DiGRA Solidarity Fund


We are happy to announce the second edition of the DiGRA Solidarity Fund! The fund is meant for providing scholars from less privileged countries with means to travel to the DiGRA international conference which will be held in Sevilla 19-23 June 2023.  Last year we provided travel funding for 5 scholars to attend the conference in Krakow. With a slightly increased budged we are aiming at providing travel funding for the same, or higher number of scholars this year.

The application period for the DiGRA International conference 2023 in Seville is from March 29th to April 12th, 2023. You can apply by filling out the form (here) and sending it, with a short CV (max 2 pages) and a recommendation letter (that confirms your situation regarding limited conference travel funding) to Miia Siutila (mimasi[at]utu.fi). The Solidarity Fund Committee aims to make the decisions regarding the award of funds by April 19th. All applicants will be personally informed on the decision.

Funds will be paid to each recipient as a stipend, according to their estimate of costs of travel and stay at the conference for its full duration (e.g., flights, hotel). The recipients will need to present receipts of the expenses to DiGRA Treasurer Jussi Holopainen, and they are expected to participate in the entire conference (not just a day or two).

If you have any questions, please email DiGRA secretary Miia Siutila (mimasi[at]utu.fi) or refer to the FAQ document.


DiGRA Solidarity Fund Committee:

Miia Siutila,  DiGRA secretary

Jussi Holopainen, DiGRA Treasurer

Mahli-Ann Butt, DiGRA ICO

Poonam Chowdhury, DiGRA Diversity Officer

Souvik Mukherjee, DiGRA Board Member

Sonia Fizek, DiGRA Board Member


DiGRA 2022 International Conference: July 7-11 in Krakow, Poland.

Due to a range of unavoidable circumstances, including issues created by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico, the 2022 DiGRA International Conference will not able to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico this year. While this is deeply disappointing, it is not entirely surprising.

Fortunately we have been able to identify a new venue, and I can now share details for our new plans.

The event will be held on July 7 -11 in Krakow, Poland, hosted by Jagiellonian University. The conference website has been updated with information about registration fees, travel and accommodation options (and other topics) here: http://digra2022.org.

A poll of our membership indicates that, currently, about 60% of the respondents intend to travel and 40% plan on participating remotely. Fortunately, the hosting team at Jagiellonian University has experience managing hybrid events, and those unable to travel should will be able to present their work and participate in the conference.

Although submissions are closed, we understand that many who had papers accepted at the cancelled 2020 Tampere event did not resubmit their papers to be presented this year. If you had a paper accepted in 2020 and have not resubmitted it for presentation this year, resubmissions are now open. These papers do not go through additional peer review: you would automatically be given a place in a session to present your work. You would still need to pay appropriate registration fees: these papers have already been distributed in the proceedings for the previous conference, so they will not be added to this year’s proceedings, but the former remain available for download from the digital library.

Many of the workshops scheduled for Guadalajara have been rescheduled for Krakow, and more will be added soon. Workshop organizers have been contacted by the local organizing committee and should have updated information about submission deadlines.

We wish to personally thank Tomasz Majkowski and his team at Jagiellonian University for this remarkable feat, while also sharing our appreciation for all the work of the Guadalajara organizing committee so far: We will be hearing more DiGRA news from Mexico in the future and hope that we will be able to meet there someday soon. In the meantime, here’s looking forward to seeing each other in Krakow this summer.

DiGRA Code of Conduct and Ombuds Team Official Launch!

The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) is pleased to announce the official launch of its Ombuds Team, an organizational ombuds program linked here, and its Code of Conduct, linked here.

Both of these efforts are intended to support DiGRA’s ongoing commitment to ensuring the organization and conference are welcoming, supportive, and safe space for scholars from many disciplines, countries, and communities. The Code of Conduct is a guide for professional behavior in DiGRA, and members are expected to conduct themselves according to its standards. The Ombuds is a service that will be available to all DiGRA members at any time before, during, and after the international conference each year, in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

The Ombuds Team is a confidential, informal, neutral, and independent resource for DiGRA community members, as well as conference and listserv participants (referred to as visitors), to safely discuss any concerns they may have related to the behaviors, activities, and events of DiGRA. The only (unlikely) exception to Ombuds confidentiality is if a visitor presents a risk of imminent harm to themselves or someone else, in which case the Ombuds must report it to law enforcement and the DiGRA Executive Board.

