Visiting fellowships in digital humanities/heritage/serious games

I may have the chance to take a short break from Perth and apply for a visiting fellowship or scholarship, preferably in digital humanities, digital heritage (3D), or serious games (history and heritage).

I asked on twitter if there were links, URLs and did not hear back so I had a little search of my one, hope these may help others. I do not necessarily need a salary etc but some of these might include a stipend:



UK and Eire



Early career or postdoc

More general




AR/MR case studies and zombies on a dig

Why do we use augmented reality for heritage? To show what is not there, navigate and orient people, to reveal what is created intangibly by our indirect actions, or to reveal our impact on material remains..

But AR/MR/games can reveal archaeological methods along with intrinsic reasons to play games, zombies!

Zombies are slow and can be animated or rendered clumsily; they provide a protagonist on limited AI resources; they are associated with death, decay and the past. We have some experience with zombies and biofeedback or skeletons and archaeology..

  • Example: Library Skills, Archival and archaeology methods
  • Goal: The goal can be serious exploration; but with imaginative constraints and settings.
  • Game mechanic: For example: dig up zombie, match to correct time using dating methods
  • Feedback: If correctly matched to time period, zombies are animated and run amok.
  • Setting: archaeological dig, a mortuary or a library.
  • Affordance: Find artefacts that placate zombies; mortuaries require following correct rituals to rebury zombies; library archives inform player of artefacts of value to zombies-find books of power to protect against zombies.
  • Reward: Videos or machinima augmented glimpses of potential past/individual narratives.
  • Game platform: does it have to be 3D? Could it be designed in minecraft (open source or otherwise), minetest, or terrania? Augmented reality: how could it be involved? Oh I have some ideas but that would be telling and I’d have to charge..

Updated UK/France/QATAR itinerary

Still being planned (Newcastle is still a tbc):

The 3 talks:

UCL Qatar: (tbc), 20 or 21 November 2017:

Talk, workshop and debate on Historical narratives and digital spaces (place tbc)

Salford, 29 November 2017:

Rethinking Virtual Places

This talk will cover my recent thoughts on what is a virtual place and a virtual world, and why we seem to have shifting, even varying notions of virtual reality. For example, what are virtual environments and virtual museums? Do they open our minds up to the possibility of digital space and virtual culture? In my opinion, they typically fail to do so, virtual museums lack contestation and imagined defensive capacity, they are not cultural worlds.  Many philosophers and cultural studies thinkers have given us some hints as to cultural places, but not to virtual cultural places. And architects are also not as well placed as one might think, to design, critique and review virtual places.  Nor is it clear to many how we learn through virtual placeAugmented reality will begin to dominate virtual reality, and consumer-friendly component-based VR technology has great promise, but new and emerging devices displays and peripherals may have long-term detrimental cognitive, physical and social effects.

Research Digital Cultural Heritage conference, University of Manchester, 30 November-1 December 2017:

Inside Out: Avatars, Agents, Cultural Agents

If conveying cultural significance is a central aim of virtual heritage projects, can they convey cultural significance effectively without an understanding of the contextual role of cultural knowledge? In this talk I will argue this is very difficult, but even populating virtual environments with others (human-guided or computer-scripted), there are still vital, missing ingredients.

In virtual heritage projects with enough computational power and sophistication to feature intelligent agents, they are primarily used as guides (Bogdanovych et al. 2009). They lead players to important landmarks, or perhaps act as historical guides (revealing past events, conveying situationally appropriate behavior). Intelligent agents are usually designed for limited forms of conversation and typically help convey social presence rather than cultural presence. For an enhanced “sense of inhabited place”, engaging narrative- related elements, or embodiment, a cultural agent recognizes, adds to, or transmits physically embedded and embodied aspects of culture. They could provide a sense of cultural presence, becoming Aware-Of-Not-Quite-Being-‘There’.

Cultural agents would not be mere conversational agents if they were able to:

  1. Automatically select correct cultural behaviors given specific events or situations.
  2. Recognize in/correct cultural behaviors given specific events, locations, or situations.
  3. Transmit cultural knowledge.
  4. Modify, create, or command artifacts that become cultural knowledge.

To fulfil the above criteria, cultural agents would be culturally constrained. Not just socially constrained; their actions and beliefs would be dependent on role, space, and time. They could understand and point out right from wrong in terms of culturally specific behavior and understand the history and possibly also the future trajectory of specific cultural movements. In this talk I will discuss three scenarios for cultural agents, their relationship to roles and rituals, and two more missing ingredients. The result? A more situated, reflexive appreciation of cultural significance via virtual heritage.



