Keynote Descriptions for the Role-playing and Simulation Conference 2018!
The Role-playing and Simulation in Education Conference 2018 is committed to providing a platform for the exploration of role-play and games as tools for pedagogical transformation. With this spirit in mind, we are honored to share the descriptions for our two keynote presentations this year:
“Live Action Role-playing and the Autism Spectrum”
Why are so many youth on the autism spectrum drawn so powerfully to live-action role-playing games? How can these games – and the cultural practices that surround them – support people on the autism spectrum as they develop social bonds and build community? This presentation addresses these questions by drawing on ethnographic fieldwork at a larp-based summer camp for youth on the autism spectrum, as well as several attempts to develop similar programming for youth on the autism spectrum in clinical settings. Elizabeth Fein will suggest three ways that live-action role-play communities support youth on the autism spectrum: through the structured explication of shared social practices; through a shared folk mythology of co-existing strengths and vulnerabilities; and through a community ethos of trust, characterized by continuity between autism and other valued processing styles. Fein will end by discussing the challenges of integrating principles and practices developed in larp communities into predominantly clinical settings.
Kelliann Adams Pletcher
“Role-playing and Games in Museums”
Kellian Adams Pletcher worked on her very first location-based museum game, the Go Smithsonian Trek 8 years ago in 2010 with a location-based gaming company called SCVNGR. Since then, Pletcher has built scores of games at museums all across the country such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Boston Children’s Museum. Cultural Institutions’ approach to games and immersive environments has changed in the last 8 years: from an initial suspicion and fear that games would devalue and infantilize important content to an obsession with badges and apps and a tendency towards scavenger hunts. Today, the American Association of Museums MUSE awards has a specific category for games and interactive programs, which is starting to include things like VR, AR, and mixed reality. Museums are forging bravely into the world of games, always with an eye to meaningful content, by building their own escape rooms, running role-playing simulations and working with theater companies to create beautiful works of immersive, location-based theater. How do the goals and strengths of living games and museums intersect and what’s in the future for games at cultural institutions?