CFP: Adult Play

Call for Papers: Adult Play
Game Studies Spring Seminar
11-12 May, 2015, University of Tampere, FINLAND

People of all ages engage in play activities, yet play is still easily associated with children. The rhetorics of play are often tied to ideas of progression; play prepares and teaches children and playing is beneficial for adolescents. Adults, in turn, are expected not to play significantly, their play is often called by other names or goes unrecognized, and the rhetorics attached to it are different. Yet, as games and play are becoming more visible elements in the society, also the alibis that allow play appear to as important for adults, who are also in some contexts expected to play games, to hang on to their toys, and to favour ‘playful’ technologies. Yet, there are also counter-reactions when forms of play are clearly designed for a mature audience.

The seminar welcomes contributions relating to all types of play adults engage in, whether it is discussed under the banner of games, hobbies, pastimes, collectibles, fitness, fun, or fandom. What is particular about adult play?

The possible list of topics includes but is not limited to:
– Mature themes in games
– Digital games and aging
– Changing play patterns in changing life phases
– Elderly players
– Adult toys
– Player identities in adulthood
– Play and work in adult life
– Designing for adults
– Issues of parenthood and game play
– Cross-generational play
– Adult play industry
– Game industry, a mature industry?
– Hobbies, pastimes, collectibles, fan practices as play

Adult Play is the 11th annual spring seminar organized by University of Tampere Game Research Lab. The seminar emphasises work-in-progress submissions, and we strongly encourage submitting late breaking results, working papers and submissions from graduate students. The purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on extended abstract review. Full papers are distributed prior the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion. The seminar is looking into partnering with a journal so that the best papers would be invited to be further developed for publication in a special journal issue. In the past we have collaborated with Simulation & Gaming, International Journal of Role-Playing and ToDiGRA journals.

The seminar will be chaired by Professor Frans Mäyrä (School of Information Sciences, University of Tampere). There will also be two invited commentators, to be announced later.

The seminar will be held in Tampere, Finland and will be free of charge; the number of participants will be restricted.

Important Dates
– Abstract Deadline: 23 February, 2015
– Notification of Acceptance: 10 March, 2015
– Full Paper deadline: 20 April, 2015
– Seminar dates: 11-12 May, 2015

Submission Guidelines
The papers will be selected for presentation based on extended abstracts of 500-1000 words (plus references). Abstracts should be sent to as plain text only (no attachments). Full paper guidelines will be provided with the notification of acceptance.
Our aim is that all participants can familiarize themselves with the papers in advance. Therefore, the maximum length for a full paper is 5000 words (plus references). The seminar presentations should encourage discussion, instead of repeating the information presented in the papers. Every paper will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 20 minutes.

Seminar website:
Organised by:
University of Tampere / SIS / Game Research Lab

2 responses to “CFP: Adult Play”

