IPRH Research Cluster

Playful by Design
Gaming Pedagogies, Digital Literacies & the Public Humanities

In this 2017-2018 IPRH Research Cluster, faculty, staff, students, and members of the CU community who design and author games, interactive narratives, platforms, simulations, and installations, who use gaming pedagogies in the classroom, or who study games, virtual worlds, digital learning environments and playful spaces of all kinds, will share their research and skills in a series of workshops and events leading to a Playful by Design Symposium in the spring.

Thematically, we will focus on games, platforms and pedagogies designed to foster empathy, to facilitate the attainment of cultural, digital, and linguistic fluencies, and to promote collaborative authorship and digital inclusion through the Public Humanities. We also hope to generate creativity, energy, and excitement around the possible development of an interdisciplinary game studies program at UIUC.

Judith Pintar, jpintar@illinois.edu
Randy Sadler, grsadler@illinois.edu

Supported by the
Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH)


Interdisciplinary Game Studies @ Illinois: Meetings & Public Events

September 12 — CITL/Volition Panel Discussion & Gameplay, 4:30 – 7:30pm @ The Armory Building room 101.

September 17 — CUDO Plays Symposium, 1:30-4:00, Champaign Public Library

September 22 — Playful by Design Monthly Gathering
1:00-3:00 @ Armory Innovation Spaces

October 1 — CUDO Plays Board Game Bootcamp
1:30-3:30 @ Champaign Public Library

October 12 — CITL/Volition Panel: Game Engineering
5:00 – 6pm @ The Siebel Center, room 1404

October 20 — Playful by Design Monthly Gathering
1:00 -3:00 @ CU Community Fablab

November 3-4 — Speculative Futures (a celebration of Science Fiction)
A variety of events and activities: https://publish.illinois.edu/speculativefutures/schedule/

November 9 — CITL/Volition Panel: The Art of Game Design
5:00 – 7:00pm @ Krannert Art Museum, room 62

November 10 — Playful by Design Monthly Gathering,

2:00 – 3:30 @ 106 Main Library, Library Tour, with “meet and greet” reception for veteran children’s game designer Lorri Hopping to talk about her experiences as a writer in the game industry.

4:15 – 5:15 @ iSchool, public talk/discussion with Lorri, jointly sponsored by PbD and CIRSS (Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship)

December 1 — Playful by design Monthly Gathering

1:00-3:00 @ Ideal Lab (Illinois Digital Ecologies & Learning Laboratory), Education Building

Learn about the games-related research being carried out by College of Ed. faculty!

December 12 — CITL/Volition Panel: On Interactive Systems & Narrative in Games, 5:00 – 7:00pm @ NCSA Auditorium 1st floor atrium

January 25th — Business Meeting to discuss Spring Symposium, 4:00-5:00, FLB 4080, followed by Tour of Randy Sadler’s Second Life Classroom, 5:00-6:00, @ Nevada Lab

February 21st — Robb Lindgren, Maya Israel and Chad Lane will host activities, demos and discussions IDEALL Lab to demonstrate its use for prototyping and observing various kinds of play. 1:00-3:00, @ 170-176-176A Education Building

March Meeting — TBA

April 5-7 — Playful by Design Spring Symposium


Imagining America

Our project was chosen by IPRH to engage with the Imagining America national initiative.

Imagining America describes its mission as advancing “a vision of the world in which publicly engaged artists, designers, scholars, students and culture workers play critical roles in enacting the promise and ideals of a democratic society. Together, we explore the power of shared identity — of understanding who we are and what we stand for, and therefore, what we are called to do.”

During the year we’ll be talking about how publicly engaged play fits into that vision of shared ideals and identity as well.


Playful by Design Themes and Goals for Academic Year 2017-2018

  • Playful Spaces

    Playful by Design workshops will be held in different design spaces across the campus, including the CU Community Fablab, iFlex classrooms, and the new Armory Innovation Spaces developed by the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL). Changing locations will allow us to explore the efficacy of the spaces surrounding our own collaboration and play.

  • Empathy

    We are faced as educators with the task of helping our students come of age in a post-truth world marred by unapologetic inequalities and grotesque incivilities. The extent to which playful educational spaces, incorporating role-playing and other immersive activities, can lead to empathy and emergent learning, and to encourage students towards civil engagement are questions we are interested in investigating.

  • Fluency

    The need to support students in the attainment of multiple fluencies becomes more, not less, important in the age of the internet since social media has reproduced our cultural silos. We are interested in how games and other digital environments can be designed and employed to facilitate the attainment of multiple fluencies: linguistic, cultural, and digital.

  • Inclusion

    Can encouraging the teaching of game authorship and design diminish the class divide between creators and consumers of digital media? The ability of social media to facilitate crowd-sourcing collaboration for ventures ranging from scientific inquiry to political action provides intriguing opportunities for digital inclusion through the public humanities as well.



