Keynote speakers

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Gordon Calleja

Gordon Calleja is currently associate professor and director at the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta. He is also an associate professor at the Center for Games Research at the IT-University of Copenhagen. Prior to founding the Institute of Digital Games at UoM he was the director for the Center for Games Research at ITU for five years. He is also game designer and writer at Mighty Box, an independent game studio in Malta.
At the heart of his research and design work is a fascination with the way contemporary media both express and increasingly shape the human condition. His research focuses primarily on player experience, which has so far revolved around player involvement, immersion and presence. Another thread of research he has published extensively in is game narrative, once again advocating for an experiential approach to the subject. He has also written a number of articles on game ontology.
In recent years he has derived great satisfaction and inspiration in switching between analytical and design lenses, developing a number of successful digital and board game projects. While his roles varied on each project he was mainly in charge ofideation, game design and writing. The design of these games is intimately interwoven with his research work resulting in a rich feedback loop of ideas and observations that would have not been possible without that shift in perspective.
His recent publications include: In-Game:From Immersion to Incorporation, and academic analysis of player involvement and immersion published by MIT Press; Will Love Tear Us Apart, an art game adaptation of Joy Division’s track that was nominated for several international awards; Posthuman,a highly commercially successful narrative boardgame and its digital cousin, Posthuman:Sanctuary which adapts the boardgame through a blend of a rogue-like mechanics and interactive fiction and delves more deeply in the issue of human evolution introduced in the boardgame.

Janet H. Murray

Janet H. Murray is the Ivan Allen College Professor of Digital Media and Associate Dean for Research in the Ivan College of Liberal Arts at Georgia Tech and an internationally recognized interaction designer, specializing in digital narrative and digital humanities. She directs Georgia Tech’s Prototyping eNarrative (PeN Lab) which creates prototypes of new narrative genres on emerging platforms including experimental television, virtual reality, and augmented reality, and she is a member of the Steering Committee and Project Director of the Mellon Foundation grant for Georgia Tech’s Digital Integrated Liberal Arts Center.
Murray is a first-generation college graduate, who benefitted from excellent public education at the Bronx High School of Science, City College of New York, and SUNY Binghamton where she received her B.A., After graduating early from college she was trained by IBM as a systems programmer, before earning a PhD in English Literature from Harvard, where she specialized in the English novel. In the early 1980s she was teaching Humanities at MIT when her students showed her Eliza and Zork, and she recognized the possibilities for storytelling in the new digital medium. Building on these explorations and on early Media Lab experiments with interactive video, Murray led humanities archival and serious games projects at MIT in the 1980s and 1990s where she established the pioneering Laboratory for Advanced Technology in the Humanities. While at MIT she also created the first university course in interactive narrative, which was also one of the earliest courses to take games seriously as a genre of representation. Since 1999 Murray has been at Georgia Tech, where she served as Director of the Graduate Program in Digital Media from 2000 to 2010, providing leadership for curriculum revision, including pioneering game studies courses and a laboratory structure for integrated education and research, and for the establishment of one of the world's first PhD programs in the field (2004).
Murray is the author of a seminal work for digital media and game studies, Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace (Free Press, 1997; MIT Press 1998; updated edition 2017), which has been translated into 5 languages, and is widely used as a roadmap to emerging art, information, and entertainment environments. Her textbook Inventing the Medium: Principles of Interaction Design as a Cultural Practice (MIT Press, 2011) has been hailed by Henry Jenkins as "an epic accomplishment, one which we will all be mining for years to come." Her projects have been funded by IBM, Apple Computer, Intel Corporation, Motorola Research, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco/Scientific Atlanta, the Annenberg-CPB Project, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Science Foundation.

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