Conversations with the Ombuds Team are considered confidential, offering a safe place for people to discuss their concerns, understand all sides of an issue, and explore their options.  They are independent of the Executive Board, and will not share any identifiable information unless given explicit permission to do so by the visitor. The Ombuds Team does not serve in any formal or official reporting function. Likewise, the ombuds will not have the responsibility nor authority to investigate any issues raised or take any punitive actions.

The Ombuds can bring issues to leadership’s attention without any attribution, thereby serving as an independent voice. Ombuds do not advocate for any particular individual or group, instead, they advocate for fair processes and provide feedback on systemic trends. Instead, The Ombuds Team uses anonymous, aggregated data, so as to not breach the confidentiality of people using its services and to provide DiGRA with feedback, insights, and recommendations on systemic issues relating to the conference or DiGRA. The Ombuds follow the generally accepted standards of ombuds practice as espoused by the International Ombudsman Association (Found here: https://www.ombudsassociation.org/standards-of-practice-code-of-ethics-2 ). These standards define and guide all of their work, and also differentiate them from other functions.

For further information about the DiGRA Ombuds Team and the role of ombuds, please consult the FAQ.

To contact the DiGRA Ombuds Team, you can e-mail digra-ombuds@outlook.com. All e-mails are sent to a confidential inbox that is only accessible to the Ombuds. Please allow one (1) business day for them to respond.

If you have questions or concerns, you can also contact the DiGRA Executive Board at board@digra.org, or the Diversity Working Group at digra-diversity@googlegroups.com. The current DiGRA Diversity Officer is Cody Mejeur, they can be reached at codymeje@buffalo.edu.

DiGRA Call for Ombudspersons

The DiGRA Diversity Working Group is looking to find volunteers to help in the following positions:

  • Ombudsperson (2-3 people)
  • Ombudsperson Secretary (2-3 people).

We are seeking to appoint a small group of people to share the responsibility of acting as neutral representatives mediating between members of the association and the board to resolve complaints and address issues that arise within the organization and membership.

The idea behind a team with two roles is to ensure sustainability, stability, and continuity of these positions and the work of the group. Elected secretaries will move into officer roles after a period of mentorship (12 months).

The Ombudsperson roles are new positions within the DiGRA organization. Thus, the volunteers would be in a strong position to shape this role and to foster change in the short-term as well as for the future of the DiGRA community.

These roles are open to everyone.

Responsibilities for Ombudsperson Team:

  • The team becomes the first point of contact to raise any grievances and concerns.
  • The team revises, maintains, upholds and enforces the Code of Conduct for DiGRA (across Gamesnetwork, DiGRA’s Discord channel, DiGRA international and local conferences, etc. [See: http://www.digra.org/the-association/digra-mailing-lists/]).
  • The team feeds back to the DiGRA board on existing mechanisms for addressing complaints and, where necessary, proposes amendments.
  • The team liaisons between the DiGRA board, the Diversity Working Group, conference program chairs, and conference chairs to maintain fair practice standards for peer reviews.

Appointment: The Ombuds-Team will be appointed by DiGRA’s international board via the Diversity Working Group. The Diversity Working Group will work in collaboration with the Ombuds-Team to try to create and maintain better initiatives and responses to grievances, on behalf of the DiGRA community. To apply, please send a short statement (250 words) to the DiGRA Diversity Officer (Mahli-Ann Butt: mahli.ann.butt@gmail.com).

Term: 12-24 months

DiGRA Call for Conference Hosts


Digital Games Research Conference

The Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) has as a central goal the support of an international conference on digital gaming. Eleven conferences have taken place, with two more already planned for 2023 and 2024.  This document is a call for proposals for a committee and location to host the 2025 and 2026 DiGRA international games research conferences. Proposals for conference hosting in 2027 beyond are also welcome.