  1. First and foremost, I plan to make the toys/tools I create through this project accessible on a website (either a subpage of my personal website, or a new website with the project’s title). This website will not only include access to the tools/toys I develop, but also to information about my research. I think it is vital that my digital toy box, as well as the research ideas I develop in its production, be searchable on the Internet.  This will be the most passive method for dissemination- archiving the fruits of my labor so that, at the very least, some Googler may stumble upon my thoughts at some point in the future.
    Depending on the backend requirements and popularity of the digital toy box, I may have to set up a dedicated web server and upgrade my hosting service. For me, making forward-thinking strategic choices and investments on the backend is crucial to the process. If page load times are too slow, visitors won’t stick around. If the digital toy box makes the tasks it is supposed to improve more time consuming and more frustrating, nobody will want to use them.
    Having a dedicated web space for my project also allows me to easily share my project with networks on social media.  On Facebook, several of the preliminary research question commenters already expressed an interest in the outcomes of my research. While not necessarily a productive method of reaching professional or academic audiences, it’s reassuring to know that I may have the opportunity to add playfulness to my friends and family, even those I can’t see or talk to on a regular basis.
    Twitter, on the other hand, allows me the opportunity to reach out to scholars and organizations who may be interested in my research. By reaching out to individuals on Twitter, I not only have the opportunity to share my research efforts, but I can also build relationships with thought leaders who may be willing to help spread my research to their own networks (whether it be a retweet on Twitter or a link on their blog/website.)
    I can use niche hashtags to reach audiences I may not be able to through other media.  Using hashtags, I have the opportunity to frame my research to be culturally relevant based on trending topics of conversation.  I can also develop a hashtag dedicated for tweets associated with my digital toy box (possibly #digitaltoybox, as it doesn’t seem to have any already adopted meaning) and hope that the hashtag catches on and gains popularity on Twitter.
    Because goal is to reach modern workers, LinkedIn may also serve as a valuable resource for dissemination of my research findings. Emphasizing the work-life balance aspects of my research may help make to make it culturally relevant on that medium. As play is often considered the antithesis to work (the reason most people are on LinkedIn in the first place), I think successful dissemination of my research findings on LinkedIn will rely on appropriate framing and phrasing.
    Because I will be pursuing the MA Project path, my research may not reap the benefits of the traditional academic institutional dissemination (ProQuest), however, I hope to share both the written portion and technical components of my research at least one conference, which will increase my research visibility within academia, and may also increase the chances of having my work published somewhere.
    I will apply/have applied to participate in the Roundtable presentations at The Association for the Study of Play 41st Annual International Conference in San Antonio, Texas in March, 2015. This year’s theme is “Play Across the Lifespan”. If my proposal is accepted, I will have the opportunity to present my in-progress research during three informal 20-minute presentations. If I attend this conference, I will be able to share my research progress with fellow play scholars, as well as gain input before the final version of my project is submitted.
    Call for Papers:
    I also plan to submit an abstract to “Adult Play,” the 11th annual spring seminar organized by University of Tampere Game Research Lab in Finland. The seminar will explore all of the various types of play that adults engage in, and one of the suggested topics in the Call for papers is “Play and work in adult life” so I think my research is a good fit.
    The seminar takes place May 11-12, 2015 in Finland. The deadline to submit an abstract is February 23, 2015. If accepted, my paper would be disseminated to all conference participants, and would have the possibility of being published in a partner journal. I would have 10 minutes to present my research, and 20 minutes to facilitate a discussion about it.
    Call for Papers:
    The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) 2015 Conference theme is “Diversity of play: Games – Cultures – Identities” and will be hosted by the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany May 14-17, 2015. The Call for papers states that, “DiGRA 2015 seeks to encourage questions about the ‘Diversity of play’, with a focus on the multiple different forms, practices and identities labeled as games and/or game culture.” While I don’t think I would consider my digital toy box a game, per se, there are others who may argue that it is a different type of game than what we would traditionally consider a game. I think this conference would provide an interesting opportunity to present my research on playfulness in work under the topic “Gaming in non-leisure settings” and facilitate a dialogue about how play can be encouraged in work situations in some way other than gamification. The submission deadline is January 22, 2015.
    Call for papers:
    The Games+Learning+Society (GLS) Conference will be held July 8-10, 2014 at the Univeristy of Madison-Wisconsin’s Memorial Union in Madison, WI. The GLS Conference is a “forum for games researchers, game designers, and educators from around the world to share results from research and game design efforts.” While this conference focuses specifically on games for learning, my digital toy box may be well received as an alternative to rules-based games. Although my specific research is intended to focus on adult play, it is possible that the tools/toys I create may be adapted for use by other audiences. A Call for papers has not been released yet, however, based on last year’s conference timeline and details, it is likely that I will have the opportunity to submit the final version of my project (as submitted to my committee, with time to make any necessary revisions) as a Presentation, Working Example or Workshop.
    Conference Information:
    The 2015 CHI Conference is for professionals exploring Human Computer Interaction – how humans interact with digital technologies. The conference is hosted by The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). At the conference, businesses and universities “share ground-breaking research and innovations related to how humans interact with digital technologies.” 2015’s conference theme is “Crossings”. One of influential papers I’ve read on “digital manipulatives” was authored for this conference (Resnick et al, 1998). I am considering submitting my research for the Student Research Competition. The deadline to submit an abstract is January 5, 2015.
    Call for submissions:
    Serious Play Conference is the annual meeting of the Serious Games Association. The dates for the 2015 conference have not been announced yet, but in 2014, the conference was held at the end of July. Assuming a similar timeline, I may be able to attend the conference (either as a presenter or participant) and share my digital toy box with other conference attendees. This conference is appealing because it appears to have a pretty heavy industry following. Sharing information about my digital toy box with industry professionals who are already interested in discovering new methods of incorporating serious play into work could prove to be invaluable for the dissemination of my research and the adoption of my digital toy box by modern workers.
    Conference Information:
    The International Academic Conference on Meaningful Play presents research from a combination of both academic and industry professionals. The Meaningful Play Games Exhibition may allow me to disseminate my digital toy box. The Conference has already taken place for this academic year, however, and details have not been released for 2015’s conference.
    Conference Games Exhibition Information:
    Other conferences I plan to keep an eye out for in the future include the World Congress of Play and the US Play Coalition on the Value of Play
    Depending on my success at disseminating my research through aforementioned routes, I also aim to have my research recognized by websites such as Lifehacker or CreativeBloq that provide resources for creatives.   If my project is very successful, I will consider entering The Webby Awards in 2015 for the Best Web Services & Applications.

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