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Gender Summit 11

By Karen In the opening ceremony of Gender Summit 11 (North America), B. Mario Pinto, the president of NSERC told us that throughout the conference we would broaden our understanding of diversity. Scientists and those of us invested in diversity, he said, need to fully embrace creativity in their thinking and to fully consider the possibilities of change. We need to think about how and where diversity can be employed for greater impact. He said, “science has no borders, just frontiers,” and if we leverage the power of diversity we can conquer the big challenges that humanity faces, namely climate change and the global migration/refugee crisis. Scientists, he reminded us, have a social responsibility to continue good science and to ensure it is applied for the greater good. His message was clear – with good science and diversity in our toolkit, humanity can save itself. The final speaker of the opening ceremony was Kevin Deer, Elder from the Mohawk people. He welcomed us to this land and reminded us of its long history. He acknowledged the earth as our mother, and pointed out that as children we are all of her bosom and that she continues to give us all […]
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Identity Innovation: Video Games beyond Video Games

Daniel Harley   In Ottawa, the official Canada logo is everywhere: “Canada,” with the Canadian flag over the ‘a.’ It’s on government buildings, it’s on signs, on the train that rolled me into town. I’m seeing it enough to finally realize that it is on purpose. Canada’s Federal Identity Program: a brand. I’m attending a one-day conference called Beyond Entertainment: How Video Games are Driving Innovation, sponsored by the Entertainment Software Association of Canada (ESAC). Their stated goal is to “learn more about how a fast-growing entertainment sector is now also driving efficiency and innovation in other sectors of the economy.” The conference is held in a theatre at the Canadian War Museum. A roomful of men, mostly. This is a conference about technology, about games, about industry, about innovation. It is also unintentionally about gender: of the 21 speakers/panelists, only three are women. Discursively, government and industry appear to meet under buzzwords: the ubiquitous, dynamic, immersive, superclusters of multidisciplinary innovation. “Innovation,” says Tanya Woods of ESAC, “has multisectoral applicability.” There are four sessions to demonstrate the reach of games beyond games: Graphics, Healthcare, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence. In each of the sessions, the speakers discuss […]
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Monday Night Seminar: Automating Injustice

Sarah Sharma The “Monday Night Seminar” carries on the tradition of Marshall McLuhan’s public seminars at the University of Toronto. All seminars take place from 6 – 8pm within the same intimate Coach House setting where McLuhan once held court. In this up-close and personal environment, a range of thinkers – academics, activists, scientists, artists, designers and planners – will explore digital culture from a feminist perspective. The Monday Night Seminars are designed to challenge prevailing cultural notions about technology and provoke new insight on the possibilities for a more equitable technological future. MCLUHAN CENTRE WEBSITE http://www.chi.utoronto.ca Event Page on Eventbrite
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The Truly Terrific Traveling Troubleshooter at QGCon 2017

By Jess Marcotte Here is a bit of context for those who may not know me. The 2017 Queerness and Games conference was my first queer games conference as an out nonbinary queer person, having come out in 2016. It is only in the past few years that I have been exposed to language that described my personal experiences with gender and sexuality, and there was some time between knowing the words and deciding that I should come out. Going to QGCon this year, therefore, had a fair bit of personal significance for me. I started making games in January 2013, and my work as a designer addresses intersectional feminist issues. [If you are interested in my work, you can find out more at http://jeka.games] For this year’s Queerness and Games conference, I was there to showcase a game called The Truly Terrific Traveling Troubleshooter, which is a physical/digital hybrid game about emotional labour, radical softness, and the “traveling other.” What I mean by emotional labour is “the frequently invisible work of caring, keeping othersí in mind and taking their needs into account, managing oneís own mood and masking so-called ‘unpleasant’ emotions for the benefit of others, managing other peopleís […]
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FEMINIST WAR GAME JAM

