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

 

Historical Games Network website launched

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot by Rockstar Games

The Historical Games Network has just launched an exciting new website! The Network is convened by Adam Chapman, Esther Wright, Iain Donald, and Nick Webber. Here’s the official blurb:

The Historical Games Network brings together academics, game makers and other cultural workers to explore the relationship between history and games of all kinds. We aim to engage a diversity of perspectives, to support – and offer a platform to – new voices in the field, and to speak to a broad audience, both professional and public.

You can find the Network at historicalgames.net and follow along on Twitter at @HistoryGamesNet.

Red Dead Redemption 2 screenshot by Rockstar Games

CfP: British Digital Games Research Association Conference 2021: Politics and Games

Videogames are intrinsically political texts, even when political messages are not explicitly presented, but there is still uncertainty on how game studies can take that into account. Within our field of research, since the earliest debates and publications, we have been interrogating interactive texts for their political messages, and aiming to establish a method for making sense of how videogames exist in the world. The early work of art historian Julian Stallabrass, for example, was already identifying in videogames a representation of economic systems, which inevitably reflects on the ‘real life’ economy in which the game has been produced and is played (Stallabrass, 1993; Giddings, 2018).

This year British DiGRA conference explores politics in games from various angles and approaches from design to analysis and from impact evaluations to philosophical issues. The focus is not just on games as designed artefacts but also includes, among other aspects, the production and circulation of games, forms of public discourse around games and how they are made. Submissions on all kinds of games from board games through LARPs to videogames are welcome.

The conference invites submissions in topics including, but not limited to:    

  • Civic engagement and activism
  • Digital misinformation proliferation
  • Loss of confidence in democracy
  • Fake News
  • Stretching of truth
  • Accountability
  • Parody and disinformation
  • Promoting engagement with voters
  • Knowledge and awareness of politics
  • Activism
  • Politics and art
  • Politics in online communities
  • Politics of videogame industry
  • Political uses of gamification

The conference is fully online using Zoom and consists of paper sessions of three hours spread over the course of three days and workshop sessions of four hours the day before.

Selected papers from the conference will be invited to a special issue of ToDiGRA journal to be published in 2022.

Full Call for Papers here

Paper submission guidelines

The papers will be selected for presentation based on extended abstracts of 500-1000 words (plus references). Abstracts should be delivered in PDF format. Please use 12 pt Times New Roman, double-spaced, for your text. Guidelines for submitting full papers and 10 minute prerecorded presentations will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

Our aim is that all participants can familiarise themselves with the papers in advance and the participants get access to all submitted full papers one week before the conference. The maximum length for a full paper is 5000 words (plus references). The prerecorded 10 minute seminar presentations should encourage discussion, instead of repeating the information presented in the papers. After the presentation the designated commentator and the audience will have 20 minutes to discuss the paper online. 

Workshop proposal submission guidelines

The workshops will be selected based on proposals of maximum 1000 words (plus references). The proposals should include a description of the workshop focus and format, technical and online venue requirements, maximum and minimum number of participants, and how the workshop participants are selected (e.g. drop-in session, position paper submission). 

Submissions and any questions regarding the conference should be sent to: bdigra21@lincoln.ac.uk.

Maximum of 15 papers and 2 workshop proposals will be accepted to the conference.

Important dates

Abstract and workshop proposal deadline: April 4, 2021

Notification of acceptance: April 12, 2021

Full Paper deadline: July 12, 2021

Conference dates: Workshops July 20, paper sessions July 21 – 23, 2021

Venue

British DiGRA 2020 Conference is organised by University of Lincoln in collaboration with University of Liverpool, Brunel University London, and British Digital Games Research Association (http://bdigra.org.uk/). The conference is hosted by University of Lincoln Games Research Network. More information at the conference web-site http://lncn.ac/bdigra21.

Call for Papers – Video Games and Religion: Apocalypse and Utopia

Video Games and Religion: Apocalypse and Utopia: Thursday 19 November 2020

Call for Papers: Submission Deadline: Friday 30 October 2020

With the growth of scholarly interest in the religious and theological tropes encountered in video games, there is a developing awareness of the special valence of apocalypticism, millenarianism, and associated themes in video game narratives and gameplay. This virtual symposium invites academic explorations of the role of apocalypse and utopia in video games. We welcome discussions of a wide-range of approaches to ultimacy and cosmic destiny in video games. Topics might include, but are not limited to, analysis of narratives of apocalypse and utopia, eschatology broadly conceived, themes of final revelation deriving from religious scriptures and traditions, allusion to Edenic origins and Kingdom of God conclusions to history, epochal accounts of cosmic dissolution and regeneration, messiahs, antichrists and their cognates.

Academics working within these themes are invited to propose papers as the basis for discussion within the symposium. We encourage presentation of early-stage and speculative discussion points as well as more developed material. The symposium will take place virtually/online.

The symposium will take place online on Thursday 19 November 2020.

Paper proposals with a 300-word abstract and details of academic affiliation should be submitted to the organizers, Prof. James Crossley (St Mary’s University, Twickenham) and Dr. Alastair Lockhart (University of Cambridge), at conference@censamm.org by Friday 30 October 2020.

There is no charge for participation.

The symposium website is here: https://censamm.org/conferences/video-games-and-religion

The CfP in .pdf format is available at https://censamm.org/assets/files/Video-games-cfp.pdf

Play a free RPG for science!

PhD students at the University of Glasgow have made a mobile game and are looking for more players. The game is called RPGLite and is available on iOS and Android. More information and links to the store pages are available at rpglite.github.io.

RPGLite

Download it, play against your friends, climb the leaderboard, earn medals, all that nonsense, whilst aiding a PhD student’s research. If you have any questions feel free to email w.kavanagh.1@research.gla.ac.uk.

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