MI Department Hosts Meaningful Play Conference

Posted on: October 7, 2014

MeaningfulPlay-WPMichigan State University's campus will be seeping with creativity during the 2014 International Academic Conference on Meaningful Play hosted by the Department of Media and Information Oct. 16-18.

Meaningful Play 2014 is a conference about theory, research and game design innovations, principles and practices. The conference brings scholars and industry professionals together to understand and improve upon games to entertain, inform, educate and persuade in meaningful ways.

With 200 submissions, including papers, games, posters, speakers, panels, workshops and roundtables, the two primary themes of this year's conference are exploring meaningful applications of games and issues in designing meaningful play. The former includes an examination of games of all types from primarily an academic research perspective, while the latter focuses on much more practical knowledge from the front-line of actual design, development and use of games for meaningful purposes.

"I think we have a wonderful line-up in 2014," said Brian Winn, Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Information and Director of the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab. "I am really looking forward to the six very exciting keynote presenters with three from academia and three from industry."

This year's keynote speakers include:

  • Jesse Schell, CEO of Schell Games and Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Mia Consalvo, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal
  • Colleen Macklin, Director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab) and Associate Professor at Parsons The New School for Design
  • Deidra Kiai, Game Designer, Writer, Programmer, Musician and Visual Artist
  • Jan Sircus, Principal of Studio Sircus and former Senior Vice President of Creative Development for Walt Disney Imagineering
  • Erin Hoffman, Game Design Lead at the Institute of Play's GlassLab

In addition to the thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry, the conference will include 45 peer-reviewed paper presentations, 13 panel and roundtable discussions, five hands-on innovative workshops, and 41 exhibitions of games and prototypes as well as Industry/Student Meet and Greet. Most conference activities will be held at the MSU Union.

The public also will have the opportunity to attend the pre-conference Quello Lecture delivered by Professor Lisa Nakamura of the University of Michigan, an acclaimed cultural critic of visual representations and mechanics of race, gender and sexuality in gaming culture, digital media and transmedia, on Wednesday, Oct. 15, at 7p.m. at the Kellogg Center in the Big Ten B Room. Nakmaura will speak on "Racism, Sexism and Video Games: Social Justice Campaigns and the Struggle for Gamer Identity."

For more information, see the Meaningful Play Conference website or email meaningfulplay.conf@gmail.com.

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