I’m feeling pretty great! A tremendous sense of achievement as the PhD has been a long and at times difficult journey. It’s also a bitter-sweet graduation - because I did not know until last minute whether I’ll be able to submit my corrections in time and make the summer graduation my family cannot be here. My grandparents have always been behind me and I would have loved to offer my grandma the chance to watch me becoming a doctor. So I’ll send her all the photos and some amateur footage!
Read more below.
Both projects were part of my PhD so I’ll take this opportunity to talk a bit about that. My Applied Research Collaborative Studentship (ARCS) entitled ‘Connecting Performance and Play. Establishing Interdisciplinary Design Methods for the Development of Video Games and Performance’ was funded by the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities, The Scottish Funding Council and R-LINCS. The research project was a partnership between Abertay University, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and The National Theatre of Scotland and it has been so great working across so many amazing institutions. Seeing as my PhD was practice based I wanted to develop hybrid, mixed-media and mixed-reality experiences which bridge between video games and performance. Inchcolm Project and Generation ZX(X) were the result.
When I started this PhD I was really intimidated by video games, this completely new (to me) world that I knew nothing about. But then I realised that they are just a different type of theatre, a different type of play, a new and exciting medium for storytelling. Once I realised that, I could really take advantage of my skillsets as a playwright and dramaturg and start thinking about how video games and performance are similar, and the opportunities that those similarities offer. I was excited to create work which embraces the opportunities afforded by both media, work which celebrates play in both digital and physical worlds. So my approach to games, just like my approach to performance, is deeply grounded in my passion to offer audience/players a meaningful experience, an experience which stimulates their imagination and their senses, that invites them to think, and feel, and sense.
Oh the people, it is always the people. Getting to know and work with my colleagues in Abertay GameLab and in SDI has been such a rewarding, fun and enriching experience. An honour really.
Another big highlight was getting an IGDA Women in Games Ambassador studentship in 2017. This gave me the opportunity to attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. This was such a great experience, just being there, getting to meet and talk to people in all aspects of game development, from education to animation, it was just so great.
I am really sorry, I feel like I am all sunshine and rainbows but it really has been great. Tiring as you might expect, as I was still working towards completing my PhD while in the same time trying to organise and structure my teaching and marking. But I am doing what I love, and lecturing is so rewarding, just the numerous conversations and ideas in that lecture theatre! I absolutely loved being a student and I want to offer the same rewarding experience to others. It also helps that I have an irrational passion for making slides, I love making slides, particularly since I got the most photogenic cat in the world.
Medium-term I would really love to create a game based on Generation ZX(X). Aside from that, I don’t know if this is necessarily an ambition but I would like to keep making work that plays at the fringes of games and performance, which makes people smile and care and think, which amplifies unheard voices and stories. And to take some holiday!