We particularly encourage hosts from countries which have historically been under-represented in games research, and from regions which have not yet hosted a DiGRA international conference (including the “global south”). Institutions wishing to put themselves forward should consider the following aims of DiGRA when putting their proposal together and highlight how the event they would organize would achieve these:

  • To support games research as an interdisciplinary field
  • To encourage dialogue between researchers, practitioners, commercial organizations and policy makers
  • To support students and curriculum development
  • To disseminate work produced by the association’s community

DiGRA is keen to receive proposals that tackle these issues in an innovative manner and build upon established conference practices. It is envisaged that DiGRA conferences will each have a central theme but that this will in no way compromise the inclusiveness of research into games from a wide range of researchers, disciplines and empirical domains. The official language of the conference will be English.

DiGRA establishes a program chair (separate from the local hosting committee), who will ensure rigorous and appropriate peer review for abstracts submitted to the conference and the support of ethical practice. The successful hosting institution will be provided with key guidelines for the management of the planning and preparation of a medium-sized conference: hosts should be prepared for as many as 500 attendees (usually the conference has between 300 and 400 attendees.)  There is no compulsory format for conference hosting proposals, but we recommend that they deal with the following:

1. Venue

  • Location: Institution, town/city, country.
  • Background: What is the host city like? Attractions for visitors?
  • Entertainment options: Location for visiting other areas before/after conference? Proximity to local game industries or other relevant sites?
  • Venue: Description, facilities, access, lecture theatres, meeting rooms, exhibition space, technical resources, translation services etc.

2. Conference

  • Potential theme ideas *
  • Potential keynote/plenary speakers*
  • Special events: any special thematic days and/or collaborative events organized in connection to the conference?
  • Social events: What? When? Where? Are they particularly digital gaming relevant or locally typical?  Commissioning a conference game or suitably ‘playful’ activities would lend specificity to the event.
  • Delegate packs: Contents. Proceedings
  • The DiGRA executive committee has a responsibility for ensuring the quality of the delegates’ conference experience and the academic credibility and reputation of the conference. As such it will be involved, and have the right of veto, in the final decisions about programming and other aspects of content.  Once hosts are decided a programming committee will be formed with representatives from the hosts and nominated members acting on behalf of the DiGRA executive board.

3. Travel and Accommodation

  • Distance from international airport/s
  • Access by bus, cab, coach, train, etc
  • Travel between conference venue and accommodation
  • Estimated travel costs from a range of major cities
  • Costs & Finance (in €, US$ as well as in local currency)
  • Conference registration: full and day rates, student rates, DiGRA member rates (DiGRA membership is included in the DiGRA conference registration fee, with those membership monies directed afterwards to the association by the organizer, thereby guaranteeing its basic funding and continuity.) Registration fees should be tiered to reflect varying levels of affordability for different countries of origin: the board will work with the local organizing committee to determine the appropriate rates.
  • Accommodation: Description, university/hotel options, location in relation to conference venue, facilities, capacity, etc. Per person, room share options? Discount for DiGRA delegates?
  • Meals/Conference Dinner
  • How will booking be handled?
  • What bursaries or discounts will be offered to graduate students in the field?

4. Organization

  • Conference committee: Details of organizers, responsibilities, administrative support, etc. If working with a PCO, they should be named. It is expected than key individuals in the proposal and proposed conference committee will hold current DiGRA membership, Identify one member of the host team who is the main contact with DIGRA.
  • Outline means of keeping in regular, consistent communication with the DIGRA board.
  • Short research biographies. Plan for coordination of duties within committees as well as with DiGRA executive board; estimate of deadlines for conference planning schedule.
  • Institutional support: Level and nature of department/institution involvement and funding.
  • Additional support: Details of finance, facilities, sponsorship or other involvement from additional organizations at a regional, national or international level.
  • Dates: Proposed conference dates, deadline for abstracts, etc. (It is strongly recommended that proposers avoid dates conflicting with events such as AoIR, DAC, Future Play, FDG , etc.)

