Monday, April 26, 2010

CFP Alert: Upcoming Conferences on Gaming & Tech (in Canada!!!)

With my PhD defense a mere one week away, I haven't had much time to keep up with the news these days. But my "to do" list for this week includes submitting abstracts to two upcoming conferences that will likely be of interest to some of you. One has an imminent deadline, but has a great line up of confirmed speakers and a very compelling focus, and looks to be well worth dedicating part of an afternoon to crafting an abstract for. The other is being held at my new home in Toronto, and sounds absolutely amazing. Anyway, you can see for yourself below. Here's the basic info, with links to the full details:


Bilingual colloquium (French/English)
October 28 , 29 and 30, 2010
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

To play is a vital function for the development of individuals. Play is an activity of socialization which enables learning of the rudiments of social interaction. Since the middle of the twentieth century, our societies have placed more value on the playful practice at all ages. As such, playing is more and more present in numerous spheres of society. Huizinga (1938) and Caillois (1958) assert moreover that any playful activity is social, by definition, and gets its real meaning when it is practised in groups. For Gadamer (1960), the charm of playing lies primarily in the fact that it exercises a fascination in the player. Online videogames gather more and more followers worldwide as this phenomenon becomes more important from day to day. It is no longer necessary to question play as a way to spend time. Through the intervention of videogames, play has also become a way to develop social networks, learn new communication skills and tools, a way to learn a foreign language, a place to keep or develop friendships, an opportunity to participate in an online community, or even a way to be exposed to new cultures. Online videogames have become a media of socialization, that is to say, devices of mediation and mediatization which allow people to share large-scale information thanks to its network of exchanges and meetings. Such spaces of socialization arouse interactions convenient to the construction of the “self” and to the renewal of the representations of others and the world. Online videogames can facilitate socialization and be a carrier of values which are not necessarily different than those found in society. Online videogames can also be a place that facilitate values that are not necessarily present in society in general.

Indeed, the experience as much as the manners and representations in videogames contribute to the moulding of cognitive modes, to the development of both technical and social skills and, in a more general way, to the reconfiguration of one’s relationship to the world. From this perspective, it is imperative to explore the modes of socialization shaped by online videogames and to question the various forms of instrumentalization, of domination, of exclusion, as well as forms of dependence and addiction which this kind of community can facilitate. The criteria from which the players give a value and organize their relations into a hierarchy with other players is potentially defined by the customs and contexts of online videogames. The observations, the descriptions, and the analysis of the manners and representations that are connected to the experience of online videogames become essential as a generation is subject to building their social referents partially through playful cyber universes. This type of study is justified all the more as players become imbedded in innovative modes of socialization, rehabilitation, social reintegration, and learning, not only in school and at home, but also in their workplace. This colloquium aims to make inventory of the researches within game studies, while online videogames are becoming more and more popular. Topics include (but are not limited to) the following themes:

• Forms of socialization in online videogames
• Communicational stakes in online videogames
• Questions of ethics and aesthetics in online videogames
• Innovations and types of appropriation in online videogames
• Questions of law, economy, and politics in online videogames
• Design of games and the communications tools in online videogames
• Therapeutic and educational customs in online videogames

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: The persons interested to participate in this colloquium have to submit an abstract treating of the higher presented theme (max. 3000 characters, included spaces), as well as a short biographic note. Abstracts should be sent to:

Abstract deadline: April 28, 2010
Notification of Acceptance: May 17, 2010
Full Paper deadline: August 27, 2010
Colloquium dates: October 28, 29 and 30, 2010

INVITED SPEAKERS: Mia Consalvo, PhD; Nicolas Ducheneaut, PhD; Sébastien Genvo, PhD; Miguel Sicart, PhD; Bart Simon, PhD; T.L. Taylor, PhD.

