this field in UK academia (example), though with the significant changes in technology, funding, practice and all manner of other attributes, things seem startlingly different to even just half a decade ago.

Now, deep into 2015, there’s two pieces of contemporary research I’d like to do if or when funding becomes available:

  1. Another snapshot of virtual world use in UK academia, which would also include a comparison of the data to that of the previous snapshot from several years ago. I’ve kept all of the contact and other data from the VWW service, so that’s one starting point.
  2. A clear-headed analysis of the (still) contentious reasons for and against the use of virtual worlds in education, possibly involving interviews with pro- and anti- academics from back then, and now.

I’ll see what happens (and if you are a potential funder then please do get in touch); it would be interesting, and hopefully useful to the education technology community, to be able to provide an enlightened and unbiased retrospective.

October 2015, Ann Arbor: Gender and Gaming

Website: http://www.lib.umich.edu/events/university-michigan-gender-gaming-symposium-2015

24 October 2015, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

In the past few years, issues of gender have become prominent in the discussion around gaming, both as relates to the games themselves and in the larger gaming culture. This symposium aims to critically engage these ongoing narratives, explore how gaming culture can impact broader social spheres, and indicate how gender relations in gaming can be improved going forward through two keynote talks, a series of roundtable discussions, a panel discussion of student gamers, and a game gallery of significant texts. Attendees can expect to participate heavily throughout the day and leave with a deeper understanding of game culture, its social significance, and what its future might entail.

Keynote Speakers:

  • Rabindra (Robby) Ratan, assistant professor, Department of Media & Information, Michigan State University. “Avatars for Empowerment: A research trajectory aimed toward reducing social disparity in education through avatar use”
  • Adrienne Shaw, assistant professor, Department of Media Studies and Production, Temple University. “Representation Matters: Reframing arguments for diversity in digital games”

Sponsored by: University of Michigan Library Computer & Video Game Archive; University of Michigan Library Diversity Council; University of Michigan Institute for Humanities; Ann Arbor District Library.