5. Publicity & Dissemination

  • Conference proceedings: How will they be made available – in book format and/or electronically? When will they be available to delegates? (Note that all DiGRA conference papers need to be archived in the online DiGRA Digital Library, and conference organizers are expected to collaborate in this. Likewise, the ToDiGRA journal editors will be collaborating with the Program Chair to publish a subset of best papers from the conference.)
  • Publications: Are special editions of journals planned for after the conference? Are publishing contracts for edited collections planned? Who will edit these? What is the planned timescale?
  • How will conference publicity be planned?

6. Other Considerations

It is recommended that proposers produce a basic business plan to estimate incoming and outgoing monies for the conference depending on different levels of attendance and financial support. Issues such as how any loss will be accounted for should be dealt with, as DiGRA cannot currently offer any financial guarantee. Procedures should be in place so that in the event that the conference makes a profit DiGRA will receive 30% of this. The association will use this towards developing funds to support conference costs for some students or researchers coming from economically unstable countries.

A Conference License Agreement will need to be signed by the representatives of the conference organizer and the DiGRA. This will detail all the arrangements and specifications of the planning and execution of the Conference. The Agreement must be signed before the actual conference arrangements are set in motion.

The DIGRA executive board are accepting letters of interest on an ongoing basis.

Letters of intent, completed proposals or general enquires about the conference hosting call, and details of the License Agreement etc. should be directed to William Huber (w.huber@abertay.ac.uk).


This an open call (we will continue to take proposals if a suitable one has yet to be identified), but for full consideration please submit a letter of interest by the following dates:

For the 2025 conference, please submit by September 1, 2022.

For the 2026 conference, please submit by January 1, 2023.

DiGRA 2019 Deadline Extension

The DiGRA 2019 deadline has been extended by one week. The new deadline is February 12th. We hope this extension encourages even the busiest of you to submit. There will be no other extensions and we sincerely thank everyone who have already submitted or intend to submit before the original deadline for your punctuality.

For the details, see http://www.digra2019.org/

CfP: DiGRA 2019 (Kyoto, Japan, 6-10 August)

It is our great pleasure to announce the DiGRA 2019 Call for Papers and Submission Guidelines. We call under the theme ‘Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo Mix’, where ‘media mix’ serves as a starting point for considering games’ convergence, transformation, replication, and expansion from platform, technology, and context to another. For more information and updates in the coming months, please see http://www.digra2019.org/.

DiGRA 2019 Conference will be held at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan from August 6 to 10, 2019.

Submission deadlines: 
Full Papers, Abstracts, Panels, and Doctoral Consortium: February 5, 2019
Workshops: April 8, 2019.

DiGRA 2019 Submission Template: http://www.digra.org/?attachment_id=148377.
Note: DiGRA is a highly inter/multi/cross-disciplinary community. For efficient and accurate reviewer assignment, carefully choose and input keywords for your submission. We ask for your understanding regarding limited number of submissions per person.

2018 DiGRA Distinguished Scholars

The 2018 DiGRA Distinguished Scholars: Helen Kennedy and Petri Lankoski

In 2016 DiGRA established the Distinguished Scholars program to recognize senior scholars in the field of game studies who have been at the forefront of the development of rigorous scholarship, the establishment of game studies and game development programs, and who have made significant contributions to DiGRA itself as an organization. Below are biographies for Kennedy and Lankoski. You can find the complete list of scholars at:


Helen Kennedy: Helen is currently Head of the School of Media at the University of Brighton overseeing the leadership and management of undergraduate and postgraduate courses currently delivered across four sites throughout the city . Helen’s career has been characterised by her passion for the integration of research, innovative curriculum development and collaborative and creative partnerships. She has an international reputation for her research and advocacy work in Game Studies and for her leadership in the development of the field.

Her current research interests are feminist interventions into games culture, experience design and cultural evaluation. She is Principal Investigator on an international project aimed at the transformation of games (REFIG.ca). Over the past 3 years she has been researching experiential cinema as an aspect of the ludification of contemporary culture with Dr Sarah Atkinson at King’s College London with whom she has written a number of field defining publications. Recently she has been awarded further significant UK Research Council funding to investigate new technologies and new creative practices in immersive experience design.

