DiGRA Call for Conference Hosts

Digital Games Research Conference

A central goal of the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) is to support international conferences on games, play, and game cultures. The organization of these conferences is done by local committees, who graciously volunteer to prepare and execute the event. So far, fourteen conferences have taken place in this format, with the fifteenth event fully prepared yet cancelled last minute due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also three future events already planned for 2024, 2025, and 2026.

With this call for conference hosts, we encourage local DiGRA chapters and communities of game scholars to volunteer as conference organizers for DiGRA 2027 and 2028. Proposals for conference hosting in 2029 and beyond are also welcome.

We particularly encourage hosts from countries that have historically been under-represented in games research and from regions that have not yet hosted a DiGRA international conference and have a game studies community strong enough to produce the event. When selecting the prospective host, proposals tied to local DiGRA chapters who have not organized the main conference will be given precedence.

Local organizing committees wishing to put themselves forward should consider the following DiGRA aims when putting their proposal together and highlight how the event would achieve these aims. The DiGRA Code of Conduct (available at http://www.digra-old-site.local/the-association/code-of-conduct/) should be observed when addressing these points:

  • Accessibility: The conference needs to be accessible for participants with varied needs. Explain in the proposal how the event will support people attending both in-person and online and provide assistance for people with special needs, including health issues, disabilities, and personal situations.
  • Diversity: Game studies is a multidisciplinary field, and DiGRA supports contributions from underprivileged and historically marginalized groups. Consider how to make the conference welcoming for participants from different academic fields and traditions, with varied gender, race, caste, ability, national, class, and caste identities.
  • Equity: As a global organization, DiGRA gathers members with vastly varied economic standing. Highlight how to make the event affordable for academics lacking institutional funding, as well as independent and junior scholars.
  • Sustainability: It is impossible to make academic conferences fully sustainable, but you should consider steps towards sustainability, especially regarding plastic waste and the impact the conference might have on the local ecosystem and community. Please have this goal in mind especially considering catering options, conference welcome packages and the expectation to offer hybrid and remote participation.

DiGRA is keen to receive proposals that tackle these issues in an innovative manner and build upon established conference practices. It is envisaged that DiGRA conferences will each have a central theme but that this will in no way compromise the inclusiveness of research into games from a wide range of researchers, disciplines, and empirical domains.

The official language of the conference is English.

DiGRA Organization Process

The DiGRA Conference is organized by three separate bodies; you are applying to act as one of them (the local organizing committee).

  • DiGRA Executive Board (that’s us!) supervises the process and provides any help necessary to both organizing teams.
  • Local Organizing Committee (that’s you!) governs over all that happens in situ: organizes the conference venue and catering, prepares all conference materials (including conference website and social media channels), and accommodates remote participation options. It is also the prerogative of the Local Organizing Committee to invite keynote speakers and select conference workshops.
  • Program Committee acts independently from the Local Organizing Committee and ensures rigorous and appropriate peer review for abstracts submitted to the conference and the support of ethical practice. The Program Committee chairs are nominated by the DiGRA Executive Board.

The DiGRA Executive Board is responsible for ensuring the quality of the delegates’ conference experience and the academic credibility and reputation of the conference. As such, it will be involved – and have the right of veto – in any final decisions about the program and other aspects of the organization. It is to be noted the veto is a last-resort measure, and if any issues arise, the DiGRA Executive Board will work with the local organizers and program committee to resolve them.

Once the host committee is decided, a program committee will be formed with representatives from the host committee and nominated members acting on behalf of the DiGRA executive board.

The successful host committee will be provided with key guidelines for the management of the planning and preparation of a medium-sized conference: hosts should be prepared for as many as 500 attendees (usually, the conference has between 300 and 400 attendees). The Board is also ready to provide any assistance needed upon request.

DiGRA Conference Hosting Proposal

There is no compulsory format for conference hosting proposals, but we recommend that they address the following:

1. Venue

  • Location: Institution, town/city, country.
  • Venue: Description, facilities, access, lecture theatres, meeting rooms, exhibition space, technical resources, translation services, etc.
  • Background: What is the host city like? Attractions for visitors?

2. Conference

  • Potential theme ideas
  • Potential keynote/plenary speakers
  • Will there be a possibility to showcase creative submissions?
  • Special events: any special thematic days and/or collaborative events organized in connection to the conference?
  • Social events: What? When? Where? Are they particularly gaming-relevant or locally typical?

