Welcome to the British DiGRA site!

Welcome, folks, to the home of British DiGRA online.

British DiGRA is the organisation formerly known as DiGRA UK. You can find out a little bit more about us, and our parent organisation, DiGRA, on the About page.

This site is intended to act as a focal point for British DiGRA’s activities and to provide a platform for folks working with or studying games in the UK to connect with others. To this end, we invite you to contact us if you are running a UK-based, games-related event and would like us to post details here on the site.  Likewise, if you have a relevant call for papers or other such call to action, get in touch!

We are open to the idea of other folks running British DiGRA-endorsed events – please do get in touch if you’d like to discuss such a possibility. However, please note that any event run or endorsed by British DiGRA must adhere to our Inclusivity Policy. Inclusivity is incredibly important to us, and it is essential that any activity we undertake – online or in the physical world – is as inclusive, open and welcoming as possible.

These details are covered in the Inclusivity Policy, but they’re worth highlighting here:

If you feel that someone is making you feel uncomfortable, if you see that someone else is being made to feel unsafe, or if you have any other concerns, please contact the organizers of the event. Or, concerns may be raised via email by contacting the Chair of British DiGRA (neveah@gmail.com) or Vice Chair (Matthew.Barr@glasgow.ac.uk).

We’d also like to draw your attention to the British DiGRA mailing list and our Facebook page. These are also great mechanisms for engaging with our community!

Finally, if you’d like to make any suggestions as to what you think we should be doing as an organisation, or there’s something you feel is missing from this site, please do get in touch.

The British DiGRA Board

 

SPELUNKING 2020: GAMES, CULTURES, SOCIETIES

https://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/about/department/2019/spelunking-2020/

Moving into a new decade, this symposium aims to consider the variety of forms in which games impact on both culture and society, and the diverse narratives which they create, develop and propagate. Abstracts are welcome from members of any discipline which look to engage in critical enquiry of games, gamers and their culture, based on themes including:

  • Games industries
  • Value of gaming in society
  • Gaming as labour
  • Critical readings of games
  • Histories of gaming
  • Studies of gamers
  • Theoretical approaches
  • Pedagogy and gaming
  • Economies of play/games
  • Social stratification and games
  • Women, trans and non-binary identities
  • LGBTQ identities in gaming
  • Mobile gaming
  • Analog gaming
  • Live Action Roleplay Gaming

Date of conference: Wednesday 22nd July 2020

Time of conference: From 12:00

Conference venue: ENV/005, Environment Building, Campus West, University of York, UK

Abstracts of no longer than 200 words, accompanied by a 50-word biography, should be submitted to matt.coward@york.ac.uk by no later than 31 March 2020. Accepted papers will be 20 minutes in length, with an additional ten minutes allotted for Q&A.

GameSYM – CFP

Call For Papers

The School of Media, Communication and Sociology and LIAS at the University of Leicester, funded by Enurture, and in partnership with The Diana Award, Staffordshire University Digital Institute LondonESL UK and Esports Insider will host a two-day symposium – GAMESYM – on the 14th and 15th of May 2020 at the Digital Institute in London.

This two-day event is aimed at showcasing research and promoting discussion which explores how digital environments, specifically live-streaming video games and esports, are changing the nature of the risks that children and young people face in their everyday digital lives.

The symposium, which brings together leading academic researchers, young gamers, specialised practitioners, and industry leaders, invites research papers from a range of disciplines such as sociology, education, media and communication, internet studies, feminist theory, human geography, psychology. While all papers should concern gaming, streaming, esports, and young people, topics of interest will include, but will not be limited to:

• How gaming, livestreaming and esports supports or hinders children and young people in the fabric of their daily life;

• Young people’s experiences of intimacy, belonging, exclusion, or hate in online gaming spaces;

• The mental health risks, challenges, or opportunities involved with gaming, live-streaming and esports;

• How live-streaming and esports create or shape employment opportunities for young people;

• Public discourses concerning young people, gaming, live-streaming and/or esports;

• Industry perspectives on young gamers and streamers (such as talent exploitation, ethical practice, pathways to employment, etc.). These submissions will form the basis of industry round-table sessions to be held across the symposium.

Call for papers has been extended until 21st of February. Abstracts of 200 words should be sent to gamesym2019@gmail.com. Successful applicants will be notified by email by March 6th 2020.

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Sonia Livingstone is Professor of Social Psychology in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics (LSE). She has a particular interest in the opportunities and risks of digital media use in the everyday lives of children and young people. Sonia has advised the UK government, European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Europe and other national and international organisations on children’s rights, risks and safety in the digital age. Sonia is currently leading the project Global Kids Online (with UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti and EU Kids Online), and Children’s Data and Privacy Online (funded by the Information Commissioner’s Office) and co-directing The Nurture Network.

