Call for papers: Beyond the Console: Gender and Narrative Games

Beyond the Console: Gender and Narrative Games

8 / 9 February 2019, at the V&A and London South Bank University, UK

The Centre for Research in Digital Storymaking at London South Bank University is organising a two-day conference to showcase and explore narrative games through the experiential and critical lens of gender. From tabletop live roleplay to mobile apps with user story creation platforms, from interactive performance to interactive fiction, narrative games create vibrant participatory communities. Since their modern incipience, narrative games are also contestedly gendered. Little Wars, a live roleplay strategy game book by H.G. Wells (1913) is subtitled: ‘for boys and for that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys’ games and books’. Yet in the networked age, narrative games have also opened up a diversity of stories. Open source authoring tool communities empower personal game authorship (Twine, since 2008); classic game genres, such as live table top games, are reconfigured as journeys of becoming (Monster Hearts, 2012); commercial mobile apps place ‘Hollywood-calibre stories’ of melodrama at the centre of their social media games (Episodes, 2014); live action role play games (LARP) reflect and incorporate gender neutrality in their immersive game design (College of Wizardy, 2018); while interactive performances invite audience members to play at being a different gender (Disaster Party, 2017).

Keynote Speakers


Porpentine                                                              Emily Short                                 Hannah Wood

Call for Papers

The conference invites submissions from a broad range of disciplines, and is particularly interested in fostering links between research scholarship, game making, and curation. We are interested in paper proposals (including theoretical and methodological proposals, comparative studies, and case studies), as well as creative research demonstrations from scholars, art practitioners, curators and gamemakers. Possible areas for consideration might include, but are not limited to:

· ‘The personal game’: subjectivity and game authorship
· Gender (re-)activism: social media, authoring tools, crowdsourcing
· Language, gender, programming: translation, procedural narratives
· Gender through immersive live action role play (LARP) games
· Gender in interactive performance
· Radical reappraisals of game genres
· The state of ontological play: who plays who, what, where and how

The conference will include a live keynote game by Porpentine, introduced and chaired by Emily Short, hosted by the V&A Museum. The keynote speaker is the interactive artist and scholar Hannah Wood.


Proposals (20 minute length for papers; 10 minutes for demonstrations and provocations) should include a title, an abstract of max. 300 words, and a brief biography.

The proposal deadline is 26 November 2018.
Please address proposals to:

Conference Organiser: Dr Karlien van den Beukel, Arts and Creative Industries, London South Bank University