Aesthetics in play: new platforms, new perspectives, new players

If you work in the games industry and would like to do a presentation at next year’s Women in Games or contribute in some other way but do not want to write an academic paper then contact Emma Westecott at or in Ireland, Aphra Kerr.


Over the past 3 years, The Women in Games conference has become the European forum for women working in and around the computer games industry. The event is characterised by its mix of women from industry, the academy and other sectors of society united in their passion for games. WIG 2007 is interested in continuing this tradition and broadening the dialogue on games to a wider context by seeking contributions from more traditional media disciplines, gender studies and the ICT sector.

Games combine visually led, screen-based arts with performance media to create a gaming experience. The art of gaming is one of action; it is about the player and their performance within the game context. Further than this it is of interest to deepen our exploration of what the unique characteristics of the game experience are in order to celebrate and expose new form, WIG is in a unique position to express a feminine perspective on these possibilities.

Working from the perspective that digital games are a modern expressive art form, increasingly culturally recognised as such, WIG 2007 invites a focus on game aesthetics, performance and play in the context of the following strands:

1. The Big Game
There are a handful of games that have broken out to become international bestsellers that appeal to all types of player and are commonly acknowledged to be mass market. We invite detailed analysis and readings of games in this category in order to better understand why and how these titles transcend existing markets.

2. Other Players
We all play in different ways and from different contexts, and yet the notion of mass market often caters to the lowest common denominator, chasing the tail of last year�s top sellers to justify huge development budgets. In our fractured post modern environment the possibility for cheaper product focussed at niche markets is growing. This strand seeks to explore a range of play contexts and styles in order to expose and celebrate other players.

3. Non-Games
The interrelationship between play and digital games cannot be taken as read; many game tasks are repetitive and tedious, more like work than play.
At the same time there is much digital play that takes place outside the game frame. This strand calls for submissions that explore the ways in which playfulness can open up possibilities for new form of experience.

4. The Performance of Play
It has been 20 years since Brenda Laurel�s initial research linking computers and theatre; further work has recently emerged celebrating performance aspects of game play within the context of digital game form. We invite contributions that explore what performance means in the game play context.

5. Situated Play/ers
We would be particularly interested in presentations or workshops that looked at games in the context of digital consumption more generally. Here we would welcome contributions from those interested in studying games in relation to broader issues around domestic leisure forms particularly those which are able to draw from or develop the work in feminist media studies and research from within the field of study of ICT uses and practices. We are also actively seeking to encourage wider considerations of embodiment and aesthetic practices in game play.

The problem of encouraging women into the ICT industries are manifold and any efforts to encourage a broader gender balance need to operate on a range of levels, from childhood upwards. It is vital to encourage girls and women to be confident and comfortable working with technology and to provide strong and visible role models for this and the next generation of game designers.

Key Dates:
20/11/06 Call for Abstracts released
26/01/07 Submission deadline
16/03/07 Notification

Types of submission:
Submissions can be made within the following categories: full paper, short paper, poster, panel or student forum. All submissions will be anonymously peer-reviewed by the Women in Games steering committee.

for full details on different types of submissions, formats and cover sheets see

Other Important dates:
01/04/07 Speakers/Contributors Registration Deadline

15/04/07 Deadline for Open Registration

19-21/04/07 Women in Games 2007

Venue: University of Wales, Newport.