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March 8, 2014

PhD dissertation defense Nicolle Lamerichs

We have another upcoming PhD dissertation defense to mention here: our colleague Nicolle Lamerichs will defend her thesis Productive Fandom: Intermediality and Affective Reception in Fan Cultures at Maastricht University. Here's the teaser text from the back cover of the dissertation:

Loners, geeks, fanatics - fans have often been misunderstood and ridiculed in popular media. Productive Fandom proves this imagery to be false and offers a media ethnography of fan cultures as they are lived: social, creative and felt spaces of productive reception. Fans appropriate populare culture to suit their alternative tastes.
Written from an insider's perspective, Productive Fandom explores these rich subcultures that provide new insights on the shared spaces of consumers, producers and media texts. Productive Fandom shows that fans are above all creative. They write their own stories, "cosplay" in their own dresses and invent their own games. Fandom is a rich and vibrant culture of rewriting - a formation of media spaces and audiences that come together online and offline.
Fandom gets more complex as media franchises are distributed across different platforms and audiences translate a television text from one medium to the other. Intermediality is a core concept in this study that shows the diversity of contemporary fandom by studying fans of Sherlock, Glee, Firefly and other popular franchises. The book addresses both scholars and fans and tackles broader questions about production hierarchies, gender, sexuality, play and affect. 

The defense ceremony will take place on March 26, at 12.00, at the Maastricht University Aula,  Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht.  

February 28, 2014

PhD dissertation defense Teresa De la Hera Conde-Pumpido

We are proud to announce the upcoming PhD dissertation defense of our colleague Teresa De la Hera Conde-Pumpido. The title of her thesis is Persuasive Structures in Advergames: Conveying Advertising Messages Through Digital Games, and here's a short summary:

The evolution of the game industry and changes in the advertising landscape in recent years have led to a keen interest of marketers in using digital games for advertising purposes. Digital games specifically designed for a brand with the aim of conveying an advertising message, are known as advergames.
The increasing interest in the use of digital games as a marketing strategy is undoubtedly related to the development of new technologies and the proliferation of broadband and mobile devices and the closely popularization of digital games. However, despite the increasing interest in this marketing strategy, marketers and marketing companies still need more knowledge about the potential of digital games as a medium to convey advertising messages. This thesis aims at broadening the understanding of how advertising messages can be embedded within digital games.
In this thesis an interdisciplinary framework is used in order to outline a theoretical model aiming to structure the existing knowledge to help explain how persuasive communication works within digital games.

You are welcome to join us at the defense ceremony, which will take place on Monday March 17, between 12:45 and 13:45, in the Academiegebouw (Senaatszaal) in Utrecht. More information can be found here.

January 30, 2014

Graduate Program Game Research at Utrecht University

We are delighted to be able to announce that Utrecht University is on the verge of starting a Graduate Program in Game Research for selected (research) master students participating in one of the participating programs:

Game and Media Technology 
Media and Performance Studies
Artificial Intelligence
Computing Science 
Business Informatics 

Within this graduate program Game Research, excellent student can be offered a PhD position on a research project written by themselves. There is room for four such PhD positions, two starting September 2015, two starting in September 2016. The PhD positions are funded by the NWO Graduate Program

For more information on how to apply for admission to the Graduate Program Game Research, please go the the program's website HERE

July 3, 2013

1 Post-doc, 2 PhD positions in Game Studies

Utrecht University (UU), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) are looking for highly motivated Postdoc and PhD candidates who consider it a challenge to conduct their research in the context of a collaborative research project funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) on Persuasive Gaming. From Theory-based Design to Validation and Back. The project is a collaboration between UU, TU/e, EUR and a number of Dutch game developers.

Project description

The research in this collaborative project is concerned with the characteristics, design principles, and effectiveness of persuasive gaming. We study gaming practices that combine the dissemination of information with attempts to engage players in particular behaviors and attitudes. The project has three subprojects: two PhD projects and one Postdoc project. The PhD projects focus on design principles (TU/e) and validation (EUR), the Postdoc project focuses on the persuasive dimensions of serious games (UU).

For more information, click here.

June 30, 2013

Funding for European summer school in game research

Together with our partner universities, we have received funding of 60,000 euro for an ERASMUS Intensive Programme ‘Identity and Interdisciplinarity in Games and Play Research’. Together with four other Dutch en thirteen foreign universities we will organize a short programme of study in the form of a Summer School in games and play research, in 2014 in Utrecht (16-31 August)

The main objective of the Summer School is to strengthen the European excellence in games and play research by providing a two-week intensive course and workshop in this interdisciplinary field. It aims to teach excellent PhD and MA/MSc students the state-of-the art theories and methods of game and play research. The current situation is such that students who are interested in the study of games and play have limited opportunities to broaden their horizon internationally, let alone to study this subject interdisciplinary. The goal is to fill this hiatus by offering an innovative interdisciplinary platform for learning about games and play that doesn’t yet exist anywhere in Europe or beyond.

More information about the Summer School can be found here

About ERASMUS Intensive programmes:

An Intensive Programme (IP) is a short programme of study which brings together students and teaching staff from higher education institutions of at least three participating countries. It can last from 10 continuous full days to 6 weeks of subject related work.

June 26, 2013

PhD Defense Teun Dubbelman: Narratives of Being There: Computer Games, Presence and Fictional Worlds

On July 9 2014, our colleague Teun Dubbelman will defend his PhD dissertation, entitled Narratives of Being There: Computer Games, Presence and Fictional Worlds. Feel free to attend the ceremony!

When: 9/7/2013 10.30
Where: Academiegebouw - Domplein 29, Utrecht

The full dissertation can be found HERE, but here's the abstract:
Narrative game designer, or simply narrative designer, is a role in contemporary computer game development. The narrative designer is responsible for designing the player’s experience of a game’s fictional world. This study delves into the practice of narrative design from the perspective of embodied presence. In comparison with books, movies and other media, the medium of computer games excels in offering the media user the feeling of being a physically present participant in the fictional world. When exploiting the merits of embodied presence, narrative designers are challenged to express fictional worlds without disrupting this feeling of “being-there”. Close-ups, flashbacks, ellipses and other narrative devices–common to other audio-visual media–cannot be employed to the same extent. This study reconceptualises and apposes the notions of presence and narrative by critically expanding on Presence Theory, phenomenological media theory and narratology. Drawing from insights and practices in game, film, performance, architecture and literature studies, the study subsequently proposes alternative narrative devices, more compatible with the interactive and spatial nature of computer games, enabling designers to express fictional worlds while maintaining the player’s feeling of embodied presence.