Speaking of gender issues in gaming at SR

Local blogger Emmy Zettergren wrote a piece on SVT Debatt, highlighting the problematic conditions of women in the games industry. Being a regular part of Radio Gotland (reviewing games) and of course a Gute, the radio gave her a lot of play the day before.

The producers then suggested they follow up by talking to us, see how the university deals with the male dominance and sexism in the games industry. Being the only one among us silly enough to put my phone number in public view, they called me. 🙂

I’m a bit uncomfortable representing us on these issues. Partly because – sincerely allied to the cause as I may be – I have a chronic fear of (characteristically) putting my foot firmly in mouth and end up alienating the very people I do not want to loose.

Partly because I feel that, if someone out there actually cares about gender issues and our education, they should know our department have valued and competent staff that’s (at the very least biologically) not part of the problem.

So I asked Ylva to speak for us, brought along Adam Mayes – our outspoken feminist subject responsible, and I came along simply because I’ve asked two friends to step out of bed at six in the morning, it didn’t feel right to not suffer with them. 😛

Ylva, Adam and reporter Helena HĂ„kansson in her studio at Sveriges Radio Gotland

We prepared a bunch of data like;

  • Swedish industry average 10% women
  • Our educations average 18%
  • 20% of our teaching staff is female (incl. 1 program coordinator & 2 PHDs)
  • We regularly problematize these issues in our classes and assignments
  • Our education cover diverse topics like Games and Human Rights and Serious Games
  • A bunch of examples showing that our students projects are indeed pretty far from the male-oriented clichĂ©s of our industry

The conversation ended up not really being about our education, but still a decent enough interview. Not least because it spawned a lot of reflection and discussion among us, both before and after the airing.

Ever since #1ReasonWhy and Clarisse Thorn making forays into gaming culture and the harassment of Sarkeesian over her (AMAZING!) project Tropes Vs. Women – ever since all those things, I’ve been thinking about making an entire Gotland Game Conference on feminism as related to our culture, our industry and our medium.

As an institution with huge possibility to influence young minds, I believe we have an obligation to speak up when we see problematic patterns and attitudes.

I want to kick start in all our students the (rather difficult) growth process that I’ve personally been going through the last couple of years. I honestly don’t know when I began identifying as a feminist, but I know it wouldn’t have happened without role models. People whom I respect and whose opinion carries weight with me. People patient (and brave!) enough to put their insights, experience and stories out there.

This is not something we can do ourselves. We are proud of the work we do, but in these issues we are equally part of the problem. So I want to invite all of these extremely articulate people and give them an audience and a space to communicate. Give them an opportunity to educate, and engage and spawn allies from within. I want us to uncover the painfully obsolete societal structures that influences each and everyone of us, and stop contributing to the problem.

Amen.

GAME Students on Swedish Radio


Mari Winarve called us last week and asked if we wanted to appear on her radio show to talk about games, game development and our education. Out staff consists of mostly unpleasant trolls, so we did what we always do when presenting the education; sent our students. 😀

“Maris Cafe” is a radio talk show in a cafe format. Every Friday morning they invite a bunch of guest and some entertainers, sit them down for fika and let Mari walk around among the crowd, do interviews and try out new things. Over the past five years or so Mari has been driving forest machines, fired rifles, tried line dancing etc. etc. Today, she wanted to know more about games.

We sent her 15 of our people, and they did really, really well.

My favorite part is when Polgar get’s the predictable question about violence in games and their effect on players. He returns fire effortlessly; smacks them over the head with Gotland crime novels – the hugely popular genre of murder mystery being (over-) produced here. He simultaneously managed to present a sane game, a sensible and mature vision of game design and the craft of building games AND mentioned “Gotland Game Conference, June” twice. Well played, dear sir. Well played indeed.

Here’s some photos and information from today’s episode. And here’s the recorded stream: (swedish only)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Media Coverage & Link Love

The three best things about school are June, July, and August.

Summer has started and everyone is fading away. So let’s take a moment and review all of the awesome things that have been written and recorded and published about this years conference. Apologizes for the mixed languages here – we do not discriminate when it comes to link love. 🙂

Dealspwn: Sweden’s Hidden Gaming Powerhouse

All great games have to start somewhere, and Gotland University gives their students a truly great start. Nestled in a disarmingly picturesque Swedish island, this small yet breathtakingly innovative game design course grounds applicants in the theory, even the ethics, of how to create the next generation of games – but practically applies this knowledge from the get-go.

PowerGamer: Den ljusa framtiden

Högskolan pÄ Gotland har sedan Är 2001 utbildat och slussat ut Sveriges representanter i spelvÀrlden och dess forna elever hittar ni idag pÄ DICE, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Lionhead och Massive.
[…]

Under tre, med möjlighet för fyra Är sÄ gÄr eleverna under utbildningen GAME igenom alla de utmaningar som de efter sin examen att möta ute i den faktiska industrin och stÀlls inför precis samma motgÄngar, problem och eventuellt segrar som deras fÀrdigutbildade kollegor tacklar varje dag.
[…]

Tillsammans sÄ lyser lÀrarna och eleverna pÄ GAME starkare Àn solen. Kontrasten som uppstÄr mellan Visbys tysta och lugna leverne och den sprudlande och levande miljön som huserar inne i Wisby Strand nÀr GGC 2012 sparkats igÄng Àr chockerande.

SVT Östnytt

RiksutstÀllningar visits Gotland GAME Conference

PowerGamer Video-montage

I en fet bonanza speciale har vi samlat nÄgra av de intryck som Joakim Sjöberg fick sig under sin vistelse pÄ Gotland Game Conference 2012!

Gotland University in Finals @ Swedish Game Awards!

SGA is the nation wide student-only games competition. The jury just announced the chosen finalists and Gotland University ended up with no less than THREE games nominated! First year project Clapper is nominated for Best Innovation. Post Mortem and Secrets of Grindea are both nominated for Best Game!

GL Gotland!

Have you published anything about the Gotland Game Conference 2012? Drop a comment and share the love. 🙂

Gotland Game Conference 2012 coverage

Dealspwn: Sweden’s Hidden Gaming Powerhouse

All great games have to start somewhere, and Gotland University gives their students a truly great start. Nestled in a disarmingly picturesque Swedish island, this small yet breathtakingly innovative game design course grounds applicants in the theory, even the ethics, of how to create the next generation of games – but practically applies this knowledge from the get-go.

PowerGamer: Den ljusa framtiden

Högskolan pÄ Gotland har sedan Är 2001 utbildat och slussat ut Sveriges representanter i spelvÀrlden och dess forna elever hittar ni idag pÄ DICE, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Lionhead och Massive.
[…]

Under tre, med möjlighet för fyra Är sÄ gÄr eleverna under utbildningen GAME igenom alla de utmaningar som de efter sin examen att möta ute i den faktiska industrin och stÀlls inför precis samma motgÄngar, problem och eventuellt segrar som deras fÀrdigutbildade kollegor tacklar varje dag.
[…]

Tillsammans sÄ lyser lÀrarna och eleverna pÄ GAME starkare Àn solen. Kontrasten som uppstÄr mellan Visbys tysta och lugna leverne och den sprudlande och levande miljön som huserar inne i Wisby Strand nÀr GGC 2012 sparkats igÄng Àr chockerande.

SVT Östnytt

RiksutstÀllningar visits Gotland GAME Conference

PowerGamer Video-montage

I en fet bonanza speciale har vi samlat nÄgra av de intryck som Joakim Sjöberg fick sig under sin vistelse pÄ Gotland Game Conference 2012!