FiG Funded Projects

Those who attended the FiG Work­shop may know that we invited par­tic­i­pants to sub­mit pro­pos­als for projects that would receive incu­ba­tor fund­ing. After a few rounds of sub­mis­sions and revi­sions, the FiG Folk have cho­sen 5 projects that will receive fund­ing this year. Below is a descrip­tion of these projects. We can’t wait to see how they progress!

DEAR ADA

By Mitu Khan­daker and Emily Flynn-Jones

Dear Ada is a web­site mak­ing a space for fem­i­nine (though not nec­es­sar­ily female) voices to talk about & explore their thoughts, feel­ings and expe­ri­ences with gen­der issues and the epis­temic com­mu­nity of games. This site will give women from all areas of expe­ri­ence and all angles of exper­tise in games and fem­i­nist dis­course the oppor­tu­nity speak. We want to hear from play­ers, hard­core fans, fem­i­nists with valu­able per­spec­tives for appli­ca­tion to the cul­ture of games, men with fem­i­nist mes­sages, indie start-ups, indus­try pro­fes­sion­als and all the in-betweens.  All these voices together can give a greater rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the diver­sity of females and per­spec­tives in games and gam­ing cul­ture today. The diver­sity can hope­fully reach a greater audi­ence, make space for all kinds of per­spec­tives and opin­ions so as not to alien­ate any­one who already feels mar­gin­al­ized and pro­vide vari­ety enough of con­tent for indi­vid­u­als to relate. This space can also pro­vide the anonymity for those who feel they need to speak out but might be com­pro­mise by doing so.  From the con­tri­bu­tions to the site we also hope to be able to study the demo­graph­ics of con­trib­u­tors (even those that are anony­mously pub­lished) and track themes that might be use­ful in push­ing for­ward fem­i­nist agen­das in the games com­mu­nity and act­ing for equity.

 

DRAG­ON­SPEECH

By Heidi McDonald

Drag­on­speech is a game that was invented by a work­shop group dur­ing the inau­gural Fem­i­nists in Games work­shop, in an effort to:

1) demon­strate the effi­cacy of the FiG organization;

2) address the impor­tant issue of harass­ment in the gam­ing community;

3) address harass­ment in soci­ety at large.

The game will raise aware­ness about the effects of all types of harass­ment in games (as a metaphor for harass­ment in real life), and will pre­scribe an effec­tive rem­edy for harass­ment in both vir­tual and real spaces. Drag­on­speech will call out game harass­ment and demon­strate its effects in a visual, tan­gi­ble way. It also pro­vides a prac­ti­cal solu­tion for harass­ment in the form of coali­tion build­ing and peer sup­port. As a sec­ondary agenda, the game will bring aware­ness to the Fem­i­nists in Games group and be a tan­gi­ble exam­ple of the kinds of work done by us, at our conference.

 

EXPAND­ING AND STRENGTH­EN­ING THE DAMES MAK­ING GAMES NETWORK

By Cecily Carver, Jen­nie Faber, Ali­son Har­vey & Helen Kennedy

Build­ing on past suc­cess: The New Game Makers/DMG Incu­ba­tor 2

The New Game Mak­ers is a series jointly pre­sented by Bento Miso and Dames Mak­ing Games. The series will bring women work­ing in diverse roles within the games indus­try to Miso for a 1-hour lec­ture fol­lowed by a 2–3 hour hands-on work­shop where par­tic­i­pants will work on a small project with the assis­tance of the guest speaker and other par­tic­i­pants. The series will run in con­junc­tion with a six-week Dames Mak­ing Games (DMG) incu­ba­tor based on the model of the Dif­fer­ence Engine Ini­tia­tive (DEI) and the first DMG incu­ba­tor, which will guide and sup­port a small group of women through the process of cre­at­ing a small, com­plete game.

DMG Toronto’s sec­ond incu­ba­tor will run from July through mid-August (six weeks), in con­junc­tion with a speaker series (The New Game Mak­ers) fea­tur­ing women game pro­fes­sion­als. The guest speak­ers come from a wide range of roles, from pro­ducer and man­age­ment posi­tions to design, music, art, and devel­op­ment; and from orga­ni­za­tion sized from small indie com­pa­nies to triple-A stu­dios. Incu­ba­tor par­tic­i­pants will be selected from an appli­ca­tion pool, with the goal of cre­at­ing an enthu­si­as­tic and com­mit­ted group with a diverse mix of skills and inter­ests who might not oth­er­wise have the oppor­tu­nity to develop their inter­est in games in this way. While the incu­ba­tor will be lim­ited to six par­tic­i­pants, the speaker series will accom­mo­date a larger group (up to 30) for each presentation.

