Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Media-ludic approaches: Critical reflections on games and research practice

Emma Witkowski at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and I will be editors of an upcoming special issue on "Media-ludic approaches: Critical reflections on games and research practice."

The deadline is September 1st 2017, the journal is the Danish mixed-language (English, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish) journal MedieKultur, with Kjetil Sandvik as main editor and Claus Toft-Nielsen as issue editor, and I can't wait to start the labour of love it will be to edit these articles. (and I wrote that with a straight face. I am discovering that I like editing.)

MedieKultur is open access, which in these times of insane pay-walls and publishing fees means you don't pay to publish and you don't pay to read! Media, Culture and Communication studies are also very strong and well developed in Denmark, which means that the articles will find a good audience and be treated by solid editors (beyond me and Emma). So since you are now almost convinced, here are the submission guidelines for authors.

From the CFP (Do go read the whole thing, it's not all that long and there's useful information):
The goals of this volume are in part to:
  • Explore questions on games and media studies methods, collaborations and productions, and to ignite critical considerations of existing and imaginable alternative instruments of study.
  • Examine the gaps and precarious methods in games research methods, for example covert ethnographic research, big data, socio-phenomenographical research, approaches to mixed methods (qualitative-quantitative) research, and small or single case studies.
  • Question how research concepts from the study of games have travelled and how they are exportable to media and communications and other game/play fields.
  • Expand on how the study of games raises new practical and ethical questions of established user/audience methods and theories.

By focusing on the question of methods in games research and media studies, this edition of MedieKultur presents a collection of innovative research perspectives, which can reach beyond the growing field of game studies and engage with interrelated subject areas such as audience studies, media sport studies, digital broadcasting, political economy, and leisure cultures research.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Life in Copenhagen: The great outdoors!

When I moved here I can from perhaps one of the most beautiful places imaginable. Walking among the fjords and mountains on the west coast of Norway, there is always something breathtaking to look at. The landscape challenges you physically by making every road a climb or descent, and emotionally by the endless shocks of breathtaking natural splendour. Even in the middle of the city, nature forces itself on you.
Ålesund: photo from Sunnmørsposten

Moving to Copenhagen, I expected to spend a lot more time inside. Museums, galleries, plays, movies, libraries, cafés, restaurants - I expected to never see sunlight again. That was until I discovered how easy it is to be outside when the nature isn't constantly forcing itself on you. Rather than slogging through sleet, slipping on ice or trotting through rain up steep hills and then going "screw this, let's just all leave at the same time and grab the car", I now roll easily along every morning and afternoon on my bike. When I go shopping I get on the bike or just walk along well kept sidewalks and past beautiful parks and buildings. In the summer half of the year I go for longer rides, taking the 45 minutes to visit friends outside the city center or to reach a nice beach or a larger park. The bike or my feet is how I get around when I am not getting on a plane. Even then I walk to the metro rather than call a cab, because the metro is just so much quicker to the airport.

Random balcony, random cat.

And then there's the aspect of doing things outside that I'd otherwise do inside. In Volda I had a large garden and terrace and a fantastic view. However, I also had a very short summer season with lots of rain and low temperatures, heavy winds even on really warm and sunny days (particularly then, due to the temperature differences land/sea causing strong winds), making it a rare occasion when I could sit outside. Here, once the temperature moves above 15 degrees, I can wrap up and move outside. The balcony offers a new room for entertainment and relaxation, but also for work. I invite friends for drinks and tapas, I spend the evenings wrapped in a blanket watching movies or series or just playing games, and have working days at home when I grade papers and write articles among the herbs and flowers on the balcony. All in all, through a year, I am pretty certain I spend a lot more time outside here than I did living in all of that spectacular nature. This is a cultivated landscape, designed for humans to move around in, to use fully.

But then I go back north, and I wonder...
Hjørundfjorden: Photo from Vikabladet