These courses focus on the applied use of analog role-playing games as vehicles for personal and social change, whether facilitated in-person or in online environments. The courses are online, half-time, and freestanding. Anyone with a Bachelor’s degree can apply for the courses and take them from anywhere in the world.
Transformative Game Design 2 (Implementation Focus)
Cultivating Transformational Communities
Ideally, our students plan to work or are employed in helping professions, such as educators, therapists, social workers, community leaders, coaches, camp counselors, spiritual guides, etc. We especially welcome students to apply who have some background in role-playing games as designers, facilitators, and/or participants.
The Game Educators’ Summit is a two-day gathering of people teaching subjects in higher education that are relevant for games as artifacts and lived culture, particularly focusing on game design, art and animation, game programming, storytelling and narrative design, and the management of game projects. It happens in real life, on Gotland, May 24-25, right before the main part of Gotland Games Conference.
From specific questions around teaching and being a teacher in this field, we also want to address the big questions, such as: what can we as game educators contribute to society and education at large? What is the value of Game literacy?
Our goal is to use these two days to exchange experiences around the challenges, joys, and lessons learnt of teaching “Games Stuff.”
Topics for presentations include but are not limited to:
Mad Teacher Dungeon:
Experiments with ways of teaching, e.g. how to organize team work, guide students through difficult concepts, facilitate self-organization, prompt critical approaches, expand their horizons, foster creativity and problem solving, fostering growth mindset – you get the drift.
Curriculum creating, redesign and program building – challenges, strategies, wins? And how do we get to a PhD school in games?
Tales from the Crypt of Bureaucracy:
do you have any stories and useful strategies worth sharing on how to navigate administrative and bureaucratic hurdles to facilitate a thriving games program?
Surfing the Turf:
how do you deal with the multidisciplinary aspects of game development?
Playing Well Together:
How have you handled team issues?
Do you have valuable lessons learnt from industry collaborations connected to teaching and / or student thesis work?
Are people coming to you saying: “hey, games are fun, can you make a game for us? We have no budget.” How do you handle this? What fruitful collaborations have you had and why were they fruitful? What would you never do again?
How do you connect with / engage your academic environment? Where do you “sit” at your University and how is your subject viewed by others? Are there any challenges and if so, how have you dealt with them?
OTHER: if you have something you want to share, but it just doesn’t fit in any of the above, but it relates to being a game educator in some way, shape or form, submit it. We will look at it and see what we can do!
Consider that your abstracts should not exceed 1000 words and be clearly structured around:
What is the context of the game education you teach in? (This can be really short – 1-2 sentences – unless there is a reason to expand on this)
Issue that is being addressed – what is your precise topic that you want to share something about?
What are the lessons learnt? (if there are no lessons, but rather struggles you are facing, have a look at the “Howling for Pack Support” submission category below!)
What are the key take-aways for others?
If you have a call to action, don’t be shy to state it here as “final words”.
Our selection criteria for 1000 Word abstracts are as follows:
Relevance of stated topic for game educators (we can group topics into speciality areas, so programmers do not stand in competition with artists etc.)
Succinctness of approach and / or lessons learnt
Clarity of key take-aways and value of the presentation for other game educators
We envision presentations to be 15min with 10min for Q&A but we reserve the right to change our minds based on the submissions we receive. Other formats may be more useful. In any case, we want to give as many people as possible a chance to share their work, so we can have lively discussions, rather than emphasizing individual voices or topics.
“Howling for Pack Support” Sessions: If you have a tricky game education related issue and would like to pick other people’s brain about it, share your issue with us in a 500 word abstract. Be clear what your issue is and what you’d like to get people’s input on.
Be clear what do you hope to get out of this session
Spend a thought or two on addressing how engaging your issue can benefit others? Whom? Why?
We will look at all submissions in this category and see if we can group issues together to create “Howling Packs” for exchange, inquiry and mutual support. Depending on the number of submissions, we will assign workshop time to these “pack” issues and coordinate with you around the workshop structure.
Q: Is this a hybrid conference? A: NO. we do it on Gotland, precise location to be announced, but in the vicinity to Campus Gotland where the main conference is also happening.
Q: does attendance cost anything? A: no
Q: how big is the capacity for participants (including but not limited to speakers) A: it’s a small-ish event, but this allows us to have high-quality interactions. We can accommodate about 50 participants.
Q: what is the review process for the submissions? A: there is a small team of researchers, including PhD students, who will help review all submissions with an eye on the criteria mentioned above and the priority of creating the most inclusive, diverse and insightful program we can put together for you. So, if anyone asks: yes, this is peer reviewed.
Q: is there going to be a publication of submissions? A: the focus for this event is not paper writing or paper discussing, but a directed exchange of practices, potentials and pitfalls of teaching “game stuff” and the contexts it is happening in. So, no, there is not going to be a book or other form of edited publication. We may post the abstracts online. Stay tuned for that.
Q: my home department won’t cover travel costs without a publication (or for whatever other reason). What do I do? A: we suggest you ask your internationalization office for Erasmus money. Tell them you are checking us out for potential Erasmus agreements with us! This isn’t even a lie, we hope 😉
In embodied role-playing, players may immerse themselves into a shared fiction, or metareflect to see the fiction in context with reality. Through theories on self-reflexive art and practical larp design examples, this lecture will look into how we might use metareflection to create diverse and transformative role-playing experiences.
Hilda Levin (b. 1987) is a Swedish larper living in Norway. She has a Master’s in Dramaturgy and wrote her thesis on metareflection in embodied role-playing. She works with theatre productions and emerging playwrights, and has taken part in organizing the Oslo Pride cultural program in 2018, 2019 and 2023.
Description: In this lecture, professor Harviainen presents forgotten gems and early classics of role-playing theory, such as the first attempts at explaining what we now call bleed, or forays into interaction types in larps. Join us to hear what was contained in zines, the first Knutepunkt books, and German manuals for methodological game mastering, as well as what we can still learn from them.
Presenter bio: J. Tuomas Harviainen is Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media at Tampere University, Finland, and former editor of the game journals International Journal of Role-Playing and Simulation & Gaming.
This series is hosted by the Games & Society Lab at the Department of Game Design, Uppsala University Campus Gotland. The series explores the use of analog role-playing games as vehicles for lasting personal and social change.