GI Members organizing "Gaming with the Subaltern": Workshop at CHI Play 2018

Gaming with the Subaltern: A Workshop on Diversity and Inclusion in Games

Cayley MacArthur, Systems Design PhD student, and Mark Hancock, Associate Director of the Games Institute, are co-organizing a workshop in collaboration with six other international scholars. The workshop, entitled "Gaming with the subaltern: A workshop on diversity and inclusion in games," is scheduled for CHI Play 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.

Despite the fact that games are played by a highly diverse group of people, game development teams are comprised of 70% + white men. We have known this for a while, but the problem persists because there is little diversity among the groups of people who are attempting to implement change.

How can we make gaming research, development, and play more diverse if the people in conversations about solutions don't have lived experiences of the problems?

This workshop is designed and structured to disrupt the patterns of non- and misrepresentation in order to stimulate conversations and insights about successful intersectional practices in research, development, and play. Critically, the organizers propose:

This workshop represents an effort to gather a community of identity, power, and diversity researchers to share our knowledge and practices with one another, collectively understand the intersections of identity-factors (race, gender, sexuality, ability, neuroatypicality, etc.) and cross-cultural issues in games research and game design.

The workshop is built around these key questions:

  • How do individual differences affect results and methods in games user research, and individuals’ gameplay experiences?
  • What perspectives and experiences are shared by people across gender, ethnicity, age, ability, class, and other social power dynamics?
  • Which of these identity effects are unique and which are shared across dynamics of oppression?
  • What do game researchers and developers need to understand regarding identity dynamics when gathering data, interpreting results, or presenting information?
  • What does intersectionality (i.e., the living combination of multiple identity and power dynamics) look like in gaming, game development and research? 

"Gaming with the Subaltern" is not about generating solutions. Rather, the purpose is to serve as a launching point for ongoing discussions:

The results of our workshop will be published to an online, publicly-available website for comment, critique, and information. This living document will help inform future games research and development.