DiGRA 2014 Elections: Candidates

Below the jump is the information regarding the candidates for open positions on the DiGRA board for 2014-2015. Elections will be held at the AGM at this year’s DiGRA conference and via online ballot afterwards for those unable to attend.

President: Mia Consalvo
Secretary: Ashley Brown
Open Seats (2): Rachel Kowert, Christopher Paul
Student officer: Jessica Weber, Will Robinson

Candidates for President:
Mia Consalvo
Statement of interest
I would like to be considered for re-election to the position of President of DiGRA in order to continue the work I have been doing with the organization over the past two years. During that time I have worked with an excellent executive board to accomplish a variety of initiatives, including moving our conference to an annual event; revising the organization by-laws; updating our chapter policy; approving several new chapters to DiGRA (Chinese, UK, Australia); releasing a white paper on the use of videogame screen shots in journals; launching ToDiGRA, the DiGRA journal; re-doing the organization website; establishing a new system for organizing conferences including the separation of program and conference chairs; as well as routine and other business.

For the next term, if elected, I will have two main objectives: the first is to continue my policy of regular board meetings and keeping in regular communication about journal and conference business in order to maintain the progress made so far; the second objective is to improve the financial stability of the organization. To do this I have several ideas but also want to work with the membership to gain their help in making DiGRA more secure. My plans include a membership drive, securing regular sponsors for conferences, and increasing the value and number of institutional membership in DiGRA.
Mia Consalvo is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal. She is the co-editor of Sports Videogames and author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage of Videogames. She has most recently completed the book Players and Their Pets with Jason Begy and is now finishing Japan’s Videogames, a book about Japan’s influence on the videogame industry and game culture. Mia runs the mLab, a space dedicated to developing innovating methods for studying games and game players, at Concordia. She’s presented her work at professional as well as academic conferences including regular presentations at the Game Developers Conference. She is the President of the Digital Games Research Association, and has held positions at MIT, Ohio University, Chubu University in Japan and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Candidates for Secretary:
Ashley ML Brown
Projects and Priorities to Address:
As secretary of the Digital Games Research Association, I will happily take on the responsibilities of keeping meeting minutes, managing membership records, and producing executive reports for the membership. Additionally, if elected, I plan to go beyond the position requirements by working closely with the chapter officer and treasurer to ensure accurate records of membership are recorded and that local DiGRA chapters have the board support they need to be successful. I also plan to undertake an additional project in creating and maintaining a social media presence for the organization.

My past experience as a student officer makes me the ideal candidate for the position of secretary. Not only was I a board member when changes to the functionalities of local chapters were put in place, but along with my co-officer Dr. Rachel Kowert, I created and managed social media outlets to help games scholars network, connect, and hear about new research. My prior experience serving on the board has given me the knowledge, insight, confidence and reputation to ensure the responsibilities of the secretary position are fulfilled, the changes to local chapter membership are smoothly executed, and there are more ways for DiGRA members to connect and share research than ever before.

Dr. Ashley ML Brown is a lecturer in game studies at Brunel University London. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Manchester in sociology. Her thesis, entitled ‘Sex Between Frames: An exploration of online and tabletop erotic role play’, focused on how role players involve erotic content into their games and what this particular type of play means for conceptions of sexuality. She is the author of the forthcoming book Sex and Role-Playing Games and an editor of the forthcoming The Dark Side of Game Play, both to be published by Routledge. She is also a founding member of DiGRA UK. www.AMLBrown.com

Candidates for Open Seat:
Rachel Kowert
Statement of interest
I am currently a researcher at the University of Münster where I work on the project “SOFOGA” – the Social Foundations of Online Games. Prior to this, I obtained my PhD in Psychology at the University of York (UK), as well as a M.A. in Counseling Psychology (Santa Clara University) and a B.A. in Psychology (UT Dallas). Over the last two years, I have held the board position of “Student Representative” for DiGRA. During this time, with the support of my co-chair, I have helped to initiate, and achieve, several milestones, including the formation of a Steam gaming group (with organized game nights!), the establishment of an online presence (including an active Facebook group, Twitter, website, and forums), and the organization of several student-centric events (both socially and academically oriented).

While my time as a graduate student has come to an end, my desire to remain an active member of the DiGRA board and the wider organization has not! By moving into an open seat position, I will have the opportunity to be active in a wider range DiGRA activities. In addition to continuing the promotion of student-centric activities, I would be able to be involved in more aspects of the organization that will help to further its scope and reach, such as advertising, the acquisition of sponsorships, membership recruitment, and conference organization.