Extend­ing the net­work: DMG Mon­treal & DMG Bristol

Work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with DMG, Ali­son and Helen will orga­nize incu­ba­tors in two novel con­texts: Mon­treal, Que­bec and Bris­tol, UK. Both of these set­tings fea­ture grow­ing inde­pen­dent game com­mu­ni­ties that would greatly ben­e­fit from context-specific fem­i­nist inter­ven­tions aimed at encour­ag­ing more female-identified peo­ple to feel con­fi­dent in the process of games design. Like DMG and DEI, the pur­poses of these context-aware inter­ven­tions will be to facil­i­tate com­mu­nity build­ing, net­work­ing, skills devel­op­ment, men­tor­ing, and per­sonal growth among par­tic­i­pants, as well as the cre­ation of games by novice developers.

We will make inter­ven­tions in our respec­tive com­mu­ni­ties with the com­pre­hen­sive doc­u­men­ta­tion and feed­back gen­er­ated in DEI and the activ­i­ties of DMG, by past facil­i­ta­tors, embed­ded aca­d­e­mics, and cur­rent orga­niz­ers. Using these best prac­tices as guide­lines, we will then con­sult with con­stituents in the local com­mu­ni­ties (via indie game col­lec­tives, local aca­d­e­mics, devel­oper hubs) about ideal loca­tions, pro­mo­tions venues, show­case loca­tions, etc. Struc­turally, incu­ba­tors will be run in the for­mat of DEI, with six 3–4 hour ses­sions run over 6 weeks and capped off with a show­case to demon­strate the com­pleted games.

 

 PsXXY¥borg (pro­nounced “cyborg”)

By Han­nah Epstein

The pur­pose of this game is to eman­ci­pate a domes­tic game designer, so that she can cre­ate a game that is beau­ti­ful, immer­sive and tran­scen­dent of gen­der nor­ma­tive rep­re­sen­ta­tion. Through using Unity and the Kinect, PsXXY¥borg will come to life as multi-player game, suited for pub­lic instal­la­tion, as the more peo­ple play­ing, the more com­plex the game play will become, all in the name of redefin­ing the social and polit­i­cal impor­tance of games. The game, PsXXY¥borg, will be inspired directly by the writ­ing of Donna Har­away and her pro­posed post-gender cyborg. It will be designed to con­tain these ele­ments of the­ory, putting into prac­tice and artis­tic expres­sion the very ideal beliefs housed within the post-gender cyborg framework.

 

WOMEN IN THE GAME INDUS­TRY – LESSONS TO LEARN

By Sonja Gan­guin and Anna Hoblitz

Gen­der dif­fer­ences are typ­i­cally dis­cussed when it comes to the use of com­puter– and video games. How­ever, today, the typ­i­cal gamer is not male. In Ger­many, for exam­ple, 10.8 mil­lion women play reg­u­larly – these are 44 % of the gamers (BIU 2012). Yet this pos­i­tive devel­op­ment can­not be seen in the videogame indus­try, which is still a male-dominated field. Why only few women work in this cre­ative and chal­leng­ing area is not quite obvi­ous. At the same time there are suc­cess­ful women in the game indus­tries as pro­duc­ers, devel­op­ers, pub­lish­ers, etc. How­ever there is lit­tle known about their biogra­phies, careers, points of views and atti­tudes. What was their spe­cific way into the indus­try? How would they describe their own role in the busi­ness? Are they con­fronted with gen­der dif­fer­ences in their daily work and what are their strate­gies to deal with it? To answer these ques­tions we plan to develop a basic study that focuses on the per­spec­tive of women work­ing in the game indus­try by inter­view­ing them as experts. With guided expert inter­views, the women’s bio­graph­i­cal sta­tus as well as key fac­tors for suc­cess could be deter­mined. The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and analy­sis of suc­cess fac­tors and strate­gies, for exam­ple in the arrays of edu­ca­tion, social net­work­ing and projects, will indi­cate pos­si­ble start­ing points for sup­port­ing female stu­dents get­ting started their career.

On the one hand, the aim of the study is to describe a sta­tus quo of the actual sit­u­a­tion of women work­ing in the game busi­ness. On the other hand, it is nec­es­sary to deduce rec­om­men­da­tions for effec­tive and appro­pri­ate pro­mo­tional mea­sures to strengthen women’s posi­tion and espe­cially to reduce the bar­ri­ers that pre­vent them from join­ing the game indus­try. This coop­er­a­tion and the sub­se­quent study intend to take con­crete mea­sures, for exam­ple a men­tor­ing pro­gram for women could be devel­oped which is based on the results of the sur­vey. Female stu­dents could get into con­tact with a female men­tor work­ing in the games busi­ness and their com­mu­ni­ca­tion could give some insights into the indus­try and facil­i­tate young women’s entry into this profession.

 

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