Workshop on Building Equitable and Sustainable Game Development Education

Monday, October 23, 2023 11:00 am - 12:30 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Poster for Building Equitable and Sustainable Game Development Education

With recent waves of layoffs, high-profile workplace harassment cases, and a notoriously short career length for gender minorities and people of colour, the transition of new workers into the game industry involves navigating a spate of barriers to equity and success that have been understudied in academic research. This panel talks about "The First Three Years", an ongoing longitudinal study of graduates of game programs in Canada and the United States, following the journey of 207 students as they move into the game industry.

This event is part of the “ADE for Game Communities: Enculturing Anti-Racism, Decolonization, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ADE) in Games Research and Creation” series from the ADE Committee of the Games Institute, University of Waterloo, and is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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This event will be held in a HYBRID format. Please join us in-person at the Games Institute, EC1 on the University of Waterloo campus or online through Microsoft Teams.


Kenzie Gordon is a PhD Candidate in Digital Humanities and Media & Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta. Her work examines gender and violence in video games and equity issues in the game industry.

Dr. Sean Gouglas is a Professor in Digital Humanities and Co-Director of the Certificate in Computer Game Development at the University of Alberta. He conducts research on university curriculum related to video game design and study, as well as the relationship between postsecondary institutions and the video game industry. He has consulted with government on tax and investment policy as it relates to video game production and has published reports for SSHRC and HEVGA on the state of the video game industry and higher education game programs.

Dr. Alison Harvey is Associate Professor in the Communications program at Glendon College, York University. Her research and teaching focuses on issues of inclusivity and accessibility in digital culture, with an emphasis on gender and labour in digital games. She is the author of Gender, Age, and Digital Games in the Domestic Context (2015, Routledge) and Feminist Media Studies (2019, Polity). Her work has also appeared in a range of interdisciplinary journals, including New Media & Society, Games & Culture, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Feminist Media Studies, Information, Communication & Society, Social Media & Society, and Studies in Social Justice.

Vishal Sooknananl is a PhD student at Western University in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Vishal studies issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace with a focus on the lived experiences of marginalized and minoritized groups and subtle discrimination. This work has been focused on various workplace settings including the games industry as part of the First Three Years project. His work can be found on Scholarship@Western and

Dr. Johanna Weststar is an Associate Professor in the DAN Department of Management and Organizational Studies at Western University and cross-appointed to I/O Psychology and the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. Johanna specializes in labour and employment relations with a focus on the video game industry where she is interested in issues of workplace citizenship, representation and unionization, working conditions and the labour process, project management and occupational identity. You can find her work at Scholarship@Western, and GameQoL.

Dr. Jennifer Whitson (she/her) is an Associate Professor in Sociology & Legal Studies and at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. She studies the “squishy” side of software development and has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork with game developers since 2012.  You can find her work at:,, and