ADE for Games Communities Workshop and Speaker Series

Enculturing Anti-Racism, Decolonization, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion in Games Research & Creation.

Creating opportunities for meaningful equitable change in the games industry requires active and inclusive community-building. As a part of this mission, we created the following speaker and workshop series to centre the voices of individuals from marginalized groups. This includes, but is not limited to, persons who are Black and/or Indigenous or otherwise racialized, women-identified, LGBTQ2S+, disabled and/or neurodivergent, and people from other under-represented communities.

The speakers, workshop leaders, and panellists share their unique knowledge, experiences, and perspectives regarding the following overarching questions:

How do we make anti-racism, decolonization, and equity vital elements of the research and development of games and playable media?

What can we do to ensure that the methods and approaches we practice in our scholarship and creative work are respectful and responsive to the needs of the marginalized communities?

Where do the logics and imperatives of colonialism still inform and/or impede how our critical approaches address inequalities related to intersecting identity markers like race, gender, Indigeneity, ability, etc.?

Taken together, these questions offer an opportunity to thoughtfully engage with the systemic barriers and exclusions that continue to be articulated within games scholarship and games communities. We hope that by highlighting historically marginalized voices, our community will gain fundamental understandings, be challenged with critical questions, and learn practical skills and insights to address current challenges across games communities in academia and the industry.

The series will feature 8 distinguished speakers and 8 workshops/panels between February - May 2023 and September – December 2023.

Check out the upcoming Fall 2023 event summaries!

Fall 2023 Events Summaries

This series is funded by a SSHRC Connection grant and in collaboration with the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo. The series Principal Investigator is Dr. Gerald Voorhees, and the co-applicant is Dr. Daniel Harley. The Winter ‘23 lecture and panel summaries were written by Sophia Richardson BKi ’23.

                                                                                                   Goals of Series:

1. Provide a platform for diverse scholars, practitioners, and students to foster dialogue and promote public discourse on how we might better incorporate ADE across our games research and creation.

2. Provide training and networking opportunities for junior games scholars and practitioners while providing them with the language, practices, and tools to address current barriers and exclusions in the games industry.

3. Normalize and extend sustainable, community-oriented games cultures that value diverse perspectives experiences.

                                                                                                   Event Summaries:

Structures of Care

In this workshop, members of the worker cooperative game studio Soft Chaos discussed how building structures of care and accessibility into the team's day-to-day working environment strengthened the creative process of developing games, and led participants in interactive exercises to inspire them to bring similar ideas to their own work contexts.

The Impact of Genuine and Mindful Inclusion of Marginalized Communities in Creative Works

Elaine Gómez-Sanchez described the importance of representation in games and digital media. She spoke on how gaming has the power to destroy the perpetuation of stereotypical perceptions and explained how games can be designed to create social impact in meaningful ways.

Researching Disability and Play - Where's the fun in that?

Dr. Katta Spiel explored the relationship between disability and play. Using the theory on the surrogate body in play, they illustrated how it can be instrumental to critically engage with norms governing digital play and identifying design opportunities playing with said bodily norms to holistically cater to disabled audiences. They did so by focusing on the critical analytical category of disability not just through an access oriented lens per se, but rather to bring principles of disability justice to play.

Designing for Disability and Accessibility Panel

For this hybrid panel, three researchers talked about their work and research in Accessibility in Digital Games and Virtual Reality. The panel included Triskal deHaven, Dr. Katta Spiel, and Dr. Cayley MacArthur. Triskal deHaven led the panel with frequently asked questions about Virtual Reality and Accessibility, research studies within higher level education, and some of the gaps in Accessibility that students could pursue.

The Changing Same: Blackness, Representation, and Video Games

Dr. André Brock discussed the promise and peril of POC video game character voice acting, focusing primarily on the connections of Black male anger and Black fatherhood in God of War through the voice work of TC Carson and Christopher Judge, contextualized against the audio Brownface of two voice POC women characters in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

Just Relationships for Research Panel

This interdisciplinary panel outlined roles and responsibilities as well as best practices for graduate student supervision to frame a discussion of how to foster and maintain just relationships among researchers, with a focus on the principles and practices animating non-extractive student-supervisor relationships. Different panelists shared their knowledge of institutional guidelines for student supervision and/or experience with cultivating and leading non-oppressive research groups. The panelists encouraged conversations about what constitutes just research relationships within and across disciplinary and institutional contexts.

From Custer's Revenge to Red Dead Redemption: Changing the Language of Indigenous Representation in Video Games

In this lecture, Dr. Bird emphasized how mechanical, coded language, and visual language in games is used to present Indigenous representation. She included various examples from Custer’s Revenge to the Mortal Kombat series to apply and showcase how language is used to create harmful Indigenous narratives. She then contrasted this by showing how language can also be used in ways that promote Indigenous futures.

A Discussion on Indigenous Research and Epistemology

How should we conduct research in cooperation and partnership with Indigenous communities? What does it mean for Indigenous scholars and students to do research within the colonial structures and settler epistemologies of Western universities? In this conversation moderated by Dr. Hector Perez, Dr. Kelly Laurila shared her perspectives and experiences on these questions.

Winter 2023 Events Information

Winter 2023 Events Summaries