The proposition of a feminist war game is a potentially uneasy one. War is traditionally the arena of men and hyper masculinity while women, LGBTQIA+ persons and people of colour are most often marginalized and victimized by war. Critical questions could be raised about the relationship between masculine systems and violence, questions that could be addressed in relation to the wealth of conflict-based games on the market. A feminist war game might also present historical anti-war feminist activism, re-humanize the dehumanizing and objectifying functions of traditional military systems, or subvert the mechanism of war. The aim of this game jam is to have conversations about feminism and war through the creation of games. WHERE AND WHEN Dates: March 24-26 (Friday 6pm – 9pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am – 5pm) Location: OCAD, 230 Richmond Street W (3rd Floor Lab) To register please email [email protected] This jam will be held in a feminist space, and while open to all, please consult our safer spaces policy before registering. Participants will receive a small honoraria for taking part. Healthy breakfast and lunch to suit a variety of diets will also be provided on the Saturday and Sunday.
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IS IT A JAM? IS IT A FAMILY?

By Gina Hara Last weekend, we gathered around a fake fireplace to create, code, knit, pet pets, share knowledge and support each other in making games. This was the fourth year of the game-making marathon we like to call GAMERella. 48 people made a game this year – more than ever. In addition, 81% of the participants identified as women or non-binary and over half of them made their very first game at GAMERella. This is important to us because GAMERella’s main goal is to create change on a foundational level, for people whose stories have not yet been heard through the medium of games. As always, the jam was preceded by a series of workshops on some basic game making tools to empower people and allow them to meet other like-minded folks, as well as to teach them entry-level game making skills. The workshops were given by members of the TAG Research Centre and other generous volunteer game makers. Some of these workshops are available online! Fourteen games were made at the Montreal location and several more by people who jammed from home or in Poitiers, France at our sattelite location. Many of the games created can be seen […]
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ReFiG Call for Project Proposals 2016

ReFiG is now in its sophomore year. Dedicated to supporting work that promotes diversity, inclusion and equity in games across the sectors of formal education, informal learning, the game industry and games/cultures, we invite applications for project funding. Projects may involve the development of games, the provision of skills relevant to game making or community-focused projects. However, all must include a research agenda. This call for projects is specifically targeted, looking for work in subject areas that represent significant research gaps in terms of gender, intersectional identities and games. Other projects will be considered, but priority will be given to research related to the topics detailed below. Applicants must apply under one of our 4 sectors. The objectives of these sectors are detailed below as well as potential project themes. Funding between $1,000 and $10,000 CAD can be applied for. GAMES/CULTURE Games do not exist in a vacuum — they are products and producers of culture. As cultural artifacts, they are not just played, but watched, traded, critiqued, modded, and (theory)hacked. They are played alone at night before sleep, and in front of millions in international livestreamed tournaments; they are watched in between bouts of homework, and in bars and […]
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2016 CONFERENCE

Our annual conference is rapidly approaching. The conference is taking place at Concordia University in Montreal on October 28th & 29th with workshops and a social on the 27th. Check out our schedule refig-2016-speaker-schedule-final and register for our workshops and keynotes refig-workshops-2016_10-14.
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FEMINIST MIX TAPE GAME JAM

The Feminist Mix Tape Game Jam is a two-day event in collaboration with the UK’s XX+ Jam and supported by ReFiG. This jam invites women, trans persons, non-binary folk and allies to participate. The feminist focus asks participants to create a game in response to a piece of music from our feminist playlist (the browser version is a bit quirky but works fine if opened in the free Spotify App). The interpretation can be literal, figurative, abstract, based on a single lyric, the artwork or music video associated with the song, or concerned with the artist themselves. The game for is also flexible: digital or analogue, it’s up to you. Date & Time: Friday October 14 6-10pm & Saturday October 15 10am-6pm. Location: OCAD, 230 Richmond Street W (3rd Floor Lab). To apply please send an email with “Feminist Mix Tape” in the subject line to [email protected] and include 1) your name, 2) 2 lines about why you want to participate, 3) if you have any dietary requirements, need child care, or accommodations for disabilities. Care ethics at our jam: We have a safer space policy in place. You can find out more details here. We also strive to be […]
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Hive Mind or Internet Mob Podcast

Recently, our Postdoctoral Research Fellow Emily Flynn-Jones was on a panel with the excellent Brianna Wu at Spur Festival in Winnipeg. They talked about gender, harassment, inequity and a more inclusive future for gaming. You can listen to the panel here.
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