Judith Pintar, jpintar@illinois.edu
UIUC: Informatics/EL3/Slavic

Randy Sadler, rsadler@illinois.edu
UIUC: Linguistics/MATESL


Duncan Baird, drbaird2@illinois.edu
UIUC: Fablab


David Abzug, david.abzug@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Lawrence Angrave, david.abzug@dsvolition.com
UIUC: Computer Science

Ronald Bailey, rwbailey@illinois.edu
UIUC: African American Studies

Robert Baird, r-baird@illinois.edu

Eric Balistrieri, Eric.Balistrieri@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Kaity Bequette, bequett2@illinois.edu
UIUC: Engineering IT; CU: CUDO Plays

Lisa Bievenue, bievenue@illinois.edu
UIUC: Informatics/Fablab

Jodi Byrd, jabyrd@illinois.edu
UIUC: English

Jarai Carter, carter31@illinois.edu
UIUC: Informatics

Adam Castaneda, aacasta2@illinois.edu

Dan Cermak, dcermak55@gmail.com
CU: Volition

Anita Chan, achan@illinois.edu

Lisette Chapa, lchapa2@illinois.edu

Molly Cooper, cooper21@illinois.edu
UIUC: Extension; CU: Forced Perspective Entertainment

Clare Crowston,crowston@illinois.edu
UIUC: History, French & Italian

David Dubin,ddubin@illinois.edu
UIUC: iSchool

Xavier Durand-Hollis, Xavier.durand-hollis@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Halley Farwood, halleyfarwood@gmail.com
UIUC: Counseling Center

Matt Flegel,Matt.Flegel@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Patricia Franke, pfranke@illinois.edu
UIUC: EL3, Engineering

BJ Gailey, gailey1@illinois.edu
UIUC: Communication; CU: CUDO Plays

Kiel Gilleade, Gilleade@illinois.edu

William Gillespie, william@spinelessbooks.com
UIUC: Informatics, EL3

Jeff Ginger, ginger@illinois.edu
UIUC: CU Community Fablab

Ben Grosser, grosser@illinois.edu
UIUC: Art & Design

Brian Guerrero, guerre10@illinois.edu
UIUC: Education

Erica Haack, erica.haack@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Jeff Hanna, Jeff.Hanna@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Elizabeth Fabry Massa Hoiem, hoiem@illinois.edu
CU: iSchool

Amy Hovious, ahovious@illinois.edu

David Hopping, dhopping@illinois.edu

Lee Imes, lee.imes@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Sharon Irish, slirish@illinois.edu
UIUC: iSchool, Center for Digital Inclusion

Maya Israel, misrael@illinois.edu
UIUC: Education

Ryan Jones, ryjon42@gmail.com

Naiman Khan, nakhan2@illinois.edu
UIUC: Kinesiology

Alexis Kim, ankim2@illinois.edu
UIUC: Linguistics/ESL

Lyndsie Koon, lyndsiek@illinois.edu
UIUC: Kinesiology

James Kotzian, james.kotzian@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Chad Lane, hclane@illinois.edu
UIUC: Education/Curriculum & Instruction

Robb Lindgren, robblind@illinois.edu
UIUC: Education/Ed. Psych

Ethan Madarieta, ermadarieta@gmail.com
UIUC: Comparative Literature

Rachel Magee, rmmagee@illinois.edu
UIUC: iSchool

Beatrice Maldonado, bmaldon2@illinois.edu
UIUC: Anthropology

Ryan McCabe, ryan.mccabe@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Mark McCarthy, mcmccar2@illinois.edu
UIUC: iSchool

Deana McDonagh, mcdonagh@illinois.edu
UIUC: Beckman, Art and Design

Jerome McDonough, jmcdonou@illinois.edu
UIUC: iSchool

Alvan Monje, Alvan.monje@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Sean Mullen, spmullen@illinois.edu
UIUC: Kinesiology

Jamie Nelson, jamien@illinois.edu

Nancy O’Brien, npobrien@illinois.edu
UIUC: Library

Veronica Paredes, vparedes@illinois.edu

Alaina Pincus, apincus2@illinois.edu
UIUC: English, EL3

Karin Readel, kereadel@illinois.edu
UIUC: Informatics

Travis Ross, travisr@illinois.edu
UIUC: Beckman

Thad Sasser, Thaddeus.sasser@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Jason Scott, Jason.Scott@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Keith Self-Ballard, keith.self-ballard@dsvolition.com
CU: Volition

Eric Shaffer, shaffer1@illinois.edu
UIUC: Computer Science

Anoop Shekar,

CU: Volition

Andrew Stengele, astenge2@illinois.edu
UIUC: CITL; CU: Forced Perspective Entertainment

Dan Steward, djs@illinois.edu
Sociology, Informatics

David Ward, dh-ward@illinois.edu
UIUC: Undergrad Library

Jim Wentworth, jwentwor@illinois.edu

Caleb Wilson, rotifer@gmail.com
UIUC: El3, CU: Urbana Public Library

Ava Wolf, arwolf@illinois.edu

Sherry Yi, fangyi1@illinois.edu
UIUC: Education