Seminar documentation


Helen Kennedy’s ppt

Thanks to everyone who took part in the games research seminar on the 2/12/2013.

The audience on the day (approximately 20 participants) included new and established game studies researchers, students and game developers. Notes from the discussions that took place are posted here under ‘comments’.

The invited speakers on the day were Helen Kennedy (Brighton) and Tanya Krzywinska (Falmouth). There was also an advisory and feedback session for the project ‘Digital Games: Representations of Disability’, Diane Carr (IOE).

Abstracts for the 3 sessions are online here, along with some background reading.

Tanya Krzywinska’s slides are here (above), and Helen Kennedy’s slides (as a PDF), plus a copy of my FROG paper. It covers many of the issues mentioned in my presentation.

2 Responses to “Seminar documentation”

  1. playhouse Says:

    Digital games research seminar. Convened by Diane Carr. 2/12/2014, London Knowledge Lab, IOE, University of London

    Speaker 1: Helen Kennedy. Games and gender
    Speaker 2: Diane Carr. Games and disability
    Speaker 3: Tania Krzywinska. Games research and the humanities

    Speaker 1: Helen W. Kennedy “Please don’t feed the trolls” – Feminist Interventions in Contemporary Games Culture

    Audience discussion with HK, chair Caroline Pelletier

    How do you change norms and what norms are acceptable?
    You cannot just intervene and set up new rules as it generates hostility, but there are communities generating their own rules.
    How to approach these issues without denying the sense of apartness (the ‘magic circle’ of games) that is so important to the experience of play? For some players, trash talk in part of the game.
    Rules, ethics and implications – eg. If somebody is muted, it could mean that they might get blocked out of a gaming setting.
    What has, could or should be done to address this culture in the industry itself? What sort of interventions would be welcome or meaningful, made by whom, and in what form?
    It feels like the problems are multi-layered, and it’s not solely about women’s experience – questions of gender, abuse and marginalization impact on a wide range of players.
    For instance, the discussions that happened at the Difference conference (ie players who identify as queer or as different in various ways, talking about gaming)
    Online gaming communities are addressing this and setting their own rules, ie trash my game play but don’t trash me – this is a small kernel of hope.
    Trolling often seen as a male discourse, but is there any research on woman trolls?
    Perceptions and constructions of ‘the troll’ in these discussions – assumptions about gender and class.
    What of trolls’ own perceptions of ‘trollhood’? Trolling as a skill; as a form of ‘social hacking’?

    Speaker 2: Diane Carr Project Review and Advisory Session for ‘Digital Games: Representations of Disability’

    See the FROG paper for an introduction to issues raised in this project thus far.

    Issues raised and audience discussion
    Science fiction imagery, blurring the borders between the alien and the human; alien bodies and alien technology / human bodies, human technology
    The differences between technical augmentation, and biological augmentation
    ‘Safe’ and ‘dangerous’ knowledge and technologies
    Sharing examples of ‘the abduction trope’ in science fiction/s
    Practical aspects of game analysis and games research (playing games is time consuming!)
    What it means to do politicized work (power, critique, identities, social groups) and issues of disciplinarity in the current climate.
    Support for cultural politics/identity/representation research within game studies as a field.
    Trends in game studies as a field
    The role and perceived value (or lack of value!) of close textual work in game studies.

    Other games I should play ?
    Rogue Legacy, thanks to Douglas Brown.

    X-COM, thanks to John Salisbury

    Speaker 3: Tanya Krzywinska. Games Research and the HumanitiesSee Tanya Krzywinska’s PPT slides.

    Audience discussion with TK, chair Alison Gazzard.

    DiGRA is seen as a less prestigious conference to go to by the gaming community, on the basis of its relationship to humanities and social sciences which have lower status that some other disciplines, so I think that is a major issue for us.
    Recent report on the creative industries in Brighton, linking innovation in the industry with arts and humanities ‘skill sets’ rather than STEM skills – this has come up when there’s questions raised about the value of humanities contributions.
    The mysterious nature of funding. Funders want ‘fireworks’ at the end of a project rather than sober, critical analysis. Funders’ perceptions of ‘academic and industry collaboration’ – what is the role of the academy? What of the diversity of the industry itself? Where will critical perspectives on industry come from?

    Many of us here today have been in the industry, worked with industry in some way, or made games ourselves – but that does not mean that the idea of ‘industry collaboration’ is straightforward – especially if there are assumptions made about things like ‘impact’ and ‘innovation’ and what such research will achieve.

    Coding in schools – there’s a danger of separating design from the arts, but also an opportunity to cross these kinds of boundaries set up by the curriculum; demonstrate the relevance of the arts.

    We have to stop thinking about coding as in the science camp and cut off from the creative camp. We also need to be wary about the arts (visual arts, arts practice) being split off from rest of the humanities.

    Humanities is one of the places you can be quite pluralistic.
    Short term view of education – What is the function of the university in the current environment?

    What about competition within the humanities? When games are studied within more established fields, and academics ‘discover’ games, without managing to discover game studies. They are not just re-inventing the wheel…

    Working in proximity to other fields, experts and the perils of peer review, from peers who do not play/have not heard of game studies.

    Funders are definitely interested in supporting game research – but it is not clear that they know what they are looking for, what they are looking at, or if know where the competence is (so there is scope for certain agendas to be pushed, while others are pushed out the way).

    Research on digital tech for games has seen great funding in Europe – but there is no ‘in’ for humanities.

    Sonia Fizek spoke about her current project work: There is funding to support arts and humanities people working with programmers. This is the kind of work that we are doing. If you teach people technical skills they may replicate things over and over again, but if you teach people to take a critical look at things, then maybe come up with something really interesting. (Question – what is the relationship between you and the programmers?) We are interested in local start-up companies. We are working with programmers – there is a concepts producer managing a team. It’s a dialogue and everyone involved is being creative and contributing ideas.

    The AHRC Knowledge exchange – has creative economy arts researchers- but it is difficult to change to each other’s languages and work with different areas. There is also so little space to reflect on things and things take a long time, it`s time consuming to analyse and reflect on games (even playing them takes ages).

    Need for ongoing reflexive work on game studies as a field that is more than a decade old, and documenting debates within the field.

    In order to support collegiality, to support emerging work, but also to promote the game studies research within the UK over the past decade (to build on this), and to promote the field itself – it would be timely to revisit the idea of establishing a UK chapter of DiGRA.


    […] For more information about the event and the fellowship, games analysed and publications, please email Diane or visit the project blog. Outcomes from the day are presented here. […]

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