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[Commlist] CFP ‘openliteracy’ Digital Games, Social Responsibility and Social Innovation Symposium, Perth, Western Australia, September 30 & Oct 1

Fri Mar 08 15:36:58 GMT 2019

Please find below the details of our forthcoming Open Literacy symposium on Sept 30 & Oct 1 at Curtin in Perth, Western Australia.


*_Digital Games, Social Responsibility and Social Innovation_*

/An international Research Symposium at Curtin University, Western Australia/



/ “We cannot stress highly enough the importance of greater public understanding /

/of digital information—its use, scale, importance and influence ... /

*Digital literacy should be a fourth pillar of education, *

*alongside reading, writing and maths.*/” /[1] <#_ftn1>**


*Curtin University’s Centre for Culture & Technology (CCAT) and Tencent are proud to launch the Curtin-Tencent Research Centre*at this international research symposium, focusing on digital media and the creative economy, with a special emphasis on digital online games.

The event also marks the 20^th anniversary of *Internet Studies at Curtin University*. We invite you to join our researchers, including *John Hartley,* *Katie Ellis, Tama Leaver, Crystal Abidin* and others, and share your work with visitors from China and the world. Alternatively, save the date and simply attend the event to participate on the day.

*International Keynote Speakers*:

•*Henry Jenkins*(University of Southern California);

•*Zizi Papacharissi*(Illinois-Chicago);

•*Tencent *games executive/developer VP (tba);

•*Mathew Allen//*(Deakin University)––Matt launched Internet Studies at Curtin in 1999.

Date: *September 30-October 1, 2019*, prior to the Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR). We are offering this event as a *‘satellite conference’ of AoIR*. Scholars will be able to break their journey in Perth before heading to Brisbane in time for AoIR’s pre-conference day.

With Tencent’s support, we can offer a limited number of *bursaries to international and Australian doctoral students and early career researchers*. Selected applicants will be offered $500 towards the PER-BNE leg of their travel costs, and we will waive our Registration fee for presenters.


*We invite proposals for papers and presentations on what we are calling ‘Open Literacy’.*‘Open’ literacy links the domain of digital popular culture and entertainment, including video and online games, with that of formal knowledge.

At a time when there is increasing tension between large-scale, global connectivity on the one hand, and a population marked by division, difference and asymmetries of access on the other, it is more urgent than ever to extend participation in knowledge and social responsibility––science and civics––beyond exclusive institutions and restricted professions.

Recent developments in ‘open access’ scholarship, ‘open science’ initiatives and ‘open source’ software offer new ways to update Karl Popper’s vision of ‘the open society’ for the connected age.

Focusing on the extension of digital capabilities among a broad global population via smart devices, apps and digital entertainment to smart users, groups and enterprises, we want to explore how opening digital knowledge systems to popular participation may boost innovation and social inclusion and responsibility.

Many media scholars are sceptical of the ‘mass media effects’ tradition of research, inherited from anxiety about earlier forms of popular media, from print to broadcasting. At the same time they are mindful that public debate about this topic still depends on outmoded industrial and individualist theories.

We want to go beyond that paradigm, to understand the challenges of digital, online media and the possibilities for renewing knowledge systems and social groups in times of technological change and geopolitical uncertainty. In short, what do entertainment systems and knowledge systems––and their users––have in common?


In this context, /‘Open Literacy’ refers to the dynamic combination of (i) individual skills, capabilities and creative imagination (developed through ‘purposeless’ play-practice) with (ii) the social networks, teamwork, conflict management and difference needed in public/media environments, to (iii) build new social groups––‘knowledge clubs’ and ‘knowledge commons’––for social innovation under uncertainty. /Open literacy is user-centred and system-wide, producing unforeseen network effects that in turn change the rules of the game. Navigating newness raises new questions:

•Of what does ‘open literacy’ comprise in the global-digital-connected era?

•How do citizens in different contexts, places and opportunity-spaces practice it?

•Open knowledge, open science, open access: what should policymakers, educators, arts/literature agencies, sport/exercise bodies and commercial entertainment/ leisure providers do about it?

To reflect on these developments and to report on cutting edge research linking games, social innovation and social responsibility, the ‘Open Literacy’ Research Symposium will be held over two days. Papers and presentations––including work by postgraduate and early-career researchers––may address (but is not confined to) the following themes.

In the context of pervasive computational and communicational literacy in the digital age, presenters will think through the relationships among /games, social innovation /and/social responsibility:/

•‘Games’ include digital games and analogue play;

omain focus is on video games, internet and online games;

obut also branded play (Lego/Barbie);

ocompetitive games (sport/health);

ochildhood games (indoor/outdoor play).

•Responsibility includes corporate and individual.

oCorporate: what are the social responsibilities of games developers and publishers? What are they doing right or wrong, according to whose criteria?

oIndividual: rights and duties of players and gamers themselves; how parents and young people achieve and maintain social responsibility through play.

•Responsibility and control:

ohow games work in the production of what Michele Willson calls “the ideal child” (/Media Culture Society/, 2018);

ohow can games and other online changes be historicised meaningfully;

opolitical, moral, religious, authoritarian crackdowns on games/popular media.

The event will also consider a counter-narrative to the rhetoric of responsibility and social innovation through games.

•‘Serious Games’ in medical, health, teaching/learning and development contexts.

•Games and innovation:

oExpansion of the creative economy

oGames as a mass spectacle (e.g. Korea).

•What does gaming teach the next generation?

oLessons from China.

The event will include presentations from global thought-leaders, scholars and practitioners from the USA, Australia, China and elsewhere. Selected postgraduate students will be eligible for financial assistance (bursaries) for travel and for the preparation of their papers and presentations. The intention is to produce a *published* *report from the proceedings* of the day, including selected keynote, specialist and early-career (HDR+ECR) contributions.

Potential presenters, please send your *abstract, of between 250-500 words in length *or *a short paper (1000-3000 words in length)**, to Dr. Huan WU,**by April 5, 2019*: (huan.wu /at/ <mailto:(huan.wu /at/>. Queries and correspondence may be addressed to the symposium convener, John Hartley. We will confirm acceptance during May. For those with institutional support for their research outreach, there will be a registration fee to cover venue costs and catering. If you wish to attend without presenting a paper, just let Huan know.


[1] <#_ftnref1>Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee (14 February 2019) /Disinformation and ‘fake news’: Final Report. /UK: House of Commons, pp. 85; 87 (

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