HEVGA European Symposium

Day 1: Presentations

We gather in the Almedalen Library from 12:00, to pick up our badges. At 12:45 we head up to the E48 conference room, on the 4th floor of the University, where all attendees can give presentations. We will end the day with a dinner, courtesy of Uppsala University.

Your university does not need to be a HEVGA member to participate in the symposium!

Some topic suggestions:

  • Cross Border – Tell us about your projects, or teaching, across Europe
  • Practical work (game development) and examination thereof, in advanced educations
  • Inclusive education – how can we improve diversity and representation in our educations?
  • How to do internships well; documenting learning outcomes and keeping our students safe
  • Bring Your Own Topic!

Please note that all times in the following line-up are temporary and likely to change!

Line-up (TBA):

13:00-13:20 Why I care about Higher Education in Video Games
Mirjam P. Eladhari, Senior Lecturer, School of Natural Science, Technology and Environmental Studiesby Mirjam Palosaari Eladhari (Senior Lecturer),
Södertörn University
I have been teaching games since 2004. It started as a necessary chore – as part of being a PhD candidate. Over the years it has become – to my surprise – the greatest joy of my working-life. In this talk I outline what has been most amazing, what has been awfully difficult, and what I see as our greatest challenges as educators. I would love for this session to be a start-off for some of the discussions for day 2 in our Symposium. We already give good educations in games – how can we make them even better by supporting each other, and sharing knowledge?


13:20-13:45 Games Design as Practice: An Education in Progress.
Adam Mayes, Uppsala University By Adam Mayes (Subject Responsible, Game Design) Uppsala University

In Rethinking Design Thinking, part 1 and part 2, Lucy Kimbell looks at the concept of design thinking, and states that “the ways professional designers problem-solve is of value to firms trying to innovate and to societies trying to make change happen”. As a game designer who has became an educator, I took a design process to shape the programs under my wing. As such, all output is a game designed artifact, and, likewise, all game design artifacts shape the process.

This talk looks at the act of designing the game education at Uppsala University through the lens of Kimbell’s Design-as-Practice and Designs-in-Practice, showing how this process can redefine how we think of game design, and how we approach the subject for academic research.


13:25-13:50 Introducing “Deep Games” into Game Design “Bro-gram” Culture
Doris Carmen Rusch, DePaul University By Doris Carmen Rusch (Associate Professor, Game Development), DePaul University

“I’m not that emotional,” said one of the forty, white, male students in the classroom in response to my question about a moving gameplay experience any of them might have had. Those around him nodded in agreement. I had asked the question as a warm up to talk about using game structure to elicit emotions in players, how to create games that illuminate the human condition. Well – crap!

As a new faculty member in DePaul University’s game design “bro-gram” 7 years ago, I had my work cut out for me. My first official act was to introduce a new course: “Making Deep Games”. This culture had to change.

In my presentation, I’ll share the four main pillars on which the Deep Games course rests and how they have helped students to open up and embrace games as an expressive vehicle of the human experience:

  1. Becoming a Mind Reader (of Your Own Mind): giving students creative tools and techniques to explore their lived reality and become more tuned in to their own experiences, thus also fostering more empathy and understanding for others.
  2. Finding the Theme: how exploring the deep themes in other media first (e.g. animation, children’s books, graphic novels) and then translating them into games helps students check their biases about the thematic constraints of the medium at the door and sharpens their awareness for games’ medium-specific characteristics.
  3. Metaphorical Game Design: how giving students a well-structured, systematic approach to model complex abstract concepts (e.g. trust, anxiety, love) via metaphors helps them do something with games they’ve never done before – and get hooked on finding and designing for deeper meaning!
  4. The “personal issue” game: how asking students to explore a personal issue through game design creates trust and bonding and helps students see games as an intimate medium of expression, rather than a vehicle exclusively for entertainment.

13:50 Break


14:00-14:15 Scandinavian Game Educations, Past and Present
Björn Berg Marklund, University of Skövde, School of Informaticsby Björn Berg Marklund,
University of Skövde, School of Informatics

In this presentation, I aim to present the results from a long-term indexing effort I’ve done to keep track of application, enrollment, disciplines, and gender distribution data of academic game educations in Sweden since 2001 and onward. I don’t work under the pretense that I have 100% correct and flawless data, and part of the presentation will discuss the potential problems with the used research method, but I do think it could still provide an interesting backdrop for some discussions or be a good crash course for visitors of how Scandinavian game educations, and in particular Swedish game educations, have grown and changed over the past decades.