“power of archives” food for thought.

We regularly hear about the ‘power of the archive’ and know about the importance of the archive for accountability and identity within our societies. But do we ever actually stop to think about the term ‘power of the archive’? What is the nature of this power? Do archives have inherent power? Or is it those…

via Considering “The Power of the Archive” — Identity & Archives


The latest book that isn’t (yet)


The book that isn’t, I just drafted and sent for internal academic/publisher review a book on virtual places. So it may be modified, it may not get finally published (not sure what happens, I signed a contract) but I cannot resist listing some of the issues it tries to cover, hope they are issues for you too..

Continue reading “The latest book that isn’t (yet)”


new project 1: HMD Augmented Reality Heritage Trail study

The following was a successful grant, funded by the Curtin Institute of Computation.

The program/research plan:

In 2016 the Chief Investigator (CI) organized a one day talk and workshop on cultural heritage visualization, (“GLAM-VR”, Curtin HIVE, ) and helped facilitate a related makerspace event (“Cultural Makathon at Curtin Library Makerspace”, URL: ). All groups of students finished their projects apart from one single individual group encountering trouble designing inside a 3D game engine. For the Augmented Reality 2016 makerspace tutorials, there was similar difficulty in finding suitable tutorial material. Unfortunately, there are few tutorials and examples for augmented reality and 3D game engines for hackathon or makathon events. There is even less material for cultural heritage augmented reality tours. And there is no academic feature list survey and comparison of recent augmented reality headsets for cultural heritage tours, where one walks along a heritage trail using the augmented reality headset (HMD) for augmented information.

This 2017 pilot study will aim to resolve this issue by providing an exemplar, online resources, a white paper and

  1. The two ECRS will develop a simple digital 3D environment prototype which reveals cultural heritage assets, artefacts and landmarks when viewed inside a portable head-mounted display (HMD) or augmented reality HMD.
  2. We will compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of the above HMDs, run an evaluation on test subjects of preferred display, time required to navigate and to wayfind, and record participants’ task performance and memory recall.
  3. We will create a white paper for this, including suggested workflows and appropriate tools.
  4. From the above findings we will provide an online available training course for developing Augmented Reality cultural heritage tours for head Mounted Displays.
  5. There will be a pilot workshop at CURTIN LIBRARY MAKERSPACE

LUDIC PASTS workshop at DiGRA2017 Melbourne

LUDIC PASTS: “Game Simulations of Past Cultures and Places” Workshop


Erik Champion, Curtin University Australia, email
Michael Nitsche, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, email

The fusion of archaeology and gaming has become known as archaeogaming, although this term covers several approaches. For example, Reinhard (Reinhard 2015) wrote: “I had originally thought of Archaeogaming as a framework around studying how archaeology and archaeologists are portrayed by game developers, and how they are received by gamers. I was also curious to see how (or even if) I could apply real-world archaeological methods to virtual spaces, studying the material culture of the immaterial.” However, this is not simply a workshop about archaeogaming, there are other related fields interested in the ludic simulation of past places and past cultures (art history, museum studies, media studies, anthropology, sociology, urban design, geography, to name a few). There may be specific issues that distinguish, say heritage-based games (Champion 2015) from history-based games (Chapman 2016) but there are also common themes, authenticity, accuracy, imagination and how interaction helps learning.

Despite increasing interest in archaeogaming theory, there is little discussion of the field in terms of actual game design. And despite the increasing range and quality of courses (Schreiber 2009), books (Fullerton 2014) and presentations (Lewis-Evans 2012) on game design and game prototyping, there is still a paucity of available game design tools and techniques specifically for capturing and communicating the past (Manker 2012) (Neil 2016, 2015). In addition, we face a lack of venues for archaeogaming developers and related experts to present, pitch, playtest and perform their game prototypes (Ardito, Desolda, and Lanzilotti 2013, Unver and Taylor 2012, Ardito et al. 2009). Hence content experts in history and heritage-related fields often lack the experience or knowledge to test game ideas, and, conversely, game studies scholars may not be aware of discipline-related problems in history, heritage, museum studies and archaeology.

This half-day (4 hour) workshop brings together researchers and designers interested in evaluating and tackling issues in the simulation of past places, events and cultures through computer game interaction. The format will combine the presentations with a discussion centered on the question of how games can support cultural heritage. Each participant will present on a particular theme, challenge or case study.