Sonia’s Profile

Dr Emma Witkowski is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Design and the co-director of the Playable Media Lab at RMIT University, in Melbourne, Australia. Emma’s research explores esports cultures as networked media sports, networked careers in digital games, research methods for networked play, livestreaming & LAN tournaments from grassroots to mega-LANs, and high performance networked team practices.

Emma’s Profile

BCMCR Talks 2020 – Fans and Mods

BCMCR is the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research at Birmingham City University – They have two talks coming up in the near future

Game Cultures: Fans and Mods – 4th March– 16:00 – 17:30

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/game-cultures-fans-and-mods-tickets-94796074611

Dr. Esther MacCallum-Stewart (Staffordshire University) ‘On a scale of 1-5, what floor are you on?’ Emergence, Fun and Transformative Play by Fans, for Fans

This talk presents the early stages of research about the ways in which people create games to play in order to diffuse negative or boring situations. These games may not have a point, may be transient, impractical and serve no purpose outside their immediate context. Nevertheless, they persist.

Dr. Adam Chapman

Modding for/by the People: Games Culture and the Constitution of the Authentic 

Academic attention to historical games has seen a significant increase in the past decade. However, whilst historical game studies has paid a significant amount of time considering the games themselves, less time has been spent considering the ways in which history is also constituted by game cultures and player communities. This paper argues that discussions of historical games must be partly grounded in the communities of practice and the (often unspoken) discourses of games culture. This idea is explored by examining a distinct phenomenon: historical ‘modding’, i.e. the modification of games with (or for) historical settings. Such modding often means a negotiation between the ‘official’ version of history offered by games development companies/publishers and the iterative, often corrective and revisionist, modifications made by organic modding communities. 

BCMCR Talks 2020 – Games of Ethics and Politics

BCMCR is the Birmingham Centre for Media & Cultural Research at Birmingham City University – They have two talks coming up in the near future

Game Cultures: Games of Ethics and Politics – 26th February  – 16:00 – 17:30

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/game-cultures-games-of-ethics-and-politics-tickets-94795695477

Meghan Dennis A Model of Looting Incentivization in Video-Games

The relationship between video-game players and the environments they inhabit through play is a complicated one, shaped by internal and external factors. Decisions made during the development process as to the inclusion of cultural landscapes and objects of cultural patrimony, and the treatment of both through ethical and unethical positioning within a video-game’s narrative and through world-building choices, impact how a player manipulates elements of potentially unfamiliar or foreign cultures. There is nowhere this is more visible in video-games than through the incentivization of looting and artifact theft.

John Sear (Independent Game Designer) Blurring the lines: Where does the theatre begin?

John Sear, designer of real-world games, will talk about the world of Immersive Theatre. This will include a post mortem of his recent game A Moment Of Madness, a fascinating mix of immersive theatre and escape room in which players take part in a covert stakeout, attempting to undercover evidence of political scandal. John reflects on the practicalities of designing experiences for real-life spaces, and working with actors to make his games come to life.

Labour Organizing in Games and The Future of Work

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/labour-organizing-in-games-and-the-future-of-work-tickets-93486156611

Fri, March 27, 2020 – 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM GMT

Games labour has been a topic of sustained interest in this hybrid tech/creative sector, and with increasing globalization of production, transnational teams, and decentralized platform-based work conditions, the future of gameswork only becomes a more pressing issue. At the same time, the emerging global labour movement in games spearheaded by Game Workers Unite as well as efforts to form unions in other tech fields indicate the rise of a potential new wave of collective organizing in a henceforth highly individualized creative field. What are the challenges faced in labour action in games, what lessons can be learned for other forms of tech work, and what are the implications for more inclusive and sustainable futures?

To address these questions, please join us for a series of roundtable discussions tackling the future of work in creative tech work. Labour activists and critical scholars will grapple with pernicious challenges and powerful opportunities including intersectional approaches to labour organizing, dealing with decentralized and globalized contexts of production, and the material realities of coordinating immaterial workers. Through these conversations, we aim to set out an agenda for collaboration and collective action for fairer and more just work in games specifically and the digital industries more broadly.

The event schedule is below. Please note that the event will be recorded. Attendees with specific dietary requirements should contact the organizer.