Petri Lankoski: (D.Arts) is an associate professor at Södertörn University where he teaches game development and game research. He has been working with game research since early 2000. His research has looked at various aspects of game design research, as well as emotions, embodiment, and fictionality in games. Lankoski also develops games as part of the research. He has published three books: Character-Driven Game Design (Aalto University, 2010) and Game Research Methods: An Overview (co-edited with Staffan Björk, ETC Press, 2015) and Game Design Research: An Introduction to Theory and Practice (co-edited with Jussi Holopainen, ETC Press, 2017).

CfP: The 5th Annual Chinese DiGRA Conference

Chinese DiGRA is excited to announce the fifth annual conference to be held at the CityU Shenzhen Research Institute from the 7th to the 9th of September 2018. 

Conference themes

We invite submissions on any aspect of Chinese games, game industries, game design and gaming cultures. We also invite submissions from people located in the Chinese-speaking region who are researching any aspect of games. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Analyses of game design and development traditions and practices in the region
  • Representation, diversity and inclusiveness in ‘Chinese’ games and game (development/play) cultures
  • The Chinese game industries and their future possibilities/weaknesses
  • Critical analysis of the Chinese game industries
  • Gaming and production cultures in specific ‘Chinese’ regions
  • China as the biggest videogame market in the world
  • Critical analyses of ‘Chinese’ games and games popular in China
  • Critical considerations of future game development in the Chinese-speaking region
  • Local ‘game design issues’
  • Specificities regarding computer games within Chinese cross-media environments
  • Computer games and playability in the context of interactive art and creative media
  • Government policy on production and consumption of games
  • Esports in the Chinese speaking region and beyond
  • The history of Chinese games and gaming
  • Comparative analyses of Chinese and other games, game industries and game cultures

*The Chinese DiGRA conference facilitates networking amongst game scholars working in the Chinese-speaking region. Therefore, apart from the above topics we also encourage submissions from scholars located in the Chinese-speaking region working on any aspect of game research. Continue reading

CFP for DiGRA Italia 2018: Women, LGBTQI & Allies: videogiochi e identità di genere // video games and gender identities

We are proud to announce the CFP for DiGRA Italia 2018: Women, LGBTQI & Allies: videogiochi e identità di genere // video games and gender identities.

The conference will be held in Palermo (Sicily), Cantieri Culturali della Zisa, 1 June 2018.

In the following the Italian CFP, followed by the English version.


DiGRA Italia – Palermo, 1 giugno 2018
Women, LGBTQI & Allies: videogiochi e identità di genere


In collaborazione con:
Sicilia Queer Filmfest (http://www.siciliaqueerfilmfest.it)
CIRQUE – Centro interuniversitario di ricerca queer (http://cirque.unipi.it)
Women in Games Italia (www.womeningamesitalia.org)


Presso i Cantieri Culturali della Zisa, Palermo.


Invio proposte entro il 16 Aprile 2018 (digraitalia@gmail.com)

L’industria dei videogiochi è tradizionalmente associata a un pubblico maschile e adolescenziale, e caratterizzata da un immaginario che in ampia parte rifletteva (e tuttora riflette) un’industria dominata dagli uomini. Nella maggior parte dei videogiochi (seppure con le dovute eccezioni) i personaggi principali sono uomini, spesso raffigurati in chiave iper-mascolinizzata (God of War), mentre quelli femminili hanno ricoperto il ruolo di principesse da salvare (Super Mario Bros), oggetti ipersessualizzati (Dead or Alive) e personaggi marginali o laterali (Grand Theft Auto). Parimenti, le identità queer, transgender e transessuali sono spesso rappresentate in maniera altamente stereotipata, e restituiscono un immaginario di figure passive e devianti (Birdo di Super Mario Bros, Vendetta, Poison di Final Fight) – come del resto è il caso delle rappresentazioni tipiche di personaggi non occidentali.


