Event – Games, Access, Disability

Computer Games, Access, Disability
London Knowledge Lab, Institute of Education
London Games Research Group
London Games Fringe

Monday 27th October 2008 at the London Knowledge Lab, from 4 till 6 pm.

RSVP to Monica Chan (m.chan@ioe.ac.uk)
Questions? email the convener, Diane (d.carr@ioe.ac.uk)

Focus: Access and design issues in relation to games, gaming and online cultures. Presentations will be informal, and time allocated for discussion.


Martin Wright (GameLab London at London Metropolitan University)
Nick Weldin (www.rixcentre.org), and Tinker it! (www.tinker.it)
Siobhan Thomas, Inclusive New Media Project at University of East London
David Squire (DESQ Ltd)
Diane Carr, link to project stuff (IOE, University of London)

UPDATE Thanks to everyone who came along, and to the presenters. Here’s a photo from the event, taken during Nick Weldin’s presentation.

During Nick Weldin's talk

Audience and Nick Weldin

Abstracts and speakers

Martin Wright – Director of GameLab at London Metropolitan. View GameLab’s portfolio here at http://www.gamelablondon.com/. Gamelab London provide services in interaction design, gaming for education, interactive DVD, broadcast media, inclusive content for Blind, Deaf and other special needs.

Nick WeldinI have worked for many years with people with learning difficulties in a wide range of settings. For 10 years I have worked with people with profound learning difficulties using multimedia and computer technology. I work to research and develop cheap and open source alternatives to expensive adaptive technology and use lots of game technology in this work. I currently work at the Rix Centre (www.rixcentre.org), and Tinker it! (www.tinker.it).

Siobhan Thomas – Inclusive New Media Attracting a wider audience is very much on the minds of game publishers and developers, and accessibility invariably is part and parcel of this dialogue. However, while game consoles such as the Wii have highlighted advantages of games for people with physical impairments, there is an often overlooked and tremendously undertapped market segment playing games: people with learning disabilities. This short talk highlights the roles games can play in equality and inclusion and chronicles experiences during Inclusive New Media Design, a project which encourages designers to to produce media accessible to individuals with learning disabilities.

Siobhán Thomas is a research fellow at the University of East London (project link) and is a lecturer in the Game Cultures program at London South Bank University. She is interested in the educational potential of games and the applications of pervasive and ubiquitous computing and gaming to learning.

David Squire – Plan B
Plan B is a prototype online puzzle game, playable solely by sound. The game is aimed at visually impaired teenagers, partly to give them an enjoyable and challenging gaming experience but also to help develop their thinking and logic skills and to hook up with the burgeoning blind gaming community. Plan B has been conceived and developed by DESQ (www.desq.co.uk) and funded by BBC Scotland Learning http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/learning The prototype game has grown out of research DESQ conducted for a Special Education Needs project for the ill-fated BBC jam initiative. Plan B will be available in October 2008. David Squire, Creative Director of DESQ will demo the game and explain the rationale, remit and potential future for Plan B.

David Squire is Creative Director of DESQ Ltd, a UK based learning games and e-learning developer. David founded DESQ in 1998 after spending 10 years working under various guises in community arts, media and further education. He oversees a team of producers creating award winning e-learning materials and game-based learning applications for clients such as QIA, National Learning Network (NLN), Oxford University Press, Channel 4 and the BBC. David is an honorary Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, looking at theories of game design and game-based learning. He is a member of advisory groups for BBC and PACT and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Diane Carr – Constructing deafness as disability in virtual worlds
During 2007 an integrated voice feature was introduced to Second Life. This talk will focus on the protests of deaf-identified users, and the reception of such protest by the wider SL community. While agreeing that work on issues of access, interface, usability and design is of vital importance, the presenter will draw on Disability Studies literature to argue that we also need to consider social and cultural factors when considering disability and online worlds – including the rhetorical and discursive construction of disability by those identifying as non-disabled.

Diane Carr is a research fellow at the Institute of Education who was studying learning and teaching in online worlds and Second Life during 2007-2008. Notes made during this period are online here.

This event is part of the London Games Fringe, a festival of alternative gaming events at the end of October 2008, organised by artists, academics, gamers, game developers, educators and creative professionals from a wide range of different media: www.londongamesfringe.com

Links and resources

If you are looking for more material on games, access and disability, refer to the IGDA’s SIG at http://www.igda.org/wiki/Game_Accessibility_SIG

Or view the resources at http://www.game-accessibility.com/

There are some interesting project listed here at Furtherfield

Wonder Wac at the Wac Performing Arts and Media College

Multimedia in Westminster and Project X at the Paddington Arts (information)

See Tera Kirk’s articles at gamecritics.com – follow this link.


2 Responses to “Event – Games, Access, Disability”

  1. Things are getting messy… « Says:

    […] there’s the stuff here, listed on this page, mostly but not all about Deaf Studies, and this page about the recent event, Games, Access, Disability – which has some resources and references at the […]

  2. playhouse Says:

    Event in December 2008…

    Disability and the Internet: Access, Mediation, Representation
    Friday 5th December 2008
    Liverpool John Moores University

    The Cultural Disability Studies Research Network in association with Liverpool John Moores University’s MA in Communication and Internet Studies ‘Critical Internet Studies’ Seminar Series presents a free event hosted and funded by Liverpool John Moores University.

    Launching the CDSRN’s Theorising Disability in the Media Study Day Series this event is the first of a series of study days providing a forum for focused critical analysis and debate around disability, representation and the mass media.

    Providing an overview of research at the intersection of disability studies and internet studies this event will assess the challenges and advantages of the convergence of scholarly and activist perspectives in internet production, practice and theory. Confirmed Speakers Include:

    Dr. Helen Kennedy – Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds
    Prof. Ben Light – IS, Organisations and Society Research Centre and School of Media, Music and Performance, University of Salford
    Dr. Peter Wheeler – Business School, Edge Hill University

    Panel presentations include: Disability and Social Networking * Teaching Disability and the Internet * Autism and On-Line Advocacy * Embodied Health Movements and On-Line Campaigning

    Programme details available at http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/MCA/91707.htm
    To register for this event please contact info@cdsrn.org.uk. Due to limited places early registration is recommended. Cultural Disability Studies Research Network http://www.cdsrn.org.uk

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