3. Remote participation

  • It is expected that DiGRA conferences allow for remote participation.
  • Detail the way remote participation will be organized (which platform, how it will be accessible for conference members, whether it will be possible to access the entire conference via digital means, or just a selected part).
  • Will it be recorded? If so, how will the videos be hosted and accessed?
  • What security measures will be taken to ensure the safety of participants and of the event?

4. Organization

  • Conference committee: Details of organizers, responsibilities, administrative support, etc. If working with a PCO, they should be named. It is expected that key individuals in the proposal and proposed conference committee will hold current DiGRA membership. Identify one member of the host team who is the main contact with DiGRA.
  • Outline means of keeping in regular, consistent communication with the DIGRA board.
  • Short profiles of main organizers, including research interest and experience in organizing academic conferences. Plan for coordination of duties within committees as well as with DiGRA executive board; estimate of deadlines for conference planning schedule.
  • Dates: Proposed conference dates, deadline for abstracts, etc. (It is strongly recommended that proposers avoid dates conflicting with major events relevant for the community, such as AoIR or FDG.). DiGRA is usually hosted in June, July or August, but sticking to those months is not mandatory.
  • 5. Travel and Accommodation
  • Distance from international/domestic airport/s.
  • Accessibility by bus, cab, coach, train, etc.
  • Accommodation: Description, university/hotel options, location in relation to conference venue, facilities, capacity, etc. Are there per person and room share options? Is there a discount for DiGRA delegates?
  • Travel options between the conference venue and accommodation.

6. Preliminary Budget

  • Conference fees: full and day rates, taking into account discounts for remote participants, students and independent scholars. Registration fees should be tiered to reflect varying levels of affordability for different countries of origin: the board will work with the local organizing committee to determine the appropriate rates.
  • Catering: It is customary to provide participants with lunch included in the conference fee. Social events, such as conference dinners, could be excluded from the fee and paid separately.
  • Institutional support: Level and nature of department/institution involvement and funding.
  • Additional support: Details of finance, facilities, sponsorship, or other involvement from additional organizations at a regional, national, or international level. While searching for funding opportunities, please bear in mind the ethical aspect: we’re open for public and private funding as long as the funding does not influence the review and program selection process and all sponsored events are clearly labelled as such.
  • How will booking be handled?

7. Diversity and Accessibility

  • Support for parents and caretakers: What measures will be taken to allow participation for people traveling with children? Will there be breastfeeding rooms available? Will there be a childcare provided during the conference program?
  • Support for non-binary and queer participants: Will there be access to gender-neutral/all-gender bathrooms? How can participants share their pronouns (badges or write on a name tag)?
  • Support for neurodiverse participants: Will quiet spaces be made available for neurodiverse folk and/or attendees with sensory processing issues?
  • Support for participants with special needs: Will there be closed captions and/or transcripts available to remote attendees and how will this be advertised before and during the conference? Will there be any assistance for in-person participants with movement impediment? What measures will be taken to ensure the health of participants with low or compromised immunity?
  • What are your protocols for dealing with potential conflicts and complaints (who should people approach for help)? And what processes are in place to address these issues in a timely manner?

8. Other Considerations
It is recommended that proposers produce a basic financial plan to estimate incoming and outgoing monies for the conference depending on different levels of attendance and financial support. Issues such as how any loss will be accounted for should be dealt with, as DiGRA cannot currently offer any financial guarantee. Procedures should be in place so that in the event that the conference makes a profit, DiGRA will receive 30% of this. The association will use this towards developing funds to support conference costs for some students or researchers coming from economically unstable countries.

A Conference License Agreement will need to be signed by the representatives of the conference organizer and DiGRA. This will detail all the arrangements and specifications of the planning and execution of the conference. The Agreement must be signed before the actual conference arrangements are set in motion.

The DiGRA executive board is accepting letters of interest on an ongoing basis.

Completed proposals should be submitted via DiGRA Call for Host Form, available online: DiGRA Call for Hosts (google.com)

Letters of interest, general enquiries about the conference hosting call, requests for details of the License Agreement, etc., should be directed to DiGRA official email: wirman@itu.dk.

Become a DiGRA Member

Join the premier international association for professionals, academics, developers and other individuals interested in the evolving fields of digital gaming and game studies.