12:00-1:00- Lunch and informal introductions

1:00-1:10- Opening remarks

1:10-2:10- Intersectional Approaches to Games Work and Labour Organizing

Chair: Alison Harvey

Roundtable participants: Kevin Agwaze, Rebecca Davnall, Marijam Didžgalvytė, Helen Kennedy

2:10-2:25- Tea break

2:25-3:25- Global Views on Organizing Decentralized Workers

Chair: Ed Vollans

Roundtable participants: Ergin Bulut, Daniel Joseph, Aphra Kerr, Anna Ozimek

3:25-3:40- Tea break

3:40-4:40- Material Concerns in the Organization of Immaterial Labour

Chair: Oz Gore

Roundtable participants: Tom Brock, Paolo Ruffino, Jamie Woodcock

4:40-5:00- Closing remarks by Alison Harvey and Oz Gore

5:00-6:00- Refreshments

This event is supported by the CAMEo Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies, University of Leicester.

LIVE-ACTION ROLEPLAYING GAMES: MONSTERS, PROPS AND PHILOSOPHY

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020
  • 16:00  17:00
  • Room 307, Geoffrey Manton Building, Manchester Metropolitan UniversityRosamond Street WestManchester, England, M15United Kingdom

In this seminar Dr Chloé Germaine Buckley will explore the philosophy of games and the potential of play to disrupt players’ common-sense perspective of the world. Various “turns” in modern philosophy, including materialist and speculative philosophies, suggest that humans need to think beyond an anthropocentric perspective. Instead of seeing matter and nature as passive resources for human conception, we need to recognise nonhuman vitality and agency.

Various analogue forms of gaming, especially live-action roleplaying games, produce experiences for players that accord with this ethical task. LARP might be a form of training, one which requires a willingness to “play the fool”, that chastens the destructive human will to mastery. In this seminar, Dr Germaine Buckley will challenge accounts of play that characterise it as a humanist mode, that place human agency front and centre: humans construct and deconstruct the world through play. In contrast, this seminar will suggest that LARP asks its players to account for the unhuman nature of reality, to consider that fact that it is the world that makes us.

https://www.manchestergamestudies.org/events/2020/2/15/games-and-philosophy

Ludocapitalism: structure, culture, agents

A one-day symposium with international scholars discussing their research on the intersection of games and capitalism.

About this Event

A one-day symposium, hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University, on Friday morning, February 28, that brings together scholars from across the UK and Europe to present their current research on the topic of “ludocapitalism” and the relationship between structure, culture and the agents that move within it.

Inspired by the Alison Harvey and Seth Giddings’ 2018 special issue in Games and Culture on ludic economies, this symposium will be a place to see hear about cutting edge research into the ways in games and play are increasingly entangled with capitalism and how governments, corporations, and workers navigate this “playful” regime of accumulation.

This is the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of events that look deeper into the ways digital technology is changing production, consumption, and society in general.

Confirmed speakers as follows:

  • Seth Giddings (University of Southampton)
  • Karen Gregory (University of Edinburgh)
  • Alison Harvey (University of Leicester)
  • Joshua Jarrett (Staffordshire University)
  • Matti Karhulahti (University of Jyvaskyla)
  • Maria O’Brian (Dublin City University)
  • Anna Ozimek (Tallinn University)
  • Paolo Ruffino (University of Liverpool)
  • Jamie Woodcock (Open University)
  • Oli Sotamaa (University of Tampere)

This event was organized by Dr. Tom Brock and Dr. Daniel Joseph in the department of Sociology, and funded by RCASS.

Link to Tickets here – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ludocapitalism-structure-culture-agents-tickets-91823633961?ref=estw

Mike Bithell in Conversation + Lightning Talks

Come along to this BAFTA Scotland and Scottish Game Developers Association event with BAFTA nominated game director, Mike Bithell.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mike-bithell-in-conversation-lightning-talks-tickets-77283682575 t

About this Event

Find out more about storytelling and game direction from a true expert in his field. Mike will reflect on his experience of indie development and the trials and tribulations of bringing his most recent title, John Wick Hex, to fruition.

John Wick Hex

Mike Bithell is a British game director, best known for his breakout indie hit, Thomas Was Alone. A story-driven platform puzzle game, Thomas Was Alone won a BAFTA for its star, Danny Wallace. Next, Mike released Volume, a commercially and critically successful action stealth game. Subsurface Circular and Quarantine Circular followed, homages to old school text adventures. Mike just released his next game, John Wick Hex, a videogame instalment in the popular action franchise, to a positive response.

Mike Bithell

Mike will be in conversation with SGDA Trustee and BAFTA Scotland Committee Member, Dr Matthew Barr, following a series of short lightning talks from local game makers. The event will be close with an opportunity for informal networking.

