We are delighted to announce that we will be hosting our first conference on Wednesday 19th January 2022. The theme of the conference is identity – how games shape identity, how gamers define themselves, how place and space in games can build a sense of identity, and how marginalised identities are depicted in games and can challenge or reinforce dominant power structures.

Our first conference will be an online event with presentations and round tables. The conference is being supported by the University of Sunderland. It is a free event and you can register for tickets here.

Keynote speaker

Dr. Rob Gallagher (Manchester Metropolitan University) Rob Gallaher’s research specialises in examining the relationship between video games and identity, with focus on personal data and posthuman subjectivity, and life narrative games. He is author of Videogames, Identity, and Digital Subjectivity,( Routledge 2019)

“In right-wing NPC memes gaming jargon is deployed to articulate a reactionary critique of liberal democracy, one that contends only some identities should be recognised as valid and only some subjects as fully human; in ludobiographical games by creators like Cassie McQuater and Tabitha Nikolai materials poached from retro videogames and 90s gaming magazines are repurposed in the service of more radical and progressive explorations of identity and subjectivity. Putting these forms in dialogue, this keynote considers how terms, images, concepts and characters drawn from gaming culture are being used to contest and reformulate liberal conceptions of personhood and politics.”

Confirmed speakers

Dr. Poppy Wilde (Birmingham University School of Media) will be presenting research on posthuman subjectivity at play. Wilde is an expert on the use of avatars and the relationship they have to the posthuman. She has published multiple academic articles on the posthuman, from death and resurrection in the online game to the lived experience of gaming.

Daz Skubich is one of the driving forces behind the popular streaming channel Game Assist, a channel dedicated to creating video essays on accessibility and liberation in video games. Their work poses new questions and considerations for academics about our approaches to video game analysis.

Javier Rayón is The Director for the upcoming Dream of Darkness game which explores the true history of Mexico before colonialism whitewashed the nation’s heritage. A leading content creator in the games industry, Rayón also supports the efforts of academics to address history ethically through video games.

Benjamin Carpenter is a visiting Fellow in the School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communications Study at the University of East Anglia. He completed his PhD in 2021, writing on philosophical critiques and solutions to the problems of contemporary identity politics. Benjamin’s current research interests are in contemporary online media and identity, with a particular interest in bringing these into dialogue with phenomenology and existentialism.

Adam Jerrett is a lecturer and PhD student in the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth. As a games studies researcher, he is particularly interested in pervasive games, and the way games can break out of their “magic circles” to truly affect the lives of their players. His ongoing PhD work explores values like empathy, identity and reflection in order to create games that have personal and social impact.

Stephanie Farnsworth is a PhD candidate at the University of Sunderland. Her research focuses on examining the mutants of Mass Effect, as well as the wider themes of biological manipulation and exploitation in science fiction. Farnsworth is a co-founder of MultiPlay.

Imo Kaufman is a Midlands 4 Cities Researcher in collaboration with the British Games Institute Videogame History: Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies University of Nottingham

Dr Ayisi is an early-stage academic researcher and a member of the faculty of the Communication Studies Department of the University of Ghana. Prior to joining the University of Ghana, she taught in several higher education institutions both in the United Kingdom and in Ghana. Her research interests are in the fields of gender and new media, popular culture and digital cultures. Her focus is on issues around identity and participatory cultures and online activism.

Eyram is the co-founder and CEO of Leti Arts. As an experienced game developer, Eyram believes that Africa can make a salient contribution to the world of game development and preserve culture through this. He has pioneered developing the gaming industry in Africa with Leti Arts. Eyram believes preserving cultural diversity through gaming and entertainment is very important and aims to prove this by creating world-class games and comics using African talent. Eyram is an experienced game developer who designs and implements games in most programming languages based on the platform. He’s won several awards for his work in the African video game development space, is a frequent speaker at game conferences globally and is an author of the book Uncompromising Passion documenting his Journey as an African video game developer.

Lisa Meek completed her MA in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Sunderland in 2020. She completed a dissertation researching the creation of space and place in the videogame Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Nintendo EPD, 2020). She hopes to complete a PhD which will continue this research and develop the use of phenomenological geography within media studies, as well as contribute to ongoing discussions surrounding videogame theory.

Book your free tickets now.