Culture, Business and Community around Games – PhD Course, Uppsala, Sweden, August 2011

Dear Colleagues,

please find below the invitation to a PhD course we are organizing in August in Uppsala:

Culture, Business and Community around Games – PhD Course
We are pleased to announce and invite you to a PhD course at the department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University with the topic “Culture, Business and Community around Games”. The course will be given in English.

In order to understand games as a medium it is not enough to look at the software sold in the paper box. Electronic games like all media exist in an environment of cultures, communities and practices.  The digital information and communication infra structure surrounding games is a fertile ground for actors like organizations, companies and business-oriented individual who are serving the community and in turn living from it. Implications on game design  are as clearly visible as the influences of game design on the community and culture of the game. In this environment that emerges around games it becomes more and more important to take the whole picture into account to be able to understand games and gaming.

With such an understanding of the importance of the environment of games this course is designed to bring together leading researchers and practitioners who are working with different perspectives on games. Sébastien Genvo will elaborate a theoretical framework about an increasing process that occurs within the digital sphere, the process of “ludicisation”. More than ever, diverse digital technologies take ludic forms and the term “game” is applied to areas that are increasingly heterogeneous. As we will see, this brings about a profound change in our representations of what is and what constitutes a game. How can we study these mutations of game forms? What does it imply in terms of game studies and game ontology? Steven Bachelder will give an account of the design of games for sociability from a scholarly point of view while Mirjam Eladhari will present some technical approached to the creation of AI and life in games in connection to social play.Olli Sotamaa will explain the connection between gaming culture and game development. Juho Hamari is an expert for business models in the game industry and for virtual economies and will present this side of gaming.  There are plans for guest speakers from the industry but it is not clear right now if we will be able to have them.

The aim of this course is to open a platform for academic exchange and for presentation of ongoing research inspiring creative and critical discussion. Participants will get possibilities to present their work in progress and get feedback, to create connections and to ask questions that are actually concerning them at the point they are at right now.

This course is meant for PhD students. The topics the participants can be but are not limited to digital communication, social media, online communities, new media business models, online and game cultures, the computer game business and electronic games, play and players. Theoretical, analytic and empirical work is welcome. The presentation of cutting-edge ongoing research is encouraged. Participants can send in a paper they are working on. Each paper will get special feedback from a senior researcher and another participant who sent in a paper.

The second focus of the course will be practical information about activities in the field of media science for PhD students. The presenters are going to share their experience of how one can be active editing a book, organizing a research forum and publishing online as PhD students. The aim of this is to empower young researchers and to show ways and opportunities to get active in the scientific community as early and independent as possible.

When: 22-24 August 2011 (3 full days)
Where: Ekonomikum, Uppsala University, Uppsala,
Responsible Organizers: Associate Professor Else Nygren, PhD Student Patrick Prax, Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University, Sweden

Keynote Speakers:
Steven Bachelder, Professor in Art and Design with a Specialization on Convergent Media, Department of Game Design, Narrative and Time-based Media.

Sébastien Genvo, Associate Professor, Paul Verlaine University – Metz (IUT Thionville – Yutz), France. Former game designer at Ubisoft Paris.

Mirjam Eladhari, PhD, Gotland University, University Lecturer in Game Design with Specialization in Character Development and AI for Computer Games, Department  of Game Design, Narrative and Time-based Media.

Olli Sotamaa,  PhD, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Information Studies and Interactive Media, University of Tampere, Finland.

Juho Hamari, (M.Sc. Econ) is a researcher at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT and a Doctoral student in Information System Science at Aalto University School of Economics, Finland.

ECTS: 3 ECTS with paper, 1½ ECTS without

Costs: The participation in this course is free. However, the participants need to organize and pay for travelling, accommodation and food themselves. There will be a free BBQ evening.
Application Requirements and Deadline:
To apply to this course please sent
1.      An academic CV with your publications and presentations on conferences
2.      A short outline of your dissertation project and the state of your work on max. one page
3.      A one-page abstract of your paper and presentation
to Patrick.prax@im.uu.se not later than 27th of June. You will be informed about the acceptance latest 11th of July. Papers for presentation need to be submitted latest 25th of July.
Participants will be chosen after the relevance and quality of their work. Submitting a paper will be positive for your application. The number of participants will be limited to 12.

Preparations:
A package with required reading consisting of text preparing the presentations of the speaker and the submitted papers of the participants will be sent to the participants about one month before course start. Each PhD student will be asked to comment specifically on the presentation by one of the other PhD students. Students who present a paper will be notified about which paper they will give detailed feedback to at the same time.
Website:
You can find the course information on the web under http://www.im.uu.se/education/PhD+Studies/human-computer-interaction/PhD_kurs/