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mike-bithell-in-conversation-lightning-talks-tickets-77283682575

VR, Immersion and Narrative event at University of Glasgow

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/immaterial-vr-immersion-and-narrative-tickets-72369351679

IM/MATERIAL EVENT #3: VR, IMMERSION, AND NARRATIVE

4 October 2019, 14:00-17:00

Sir Alwyn Williams Building, University of Glasgow

Video games have long been used to tell stories, and the medium offers unique affordances for doing so. From the emergent narratives of titles such as Journey (thatgamecompany, 2012) and No Man’s Sky (Hello Games, 2016) to the meticulously crafted stories of Firewatch (Campo Santo, 2016) and What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow, 2017), games are often said to offer immersive and interactive storytelling opportunities. However, games also present unique challenges for storytellers, challenges that relate to these very same properties.

Players, fully immersed in a game world with which they may interact at will, are empowered to wrest authorial control from the game’s designers and writers. The author of a novel may assume that the reader will encounter the story in the order intended, but this is not the case in a game where the player may explore the world at will. The director of a film may frame a camera shot to ensure that key narrative beats are granted the necessary on-screen prominence, but this is not a given where the player enjoys control over the in-game camera.

PlayStation London Studio’s Blood & Truth

For VR games, many of these issues are exacerbated, and further challenges and concerns begin to emerge. How immersive an experience can a VR game offer if the player character’s movement is limited to teleporting from one spot to another? Does current-generation hardware offer sufficient fidelity when it comes to interacting with the game world? Should we be concerned about the accessibility of VR, particularly as the technology begins to be used more widely in education?

These are some of the questions we aim to tackle here.

SPEAKERS

Jon King (Sony, London Studio – Blood & Truth)

Rhoda Ellis (University of Dundee)

Chris McLaughlin (Moon Mode)

Mal Abbas (Biome Collective)

MODERATOR

Matthew Barr (University of Glasgow, British DiGRA)

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/immaterial-vr-immersion-and-narrative-tickets-72369351679

Ludic Literature: The Converging Interests of Writing, Games and Play

University of Glasgow: 16th-17th July

ludicliterature.blog

It is our pleasure to invite your paper submissions to Ludic Literature: The Converging Interests of Writing, Games and Play. The two-day symposium is funded by the Scottish Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and will be held at the University of Glasgow on the 16th-17th of July.

Ludic Literature’s purpose is to collide perspectives from contemporary literary writers and theorists; game studies theorists and video game developers to explore the essentially ludic element of constructing texts, be they games, literary productions or other works of art. By exposing the often-hidden process of textual construction, the conference seeks to present the playfulness at the heart of producing meaning-making texts. As such, we wish to bring those who create and interpret these texts together, giving equal voice to academic and industry concerns to enable cross-institutional collaborations and partnerships that blur the boundaries of writing, games and play. To begin the conversation, day one provides a selection of academic papers, finishing with a roundtable discussion between writers and game developers on the converging interests of their work. These interactions will inspire day two’s event: A ‘literature’ jam where an assetless video game – provided in collaboration with Abertay, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities – will be transformed into experimental video games by the symposium’s participants using assets provided by the organising committee. We welcome ten-minute papers that are encouraged to approach, but are not limited to, the following topics:

– Analysis of literary games or ludic literature

– Intersectionality through the converging interests of writing, games and play

– The playful nature of semiotic choices in video game and literary textual construction

– Methods for reckoning with subversive literary and video game textual choices

– Methods for analysing ‘shifting’ texts or textual practices (early access video games, public textual editing)

– The (dis)similarities between textual creation in video game and literary forms

– The (dis)similarities between indie/AAA game development and writing

– Uncovering the processes and cultures of writing and game development for qualitative analysis

– Accounts and critiques of literary and video game collaborations

– The ontological and phenomenological implications for literary and video game textual creation when figured as play

– Presentations of creative works invested in the converging interests of writing, games and play

Guide for submissions

Please submit a 100 word abstract detailing the subject of your paper and a 50 word bio to ludicliterature@gmail.com (please submit as one word document and not as a PDF).

Deadline for submissions: July 5th 2019

Attendance

If you would like to attend Ludic Literature, please confirm your interest by following the link: https://ludicliterature.eventbrite.co.uk  and downloading or printing your ticket. Attendance is free and there are provisions for SGSAH affiliated postgraduate students to reimburse their travel expenses.

For enquiries regarding the programme, please contact ludicliterature@gmail.com and visit ludicliterature.blog for more details.

Organising Committee

Alexander Tarvet (Abertay University)

Francis Butterworth-Parr (University of Glasgow)

Zack Abrams (University of Edinburgh)

We look forward to seeing you at Ludic Literature.