L’industria del videogioco è prevalentemente la proiezione dell’immaginario di white straight men: maschi bianchi eterosessuali. Casi come il Gamergate hanno riproposto il problema di un’industria e comunità di videogiocatori che parla prevalentemente al maschile, quando non è apertamente misogina, omofoba e transfobica. Tali rappresentazioni eteronormate, costrette in un binario donna/uomo radicale e restrittivo, riflettono effetti di marginalizzazione e stereotipi che operano diffusamente sul piano sociale e ideologico. Si tratta, di fatto, di rappresentazioni che hanno cause che precedono l’avvento dei videogiochi nella sfera pubblica e che dai videogiochi sono poi riflesse e amplificate.

Elementi di trasformazione positiva iniziano ad affiorare tramite un aumento delle istanze femministe e LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, and allies) nell’industria, nella stampa e nell’accademia. Sempre più giochi presentano personaggi femminili non stereotipati (The Last of Us) o dalle identità di genere fluide e non eteronormative (Mass Effect), o degli spunti di riflessione su tali temi (Dad Dating Simulation, Life is Strange). La sempre maggiore diffusione del videogioco come forma di intrattenimento e la sua continua espansione tra nuove fasce sociali e demografiche – complici Internet e smartphone, accanto alle tradizionali console e computer – hanno ridotto le barriere di accesso alla produzione e al consumo, e consentito di rispecchiare la pluralità e diversità del pubblico. Tali esperienze, tuttavia, possono considerarsi come tendenze promettenti ma tuttora marginali, nate talvolta più con l’intento di spettacolarizzare e vendere il movimento LGBT come tema e prodotto che per rispecchiare le istanze di liberazione di quant* lo compongono.

Partendo dalla constatazione che i videogiochi sono una pratica sociale e una forma di rappresentazione dall’immenso impatto simbolico – non solo per la loro abilità di riprodurre stereotipi, ma anche per la loro capacità di configurarsi come media per la rivendicazione di soggettività e istanze marginalizzate – DiGRA Italia intende stimolare un dibattito con gruppi di ricerca, addette ai lavori e giocatrici in Italia nel senso più inclusivo e aperto possibile. Invita dunque ricercatrici e ricercatori, studiosi, attivisti, giocatrici e appassionati a prendere parte ad una riflessione sul videogioco come prodotto culturale attraverso cui affrontare temi e istanze legate agli studi di genere, femministi e LGBTQIA; l’obiettivo è generare un dibattito attraverso cui esplorare molteplici prospettive e condividere un terreno di analisi delle pratiche esistenti, nonché di critica delle radici ideologiche di sessismo, omofobia, bifobia, transfobia e intolleranza.

Sono apprezzate proposte di studi e ricerche di singoli o gruppi di studio, ma anche contributi creativi come corti, videogiochi, animazioni, arte e performance, su argomenti che includono, ma non si limitano a:

–   Rappresentazione di donne e identità LGBTQI nell’industria dei videogiochi
–   Giocatrici e giocatori nella stampa e nell’accademia
–   Personaggi femminili, queer e trans nella storia dei videogiochi
–   Identità di genere e temi LGBTQI nel videogioco in Italia
–   Sessualità, pornografia e sperimentazioni tecnologiche
–   Sguardi, feticismi, iper-sessualizzazione e violenza
–   Audience e ideologie normate nella produzione di giochi
–   Continuità tra videogiochi e altri mezzi: cinema, fumetti, musica, ecc.
–   Aspetti di intersezionalità nelle relazioni tra stereotipi LGBTQI, etnici e razziali
–   Prospettive di ricerca e per la produzione di videogiochi inclusivi
–      Problematiche politiche e legislative relative alla discriminazione di genere

La conferenza sarà moderata da Marco B. Carbone e Ilaria Mariani
Le proposte saranno sottoposte a una procedura di blind peer reviewing.