We invite contributions from any domain, including game analysis, interaction design, digital humanities, play studies, among others. In the second part, we will identify key issues arising from the presentations and in small groups will suggest a game design scenario that could address the issue in an interesting way. We are also interested in theoretical papers that examine and suggest answers for issues in converting history, heritage and general archaeology projects into potential games.


  1. Please email a one page proposal to, with the title “DIGRA workshop-LUDIC PASTS-<your surname>”.
  2. Provide a short but descriptive title.
  3. A description of the issue that you wish to present, whether it is a theoretical theme, design challenge or case study
  4. Mention any examples that exist.
  5. Outline any potential solutions or ideas that you wish to discuss.
  6. Is there anything you would like to bring, show or demonstrate?
  7. In one short final paragraph please explain your related background, why this issue is significant to you and which audience would be interested in a potential solution, is it specific to a field or of wider interest and impact in game studies?
  8. Lastly include contact details, your name, job title and any affiliated institute or organization.


  • 6 March 2017                      deadline for papers
  • 10 March 2017                    announce selected authors
  • 3 July 2017                            LUDIC PASTS workshop, DIGRA2017, MELBOURNE (


  • Critical discussion from multiple related domains of archaeogaming.
  • Design sketches indicating possible approaches to address them.
  • We will discuss a potential shared book publication about the topic.


  • Individual presentations of key challenges.
  • Identify shared themes and concerns to form small groups developing game sketches for archeogaming and related fields.
  • Presentation of the concepts and conclusion.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE (4 hour workshop, 240 minutes total):

  1. 160 minutes: 8 presentations, each a maximum of 20 minutes long (including questions).
  2. 60 minutes: work on game scenarios (scene) in one of 4 groups.
  3. 20 minutes: summarize and report findings to all attending.


Whiteboard, pen and paper. If there is a video projector or large screen, then digital game scenarios/sketches could be shown as well.


  • Of interest to content experts in history and heritage-related fields, game studies scholars, game designers and developers.
  • Ideal size of audience: up to 32 not including the 8 speakers


We will discuss approaching a creative publisher (Liquid Books, University of Michigan Press or other) to provide an online or printable output of the demonstrations and the audience feedback.

 If you are interested in submitting a chapter, but cannot attend the workshop, please email the organizers a proposal similar to the 1 page workshop proposal outlined above.


  1. Ardito, Carmelo, Paolo Buono, Maria Francesca Costabile, Rosa Lanzilotti, and Antonio Piccinno. 2009. “Enabling Interactive Exploration of Cultural Heritage: An Experience of Designing Systems for Mobile Devices.” Knowledge, Technology & Policy 22 (1):79-86. DOI: 10.1007/s12130-009-9079-7.
  2. Ardito, Carmelo, Giuseppe Desolda, and Rosa Lanzilotti. 2013. “Playing on large displays to foster children’s interest in archaeology.” DMS.
  3. Champion, E. 2015. Critical Gaming: Interactive History and Virtual Heritage.
  4. Chapman, A. 2016. Digital Games as History: How Videogames Represent the Past and Offer Access to Historical Practice.
  5. Fullerton, Tracy. 2014. Game design workshop: a playcentric approach to creating innovative games: CRC press.
  6. Lewis-Evans, Ben. 2012. “Introduction to Game Prototyping & research.” Slideshare, Last Modified 16 December 2012, accessed 24 January.
  7. Manker, Jon. 2012. “Designscape–A suggested game design prototyping process tool.” Eludamos. Journal for computer game culture 6 (1):85-98.
  8. Neil, Katharine. 2015. “Game Design Tools: Can They Improve Game Design Practice?” PhD, Signal and Image processing. Conservatoire national des arts et metiers, CNAM.
  9. Neil, Katharine. 2016. How we design games now and why. Gamasutra. Accessed 24 January 2017.
  10. Reinhard, A., 2015. Excavating Atari: Where the Media was the Archaeology. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, 2(1), pp.86-93.
  11. Schreiber, Ian. 2009. ““I just found this blog, what do I do?”.” Game Design Concepts – An experiment in game design and teaching, 9 September 2009.
  12. Unver, Ertu, and Andrew Taylor. 2012. “Virtual Stonehenge Reconstruction.” In Progress in Cultural Heritage Preservation: 4th International Conference, EuroMed 2012, Limassol, Cyprus, October 29 – November 3, 2012. Proceedings, edited by Marinos Ioannides, Dieter Fritsch, Johanna Leissner, Rob Davies, Fabio Remondino and Rossella Caffo, 449-460. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.


Erik Champion, Curtin University Australia, email
Michael Nitsche, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, email