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE : The colloquium is organized by the research group Homo Ludens (Université du Québec à Montréal), with the collaboration of Technoculture, Art and Games (Concordia University)

Charles Perraton, professor at the Department of social and public communication (Université du Québec à Montréal) Magda Fusaro, professor at the Department of management and technology (Université du Québec à Montréal)

Coordination : Maude Bonenfant, postdoctoral researcher, Technoculture, Art and Gaming (Concordia University)

And here's the second one, with a little more breathing room on the submission deadline:


Download the Call for Papers (PDF)

A renewed emphasis on participatory forms of digitally-mediated production is transforming our social landscape. ‘Making’ has become the dominant metaphor for a variety of digital and digitally-mediated practices. The web is exploding with independently produced digital ‘content’ such as video diaries, conversations, stories, software, music, video games—all of which are further transformed and morphed by “modders,” “hackers,” artists and activists who redeploy and repurpose corporately-produced content. Equally, communities of self-organized crafters, hackers, and enthusiasts are increasingly to be found online exchanging sewing and knitting patterns, technical guides, circuit layouts, detailed electronics tutorials and other forms of instruction and support. Many of these individuals and collaborators understand their work to be socially interventionist. Through practices of design, development, and exchange they challenge traditional divides between production and consumption and to redress the power differentials built into technologically-mediated societies.

“DIY Citizenship” invokes the participatory nature of these diverse “do-it-yourself” modes of engagement, community, networks, and tools—all of which arguably replace traditional with remediated notions of citizenship. The term “critical making” refers to the increasing role ‘making’ plays in critical forms of social reflection and engagement.

This interactive conference seeks to extend conversations about new modes of engaged DIY citizenship and politics evidenced by the exponential increase of DIY media, “user-generators”, “prosumers,” “hacktivists,” tactical media interventionists, and other ‘maker’ identities. We invite scholars, activists, artists, designers, programmers and others interested in the social and participatory dimensions of digitally-mediated practices, to engage in dialogue across disciplinary and professional divides. All methodological and theoretical approaches are welcomed. Submissions may include paper proposals, works of art and/or design, short video or audio segments, performances, video games, digital media, or other genres and forms. Potential topics include: the relation between social media and the ‘making’ of new forms of citizenship engagement—thus, for example, making movements; making community; making news; making play; making bodies; making health; making public; making education; making networks.

Plenary speakers include:

Anne Balsamo, Professor of Interactive Media in the School of Cinematic Arts, and of Communications in the Annenberg School of Communications, University of Southern California, co-founder of Onomy Labs, Inc. a Silicon Valley technology design and fabrication company that builds cultural technologies.

Suzanne de Castell, Professor (media, educational technologies) Faculty of Education Simon Fraser University, Vancouver: educational media theory, research, design and development, Founded Canadian Game Studies Association, co-editor of Loading…

Ron Deibert, Professor (Political Science), University of Toronto, Director of the Citizen Lab; a co-founder and a principal investigator of the OpenNet Initiative and Information Warfare Monitor projects; co-founder and VP of global policy and outreach for Psiphon Inc.

Paul Dourish, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, co-conspirator in the Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing and Interaction, and author of Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction, MIT Press.

Henry Jenkins, Provost's Professor of Communications, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California. Blogger, Author of Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. Currently doing research for MacArthur Foundation on youth, new media, and the public sphere.

Jennifer Jenson, Professor of Pedagogy and Technology, York University, Toronto: video game designer, co-editor of Loading…: The Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association

Natalie Jeremijenko, artist whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering. Jeremijenko’s projects which explore socio-technical change have been exhibited by several museums and galleries, including the MASSMoCA, the Whitney, Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt. Jeremijenko is the director of the environmental health clinic at NYU, assistant professor in Art, and affiliated with the Computer Science Dept.

Steve Mann, professor of Applied Engineering, and Arts and Sciences, University of Toronto, proliferate inventor including wearable computing, hydraulophone, and concept of 'sousveillance': "the effects a surveillance device has on others"

Trebor Scholz, Professor of Culture and Media Study, The New School, New York: media activist, writer, and artist, founder of the Institute for Distributed Creativity. In the fall of 2009, Dr. Scholz convened The Internet as Playground and Factory conference

Conference organizers: Prof. Megan Boler, University of Toronto; Prof. Matt Ratto, University of Toronto.

Please submit a 250-word proposal or description of work/presentation and a one-page artist or scholarly CV to by May 20, 2010. Please include up to five images of work to be shown/discussed or a web URL if appropriate. Notifications will take place by June 15, 2010. For more information, contact or visit our website at

Presenters will be invited to submit completed papers for an edited collection with a university press and/or a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal.


No comments: