Wednesday 6 March 2019

Call for Papers: Geographies of Gaming and VR

The third annual RGS-IBG Digital Geographies Research Group Symposium will be taking place at the University of Birmingham on 3 July 2019 examining ‘geographies of gaming and VR’.

Since Atari released Pong in 1972 the video game industry has evolved rapidly, with an estimated global value of $137.9 billion in 2018 (Newzoo, 2018).  Considering the size of the sector and notwithstanding important exceptions (e.g. Ash and Gallacher 2011, Shaw and Sharp 2013), gaming has received surprisingly little attention from geographers.  VR, meanwhile, has been periodically hyped as the next big thing in technology for over thirty years.  The immersive qualities of VR drive a particularly compelling experience of virtual space, yet VR has been relatively neglected by geographers (although see Hillis, 1996, Fisher and Unwin, 2002).  In recent years VR has been boosted by significant investments from tech giants such as Facebook, Sony and Microsoft and is gaining traction in both consumer and professional contexts as a platform for games, socialisation and immersive media. 

There are significant contributions that geographers can make through examining games and VR as both objects of study and spaces for methodological innovation within the wider context of geography’s digital turn.  In this Symposium, we are seeking contributions taking the form of conventional papers (15 minutes) and digital shorts (2 minutes).  The themes we are seeking to explore include:
  1. gaming landscapes
  2. gaming and cultural geographies
  3. the geographies of immersion
  4. games as methodologies
  5. toxicity and socialisation in virtual space
  6. hacktivism and gaming as political tool
  7. digital enclosure and platform studies
  8. existential ludology and post phenomenology
Time for networking and socialising will be built into the programme for the Symposium.  Registration is £25 (standard) and £15 (postgraduate and un-waged). Bursaries are available (download the application form here). We will also be offering online-only attendance for those unable to travel in person.

Digital Shorts: In order to represent the breadth of research taking within geography examining gaming and VR as well as to facilitate networking, participants are invited to give a 2-minute ‘digital short’. This format has proved popular at our previous symposia – please indicate on the abstract submission form if you wish to submit a full paper or a digital short.

Abstracts are due 1 April 2019.

Download the abstract submission form here.

Organising Committee: Hannah Awcock, Jack Lowe, Peter Nelson, Phil Jones, Natasha Keen, Clancy Wilmott.