[Air-L] post-AoIR games research ethics workshop - Oct. 25-26, 2010

Charles Ess charles.ess at gmail.com
Mon Apr 26 05:02:25 PDT 2010

Dear AoIR-ists,

We are very pleased to announce the following workshop, to be held shortly
following the AoIR conference this October in Gothenburg - we hope that some
of you will find this a good reason to extend your stay next fall in
Please distribute as appropriate to potentially interested colleagues and
The announcement will also appear on the FMKJ website later on this week.
Very great thanks to Kim Schrøder of the FMKJ, Kirsten Frandsen, Niels
Brügger, Rikke Toft Nørgaard and Beatrice Gamborg (IMV, Aarhus University),
and the committed presenters for their help in organizing the workshop.

- charles ess
Institut for Informations- og Medievidenskab
Helsingforsgade 14
8200 Århus N.
mail: <imvce at hum.au.dk>
tel: (+45) 8942 9250
Distinguished Research Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies
Drury University, Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA

Games Research and Ethics: Current Issues, Possible Resolutions
Sponsored by The Danish National Research School in Media, Communication and
Journalism (FMKJ), the Department of Information- and Media Studies (IMV),
Aarhus University, and the (U.S.) National Science Foundation, Project
number 0924604.
Organizer: Charles Ess
October 25-26, Aarhus, Denmark.  (Venue to be announced)
Contact: Charles Ess <imvce at hum.au.dk>: Beatrice Gamborg (workshop
administrative assistant) <imvbg at hum.au.dk>
The rapid development of computer-based / networked games in all their forms
has inspired growing research into a range of questions, from concerns about
potential social impacts (e.g., violence in games such as Grand Theft Auto)
to interest in how player groups in such MMOGs as World of Warcraft resemble
and differ from other online communities.
At the same time, computer games thus evoke new sorts of ethical challenges
for researchers.  For example, a central research ethics question ­
especially in Europe with its strict laws protecting personal information ­
is: What are the obligations, if any, of the researcher to protect the
identity and confidentiality of her research subjects? This concern becomes
especially tricky, say, for an ethnographer who records voice chats of guild
players in a MMOG.  While texts from a text chat may be paraphrased so as to
protect the identity of their authors in a published research report ­
manipulating voice recordings in analogous ways may not be so easy.  Can the
ethnographer safely publish these as part of her research, or is she
ethically obliged to disguise or conceal this part of her research for the
sake of protecting the confidentiality of her subjects?
The goal of the workshop is to explore the novel ethical difficulties facing
those undertaking games research ­ and this in a two-fold way.
One, the course includes two panels of presentations - open to interested
internet researchers and scholars, including participants in the AoIR
conference in Gothenburg the previous week - by leading scholars and
researchers on games and games research ethics:
Elizabeth Buchanan (Director, Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR),
and chair, AoIR ethics working group)
Mia Consalvo (Visiting Professor, MIT, and current President, AoIR)
Malin Sveningsson (University of Skövde, Sweden)
Annette Markham (Senior Research Fellow, Internet Research Ethics, CIPR,
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)
Miguel Sicart (IT-University, Copenhagen, and author of The Ethics of
Computer Games, MIT Press, 2009), and
T.L. Taylor (IT-University, Copenhagen).
These presentations will provide an overview of contemporary understanding
and reflection on central ethical and methodological issues in games
Two, the workshop encourages PhD students (who attend the workshop under the
sponsorship of FMKJ) to contribute their current research and specific
ethical challenges in an ³extended master class,² constituted by an informal
paper/poster-session designed to catalyze dialogue and debate with the
invited presenters. PhD students will be asked to submit either a paper or
poster. Students will be assigned to a working group of no more than 3
students plus one or two of the senior workshop presenters.  Each student
will have 10 minutes to present his/her paper/poster, followed by comments
from a designated respondent. The attending senior scholar(s) will then
offer additional comments and continue open discussion, for a total time of
1.5 hours. If enough students participate, you will also be able to attend /
audit a second such class.
In these ways, we anticipate that PhD students will receive useful advice
and guidance ­ and that you in turn will contribute your work from the
praxis of your research to the reflections and frameworks continuously being
developed by the invited presenters.
Course registration
In order to register for the course, you should send an email to Beatrice
Gamborg (workshop administrative assistant) <imvbg at hum.au.dk> by October 1
2010. You should also attach a 1-page description of your PhD project. Phd
students wishing to present a paper or poster must also submit their
paper/poster by this date. You are welcome to contact either Charles Ess
(<imvce at hum.au.dk>) or Kirsten Frandsen, Head of PhD study programme,
(<imvkf at hum.au.dk>) for additional information. Maximum number of PhD
participants: 20. 
* The morning presentations on Monday and Tuesday (25-26. October - see
preliminary schedule below), are open to interested scholars and
researchers, including those attending the AoIR annual conference the
previous week in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Registration for general audience
Those interested in attending the open presentations are required to
register via email with Beatrice Gamborg (workshop administrative assistant)
<imvbg at hum.au.dk> by October 1 2010.  Registrants will be assessed a fee to
cover catering costs (fee to be determined).

Course Requirements and ECTS points
Participation in the course requires two kinds of preparation: readings that
address each of the presentations in the course, and a 10-page paper or
poster-session equivalent that you must submit by October 1 2010. The paper
/ poster presentation should outline your doctoral project, with particular
reference to the research design and its methodological challenges. The
course readings will be available by late September 2010.
ECTS points
1.5 ECTS for participation without presenting a paper / poster.
1.5 ECTS for presenting a paper / poster ­ i.e., 3 ECTS possible.
The Danish National Research School in Media, Communication and Journalism
(FMKJ) will cover all expenses for Ph.D. students who are enrolled in the
School. PhD students who are not enrolled in FMKJ will have to pay for
their own travel, accommodation, and meals while in Aarhus.

Preliminary Program
 Monday 25. October
  8:30-9:00   Coffee / tea / refreshments
  9:00-9:15   Introduction to workshop - charles
  9:15-10:00   Elizabeth Buchanan ­ Research Ethics 2.0
  10:00-10:45   Miguel Sicart ­ Games and Research Ethics
  11:45-11:15   Coffee / tea / refreshments
  11:15-12:00   Malin Sveningsson ­ ³Going Native² in World of Warcraft:
what¹s the problem(s)?
  12:00-13:00   Lunch
  13:00-16:00   Extended Master Class (Paper/ Poster sessions with
individual PhD students in dialogue with senior scholars)  (coffee, tea,
refreshments available by 14:00)
  16:00-16:15   Coffee / tea / refreshments
  16:15-16:45   T.L. Taylor ­ Responses and reflections
  16:45-17:15   Closing plenary discussion (charles moderates)
  17:15-18:30   Rest / relaxation
  18:30-21:00   Dinner
Tuesday, 26. October
  8:30-9:00   Coffee / tea / refreshments
  9:00-9:15   Reminders / springboards - Charles
  9:15-10:00   Annette Markham ­ methods and ethics in games research
  10:00-10:45   Mia Consalvo ­ Researchers and Developers: Ethical
Reflections from the Field
  11:45-11:15   Coffee / tea / refreshments
  11:15-12:00   Closing plenary discussion: lessons learned, remaining
questions, unsolved issues, next steps?
  12:00-13:00   Lunch / evaluation / goodbye

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