14:15-14:30 Professional Esports Management Certificate Program Creation
Stephane Muller, EdD, University of California Irvineby Stephane Muller (EdD)
University of California Irvine

University of California Irvine developed the first online Esports Certificate Program with industry expert instructors from Amazon Game Studios, League of Legends and Blizzard Entertainment. The learning outcomes of the 3 courses are:

  • Develop an understanding of the history, community, and business of esports and the online gaming industry.
  • Plan and execute an esports tournament or event of any scale and scope.
  • Improve your communication, problem solving, and project management skills.
  • Create a business plan for a team, community event, or any other opportunity geared towards the esports audience.

I shall present the 3 main opportunities and challenges of the creation of this program.


14:30-14:50 Luleå University of Technology – Passion & Talent
Robert Brännström, Head of CS division, Luleå University of Technologyby Robert Brännström (Head of CS division) Luleå University of Technology
Luleå University of Technology has educated game related content for more than 20 years. In this talk I will introduce the 3 current programs: BSc Computer Game Programming, BFA Visual Arts – Digital Design + Film Design. After an introduction to the program syllabus I will talk about the collaboration between the programs and with the industry. In the end I might include a few slides on the Arctic Game Lab initiative.


14:30-15:00 Developing International Research Projects in Games
Lissa Holloway-Attaway, Associate Professor in Media Arts, Aesthetics, and Narration, University of Skövde, Swedenby Lissa Holloway-Attaway (Associate Professor in Media Arts, Aesthetics, and Narration)
University of Skövde
For more than 15 years the University of Skövde in Sweden has been growing and transforming its games education. Currently it has a robust and interdisciplinary education with over 600 students studying games across 7 different disciplines. At the Bachelor’s level these include programs in graphics, game writing, sound/music, design, and programing. At the Master’s level these include a program in Serious Games and one in Digital Narratives: Cultural Heritage and Game Technologies. (A new 2-year Master’s in “Games, Stories, and Aesthetics” is in development for 2020 with funding provided by the University Rektor’s Strategic Initiative Program.)

Additionally we have been working to grow our research to maximize the connections between educational programs and research. Our goal is forge connections among faculty at all levels who teach within our programs so that we may collaborate on funded projects, as well as work to build our PhD program and increase our International networks and visibility.

In my talk I will discuss and briefly demonstrate some game-based funded projects within the Media, Technology, and Culture (MTEC) group for which I serve as the research leader. Our goal has been to work in interdisciplinary collaborative research projects that include games, gaming elements, or related research in design and interaction. We currently have several national and international funded projects with multiple partners incorporating games as core elements. These range from work on inclusive game development (with focus on disability and gender), environmental humanities and gaming, cultural heritage games, games and journalism, developing STEM education with games, and games and cultural planning, for example. Funding ranges from regional Swedish sources to multi-partner International EU projects. I will also provide tips for development and lessons learned for collaboration and networking.


15:00-15:20 Gender Inclusive Game Education: Responsibilities and Strategies
Jenny Brusk, Senior lecturer, University of Skövde by Jenny Brusk (Senior lecturer)
University of Skövde
Recruiting more women to the game industry has been an outspoken goal for the Swedish Game Industry for some years now. As game educators it is our responsibility to make sure that we provide equal opportunities for men and women to become game developers, but do we and can we? How can we recruit and retain female to our programs and what responsibility do we have for their future work life? In this talk I will present some of the strategies we have developed within DONNA* since the start 7 years ago at the game development programs in Skövde. I will also give some examples of activities we have organized and present some results of our work. With the presentation I hope to start a discussion on how we can collaborate and support each other in working towards a gender equal game education.

*DONNA is an organization for gender inclusive game development at the University of Skövde. DONNA was initiated in 2011, inspired by the work done by SuperMarit, a project run by the gender institute in Gotland between 2004 and 2010.


15:20-15:?? Your talk?
Let us hear about your work, insights, problems or passions!


~17:00: Symposium Dinner
Someplace in Visby. TBA!