Data finale per l’invio di proposte (abstract di 500 parole, paper completi e altri contributi): 16 aprile 2018
Data di notifica dell’esito della selezione: 23 aprile
E-mail a cui inviare le proposte: digraitalia@gmail.com


DiGRA Italia – III – Palermo, 1 June 2018
Women, LGBTQI & Allies: video games and gender identities

In collaboration with:
Sicilia Queer Filmfest (http://www.siciliaqueerfilmfest.it)
CIRQUE – Centro interuniversitario di ricerca queer (http://cirque.unipi.it)
Women in Games Italia (www.womeningamesitalia.org)

Hosted by Cantieri Culturali della Zisa, Palermo

Deadline for submission of proposals: 16 April 2018 (digraitalia@gmail.com)


Research has traditionally associated video games with an audience of male adolescents, acknowledging the industry as being primarily dominated by men. In most video games (albeit with certain exceptions) the main characters are male, often portrayed in hyper-masculine fashion (God of War). On the other hand, female characters have mostly been portrayed as damsels in distress (Super Mario Bros), hypersexualised and objectified figures (Dead or Alive) or as peripheral characters (Grand Theft Auto). Similarly, queer and transgender characters have often been represented in a highly stereotypical manner:  as passive and/or deviant (Birdo from Super Mario Bros; Vendetta, Poison from Final Fight) –as is the case with dominant representations of non-white, non-Western characters.

The video game industry is mostly a projection of white, straight, male ideologies. Cases like Gamergate have reiterated the issue of an industry and gaming community that mainly caters for males, when it is not openly misogynist, homophobic, bi-phobic, and transphobic. Heteronormative representations of characters in games, constrained in a radical and restrictive woman/man gender binary, reflect structural forms of marginalisation and stereotypes, operating, broadly, at a social and ideological level. Such ideologies originated before the emergence of video games in the public sphere and are, consequently, reflected by and amplified through the games.

Elements of positive change have been emerging in the video game industry, press, and academia over the past few years, through the increasing recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, and Allies (LGBTQIA) issues. A growing number of games may feature non-stereotypical female characters (The Last of Us) and fluid, non-heteronormative gender identities (Mass Effect), or, indeed, contain elements of reflection on such issues (Dad Dating Simulation, Life is Strange). Through the expansion of the internet, and the mainstream availability of smartphones, alongside more traditional consoles and personal computers, video games have begun to incorporate broader social demographic groups and, consequently, lowered the barriers of access to production and consumption, with the potential for a more inclusive and progressive industry. Games featuring LGBTQIA themes have emerged as a promising tendency. Yet, most of these products seem to have been designed to target niche audiences, or have even attempted to package and commodify LGBTQIA causes rather than representing and empowering diverse individuals within mainstream narratives.

Acknowledging the high cultural and symbolic impact of video games as a social practice and as a potent form of representation, alongside their ability to both reproduce stereotypes and, potentially, affirm marginalised gender identities, the Italian chapter of DiGRA aims to stimulate an all-inclusive, open debate between Italian and international research groups, practitioners, and players. We are inviting researchers, scholars, practitioners, activists, players, artists, and enthusiasts to take part in a research conference on video games and gender, feminist, and LGBTQIA studies. We aim to generate a debate, which will enable the exploration of multiple perspectives and create a shared platform for the critical analysis of gendered representations in games, while addressing the ideological roots of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and intolerance.

We welcome proposals for abstracts, research papers, and panels, as well as creative contributions such as short films, (video) games, animations, art, and live performance.
The topics of the conference include, but are not limited to:

– Representations of women and LGBTQI identity in the video game industry
– Gendered identities in the press, industry, and academia
– Female, queer and trans characters in the history of video games
– Gender identities and LGBTQI themes in the Italian gaming context
– Sexuality, pornography, and technological experimentations
– Gazes, fetishes, hyper-sexualisation, violence
– Normalisations of audiences and ideologies in games production
– Continuities between video games and other media: cinema, comics, music, and literature
– Intersectionality and relations between LGBTQI representations and ethnic or racial stereotypes
– Perspectives on the study and production of inclusive video games
– Political and legal implications of gender discrimination

        Conference chairs: Marco B. Carbone and Ilaria Mariani.
Contributions will be subject to a double blind peer reviewing.

Deadline for submission (500 word abstracts, full papers, and other proposals): 16 April 2018
Date of notification of acceptance: 23 April 2018
Submissions to digraitalia@gmail.com