Thursday, 2 July 2020

DGRG Virtual Annual Symposium 2020: Digital game design as a geographical research method

The video embedded above is a recorded version of the digital short I presented at the Digital Geographies Research Group's Virtual Annual Symposium on 1st July 2020. The DGRG is a research group of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers) and this was its 4th annual symposium, organised around the theme of 'Using the Digital: Methodologies, Teaching, and Everyday Practice'.

Digital shorts are brief summaries of an aspect of your research in 2-5 minutes. My presentation considered the opportunities and challenges for geographers in using digital game design as a research method for studying these media in practice. Here is the full abstract:

Digital games have begun to garner significant attention in geography over the past decade, as media with increasing cultural, economic and political influence globally, as well as distinct representational, affective, material and social attributes. Already provoking methodological innovations in the use of video ethnographies (Ash, 2010), covert and (auto)ethnographic play (Dornelles, 2019), alongside more conventional qualitative methods, where geographical scholarship on digital games has been lacking is in direct engagement with the processes of making these works.

This presentation will outline how I have used creative practices of digital game design and development as a geographical method for researching location-based games. Drawing on experiences from my autoethnographic PhD fieldwork, I will discuss how apprehending research questions creatively as a design brief can lead to more expansive understandings of the intricate relationships between digital technologies, embodied experiences and cultural meaning-making enacted through making and playing digital games. I will also touch on some of the challenges related to expertise, ethics and data collection presented by practice-based research on digital topics, which have been encountered and negotiated throughout my doctoral research.

I would like to thank Hannah Awcock and everyone else at the DGRG involved in organising this event, and my fellow presenters to contributing to such a diverse and rewarding programme.

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