Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Games research in Umeå, March 2008

So it's public, the thing I have been working on the last couple of months. I have been fretting myself into exhaustion many a day over a game research symposium to be held in Umeå 26th - 28th of March. Who would have thought that something which needed so little work on the content side would need so much work on the logistics side? The contributors to the symposium have been working with me all the way, and in March we'll all hang out down in HUMlab for three days. I can't wait, I want it to happen NOW.

And if you are in Umeå or anywhere close in that period: there are lectures open to the public, seminars/discussion groups open to researchers with an interest in games research, and workshops open to the first 18 who sign up (staff at UmU get a head start).

See you all here!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stuff white people like

One thing white people like is to read about what white people are like. So if you are white and want to learn more about your ethnicity, or if you are curious about what white people like, check out Stuff White People Like, and remember, when you see a white person riding to work on a bike, congratulate them on saving the earth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Winters have always made me feel like a bear. I become sleepy, lazy, and really grumpy when disturbed. Why am I surprised that I feel even more so when the winter is darker, colder and longer than I am used to?

Umeå had some almost familiar weather for a while, with snow, ice, sleet, rain, snow in what seemed like an endless circle. The last month has however been stable, and the layer of ice on the pavement is a dark grey from dirt and rubble. In the forest the snow is still white, but it's frozen hard from being slightly warmed during the day, then frozen solid in the night.

But now I am waking up, starting to get work done, and feeling happy about all my little plans.

First: March 4th, I am giving a lecture in Hamar, Norway, where they have a little game education. I got to put together 4 hours doing favourite stuff with a small handful of gamers. I have to admit Hamar isn't my idea of a glamorous place to go, but hey, I am spending the winter in Umeå! And I get to do nice things together with interested people, that's enough to go anywhere.

Second: March 18th, I am giving a lecture in Urbino, Italy! And I managed for once to convince my husband he should come with me! So I get to travel, talk about some of my favourite things in the world, meet Luca Rossi, who is a really wonderful person to hang out with, and I will do this in the company of the man who has had the patience to deal with me for 26 years.

Third (big deal coming up): March 26th - 28th, at Umeå University: Humans, culture and computer games; Exploring how people use and live with their chosen online activities, a symposium organised by me and a wonderful group of games researchers, financed by Umeå University and the enthusiasm of the participants. Program is very, very close to being done and ready for publishing, link will come as soon as possible.

Fourth: I'll be in Copenhagen 8th of May, giving a lecture. Just the thought of that makes me smile, Copenhagen is my favourite Scandinavian city (and it beats quite a few other cities too), and I get to visit ITU, where I have so many wonderful colleagues and friends.

And after that I just have to cross my fingers and hope I get to present papers at the Player conference in Copenhagen, and then the AOIR conference also in Copenhagen. What can I say? It's a great city.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Livingstone and Jenkins

Sonia Livingstone is a quite well-published, and in media studies, well known researcher on media, audiences, youth and the use of new technology. Some of her more current work engages the concepts audience and public, and go through a wide range of discussions around these ideas and how the development of new media influence them. She approaches this from an angle of European media studies, something which is aquiring if not the status of a different discipline, then definitely a distinctive flavour of debate, discussion and the probing of concepts, ideas and theories which is different from the more sample-directed American version.

Reading Livingstone next to Henry Jenkins' work carries with it a sense of this distinction. Where Jenkins delivers interesting and knowledgeable examples of how new media changes certain interactions between users and the traditional senders, Livingstone chases down the meaning of the changes in a theoretical as well as a socialogical context. This makes reading them in combination interesting, thought-provoking and oddly satisfying, as both hint at lacks and weaknesses with the work of the others, as well as filling out and confirming other parts.

So, let this be the cocktail of the week, a tall glass of Livingstone with a dash of Jenkins, served warm and comfortable and sipped in the presence of an active, connected lap-top, for referencing and curious checks on described phenomena.