DiGRA: Candidate for Executive Board – Mia Consalvo (President)

(note: This statement has been updated – Mia Consalvo was originally running for the liasion officer position)

Statement of interest: DiGRA President

I am currently the Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal, and prior to that I worked at MIT, Ohio University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I have been active in DIGRA since it was created. I was part of the original group that formed the association and wrote its bylaws, and I served as the first Secretary of the organization. In addition to helping establish a dedicated, international forum for games research, I have also been active in promoting such work in other organizations with obvious ties, including the Association of Internet Researchers (where I was most recently President and continue to serve now as Past-President). I have also participated in (and would work to promote greater ties with) the International Communication Association, which has a Game Studies Special Interest Group, and the Foundations of Digital Games conference, where I currently serve as Program Co-chair. I am also on the advisory board of the Virtual Policy Network, and would be interested in doing more to promote ties between this group and DiGRA as well as similar initiatives.

I would like to be considered for the post of President of DiGRA. DiGRA has been in existence for a decade now, and has become a well known place for game studies scholars to gather, network and share information, particularly when their home disciplines may be less of a fit or less welcoming to game studies than they would like. But I believe that DiGRA is in a precarious situation, and needs careful guidance in the next few years for it to not simply maintain its place as ‘where’ game studies scholars go, but to become ‘the best place’ that game studies scholars go to talk about their work. No academic organization is perfect, and most run on volunteer efforts, but I think we need someone who is willing to firmly promote certain standards and ways of doing business, if we want DiGRA to be excellent, and recognized outside our small circle for that excellence.

In order to achieve that larger goal, I propose a few key initiatives if elected as President.

1. I would like us to rethink what we want from DiGRA conferences. We are not Communication Studies, Computer Science, or Philosophy—we are a mixture of disciplines, approaches and styles. While some disciplinary conferences include markers of achievement such as ACM publication of accepted papers (with high rejection rates), other disciplines approach the idea of a conference as a way to test new ideas, gain feedback, and then return to a research or writing project with those insights in mind. I believe we should think clearly about what we want and need from DiGRA before attempting to mimic other organizations. Is DiGRA our ‘primary’ conference or a secondary one for most attendees, after their disciplinary conference? If it is not primary, are there ways to make it valuable without turning it into a highly selective group? Do we want to encourage finished projects, debating current issues and theories, or generating insights to carry out in later work? Are there mechanisms—such as the recently launched ToDiGRA journal, that can help those who need publication as a way to justify their attendance? Are there other ways to make the conference valuable without double-blind peer review? We need to investigate these questions and make our conference something with a direction and focus of its own—not a copy of where we come from. I would like to investigate these questions with the membership and give DiGRA a clear direction for how it should proceed and what its conferences should be like, at least on a broader scale.

2. Lower attendance fees for conferences. This is not a problem unique to DiGRA- every other academic organization I have been involved with has struggled with this challenge. But given the precariousness of academic labor these days, I believe it’s irresponsible to tell young scholars (both graduate students and new professors) that they need to attend conferences that cost them hundreds of dollars. I would like to investigate ways to lower attendance fees through creative hosting, stronger consideration of travel costs, and building a fund to help finance travel for young scholars.

3. Yearly conferences. Momentum is often lost when DiGRA only meets every two years. I believe that either having a yearly large DiGRA gathering, or alternately a ‘core’ DiGRA every two years and more ‘off year’ events such as Nordic DiGRA is a good way to start. Thus encouraging efforts such as a DiGRA North America or DiGRA Europe would be a way to keep conversations going and collaborations forming, if we are not yet ready for a yearly DiGRA conference. Finally, experimenting with a virtual off-year conference would be another possibility.

If you are interested in more information about my past service or current research, please consult my profile at http://concordia.academia.edu/MiaConsalvo/.

DiGRA Board Elections 2012
Information on the DiGRA Association Rules and Bylaws can be found here:

The elections will take place at the AGM being held at Nordic DiGRA on June 7, 2012 between 9-10 am, Technopolis Yliopistonrinne building, Kalevantie 2, Tampere, Finland. Provisions will be made for voting online. Details will be posted on the DiGRA newsfeed as well as the mailing list.

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.