Given my past experience, and motivation to contribute to the organization, I believe I am an excellent candidate for an open seat position. To learn more about me, and my research, please feel free to contact me or visit my website (www.rkowert.com).

Christopher A. Paul
Statement of Interest:
DiGRA is the most interesting professional organization of which I am a part. I really like that there is a place where games are a focal point and there is an opportunity to meet and learn from a wide range of people examining games from different angles. It is a wonderful place to learn about new games and get feedback about details that would be overlooked at almost any other conference.

One area where I would like to see DiGRA improved is in how it reaches out to and addresses intersectional issues of gender, race, and class among many others. I think games can be an amazing way to get direct experience with other subject positions, but that contemporary games often fail to enable that experience. I think that DiGRA has made an effort, but that the effort made at events like DiGRA 2013 in Atlanta relegated discussion to a segregated group already committed to challenging the status quo.

I don’t see any straightforward, easy fixes to these issues, but I would like to see DiGRA think about issues like diversity and inclusivity throughout the organization’s considerations. I think more can be done and I hope I can help contribute to the process.

Christopher A. Paul is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Communication Department at Seattle University. He published Wordplay and the Discourse of Video Games: Analyzing Words, Design, and Play with Routledge and is currently working on a project about meritocracy and game culture.

Candidates for Student Officer
Jessika Weber
Statement of interest:
As a researcher with a background in tourism and marketing coming to game design and settling down in a completely new field can be a challenging task. Building up a research network is essential for young professionals. Although, the game research community is open, friendly and supportive for young researchers, getting to know and engaging with the community and addressing evolving questions to experts can be daunting. As games became more accessible for a greater target audience with the advent of new (mobile) technologies, it is necessary for game researchers and professionals to understand and design for this new audience such as business, medicine, and tourism. Thus, collaborations of experts from different research fields are vital as it provides insights in new game experience methods and methodologies, creates an understanding of new game target audiences with a user-centered design and diffuses games in everyday life in order to create engaging and fun experiences with games.
With the position of a student officer I will open up new ways for the research community to collaborate and exchange.

Projects and Priorities
Becoming student officer, I would create a collaborative online platform (Wiki), which is used by young and experienced game design researchers and professionals to exchange about call for proposals of projects, call for papers, frequently asked questions, research methods, best practices, and jobs opportunities. The current website is a good basis but would need updates, clarity and structure.

Also, to make the game research members more visible, a data base (connected with LinkedIn or other public profiles) can help finding people for collaborations, special interest groups or experts young members can address to for their research studies.
It would also be a great chance for the summer school to invite the game industry when students present their game designs in order to facilitate collaborations and make potential games ready for the market. The game industry may take on the role of mentors to support young researchers with their games and provide them a perspective with their game ideas.

Jessika Weber is a PhD Researcher at Bournemouth University, School of Tourism. Her dissertation is dealing with the evaluation of game experiences of tourists with context-aware mobile Augmented Reality Games in urban environments. Her research interests are serious games and gamification in tourism, mobile HCI, mobile game experience and mobile tourism. Jessika is a member of the International Federation for Information Technology in Travel and Tourism (IFITT), DiGRA and the Interaction Design Foundation.

Jessika holds a Diploma in business administration form a German University of Applied Sciences and a Master of Arts in Business in Innovation and Management in Tourism from the University of Applied Sciences Salzburg. She worked as an Online Marketing Manager in one of the leading IT service organisations for tourism in Germany.

William Robinson
Position Statement:
I have been actively involved in game studies and DiGRA for four years. I have spent the last two years teaching game studies in an English department to undergraduates. During that time, I have helped many students find their footing the field. I would like to undertake the role of student officer with the intent to produce a brief introductory document for anyone doing undergraduate work with interest in game studies. This document will offer basic guidelines explaining what game studies might entail, where it is being done and how to go about contacting potential supervisors. While some of these documents exist separately, with the help of the DiGRA community, a simple PDF could be made available to any interested undergraduates.

William Robinson completed his MA in the Special Individualized Program at Concordia University in 2012. He is currently a PhD Candidate in the Humanities Program where his research focuses on materiality, game studies, player creativity, digital labour, toxic gamer culture and aesthetic analytic philosophy. He currently works under the auspices of the Research Centre for Technoculture, Art and Games. His burgeoning art practice involves designing experimental video and board games which generate procedural narratives from strategic play.


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