[Humanist] 26.987 events: learning from games

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Apr 24 07:07:26 CEST 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 987.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Tue, 23 Apr 2013 18:45:25 +0100
        From: Stuart Dunn <stuart.dunn at kcl.ac.uk>
        Subject: CeRch Seminar, King's College London: "Learning from Games at the Digital Humanities Campsite"

CeRch Seminar, King's College London

"Learning from Games at the Digital Humanities Campsite"
Erik Champion, Aarhus University

Tuesday April 30th 2013, 18.15

Anatomy Theatre and Museum
Strand Campus, King's College London 


Some critics may have you believe that computer game studies lack 
theoretical rigor, that games cannot afford meaningful experiences. I 
agree with them, sometimes, but I also believe that a richer 
understanding of computer games is possible, and that this understanding 
can shed some light on related issues in the wider field of Digital 

My main area of research has been designing and evaluating how 
contextually appropriate interaction can aid the understanding of 
cultures distant in time, space, and in understanding to our own. This 
field is sometimes called Virtual Heritage. In Virtual Heritage, tools 
of choice are typically virtual reality environments, and the projects 
are very large in scale, complexity, and cost, while my projects are 
often prototypes and experimental designs. I have many challenges, for 
example,  morphing technological constraints into cultural affordances, 
and avoiding possible confusion between artistic artifice and historical 
accuracy, all the while evaluating intangible concepts in a systematic 
way without disturbing the participants' sense of immersion. To help me 
judge the success or failure of these projects I have shaped some 
working definitions of games, culture, cultural understanding, cultural 
inhabitation, and place. However, these concepts and definitions are not 
enough. I also have to now tackle the issues of simulated violence, 
artificial "other" people, the temptation of entertainment masquerading 
as education, and the difficulties inherent in virtually evoking a sense 
of ritual.

  My lecture, then, is a discussion into how game-based learning, and 
the study of culture, heritage and history, might meaningfully intersect.


Dr Erik Champion is Project Leader of the new Digital Humanities Lab 
Denmark, led by a consortium of four Danish universities, and he is also 
a task head for DARIAH.eu  http://dariah.eu/ . Until 2012 he was an 
Associate Professor and the Director of Postgraduate Studies and 
Research at the Auckland School of Design, Massey University, where he 
taught critical studies, design history, design research methods, and 
digital media. An Australian Research Council Scholarship supported his 
doctoral thesis on cultural learning in virtual environments, and the 
industry partner was Lonely Planet Publications.

His latest publication is the edited collection of chapters for "Game 
Mod Design Theory and Criticism" published by ETC Press in 2012, he also 
wrote "Playing with the Past", Springer, 2010. He has written a chapter 
on virtual heritage and digital history for the upcoming Oxford 
University Press Handbook of Virtuality, and he has edited or co-edited 
special issues for /Leonardo Online: Creative Data/, /Games & Culture/, 
/Techné/, /the International Journal of Architectural Computing (IJAC): 
Between Man and Machine/, and /the International Journal of Heritage 
Studies: Sense of Place/.

Past keynotes and invited talks have been for /u21: Interfaces - Digital 
studies of culture and cultural studies of the digital/, Sweden, 2012; 
/ESF:/ /Networked Humanities: Art in the Web/, Italy, 2010; /Virtual 
Systems and Multimedia/ /2007, /Australia; /Digital Applications in 
Cultural Heritage (DACH) 2007/, Taiwan; /State of Play 2007/, Singapore; 
and /Cyberarchaeology 2006,/ Spain.

Dr. Stuart Dunn
Centre for e-Research, Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
26-29 Drury Lane
London, WC2B 5RL

Email: stuart.dunn at kcl.ac.uk
Tel. +44 (0)20 7848 2709
Fax. +44 (0)20 7848 2980

Blog: http://stuartdunn.wordpress.com

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