My work spans a range of disciplines, sitting at the intersection of human-computer interaction, game studies, social sciences, and museum studies.
Over the course of 2019 and 2020, I completed a double masters degree in Museum Studies at Deakin University and World Heritage from the Brandenburg University of Technology in Germany. In the cultural heritage space, my research interests are in sustainability and community.
In 2021, I worked on a research project about the ethics of the use of biometric facial recognition software, framed around character creation for the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons.
I’m now pursuing my own research through my PhD, where I get to explore the intersection of these topics. Broadly, my research interests include museums, sustainability, games, serious and educational games, storytelling, community, accessibility and inclusivity in games, technology, and user experience.
Melbourne Megagames Panel at PAX Aus, 2022
The University of Melbourne
PhD in Human-Computer Interaction and Games in Museums
Masters of Museum Studies and Cultural Heritage
Roslyn Lawry Award Finalist
Brandenburgische Technische Universität
Masters of World Heritage Studies
The University of Melbourne
Bachelor of Arts
Major in Ancient World Studies, Minor in Art History
At the intersection of human-computer interaction and museum studies exists a unique opportunity to explore games as an interactive tool. Visitor interest in museums is flagging and as audiences’ values shift, so must museums’. While museums have increasingly adopted interactive technologies to engage visitors, these efforts have not yet fully realised museums’ potential in creating immersive and educational experiences that cater to the evolving expectations of modern audiences. This research will investigate how digital technologies can facilitate immersive museum game experiences. By examining the current state of technologically mediated interactive experiences in museums, and museums’ use of games more broadly, a design methodology for museum games can be constructed.
This paper was presented at the CHI PLAY Conference 2023 as part of the Doctoral Consortium.
Recent decades have seen a renewed focus on the affective “experience” of a museum. Museum visitors are seeking novelty, and museums are responding with an array of multi-dimensional experiences that are emotional, sensorial, aesthetic, recreational, and social, as well as educational. This shift is transpiring along two primary axes: play and technology. In order to understand the potential for games and play to achieve these aims and be enhanced by technology, it is first necessary to understand: what makes a game successful in a museum context? This study presents a successful case study of a non-technology based game: a tabletop roleplaying game run at the Hellenic Museum.
This paper was presented at the DiGRA Australia Conference 2023, and represents a portion of the first study for my PhD, further work on this study is described below.
July 2022 - Present
Wattle Fellowship Action Project
The Wattle Fellowship is the University of Melbourne's co-curricula program for students to foster leadership on global sustainability. It focuses on multidisciplinary approaches, transformative leadership and practical skills development. As part of this program I am designing a project based around running a climate change adaptation game in a museum context.
July 2022 - Present
Accessibility in Megagames
How do you take an event that is designed to run for 8 chaos-infused hours, and make it accessible? How do you grow from a tradition of gaming saturated with historical revisionism and patriarchal standards? This forthcoming guidebook is a guide for megagame organisers and designers alike provides some advice on how to make megagames more accessible and inclusive.
February 2023 - April 2023
LORE: A Greek Mythology Roleplaying Game at the Hellenic Museum
Players will experience the thrill of battle and the weight of destiny, as they become powerful demi-gods and join forces with legendary heroes Jason and Heracles on their quest for the Golden Fleece. With the guidance of their Oracle, players will immerse themselves in a world of ancient gods and heroes, making decisions that will shape their own odyssey in the pursuit of kleos.
Alongside the graphic design and artwork for this project, I wrote a tabletop roleplaying game module based around the museum's collection, which ran for visitors at the Hellenic Museum.
December 2021 - January 2022
Players' Perceptions of Patina on Boardgames
I researched and wrote a literature review for a forthcoming study with Dr Melissa Rogerson on how wear and tear to boardgames is perceived by hobbyist boardgamers and players.
March 2021 - May 2021
This project explored the intersection of facial recognition technology and the Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) gaming experience as part of Melbourne Knowledge Week 2021. As part of the project researchers created an application that uses a photo of someone’s face to create personalised attributes for a game character. The project uses a single photo and facial recognition technology to determine scores for strength, dexterity, constitution, intelligence, wisdom and charisma. Artificial Intelligence (AI) assigns a class such as wizard or fighter, determining if the character is perceived as good or evil.
Alongside graphic design for the project, I co-wrote and ran a D&D module for participants to play using the characters they created with Biometric D&D.
March 2020 - November 2020
Swimming Upstream: Safeguarding the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape Against the Impacts of Climate Change
While there is an expanding body of literature on the threats of anthropogenic climate change, heritage is still struggling to catch up with other fields. Although the climate crisis is undeniably urgent, it remains a politically charged issue that is not always represented in the governance and management of heritage, particularly at a site-specific level. This research uses the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape in western Victoria, an Australian World Heritage site, as a case study to examine the relationship between climate change and heritage management. The research assesses whether the historically sustainable aquaculture systems that the Gunditjmara developed and maintained to farm kooyang (eels) will remain sustainable in the face of emerging anthropogenic climate change threats. The ‘two-way learning’ that occurs between Indigenous knowledge and western frameworks supports the management of change across the site, but would undeniably benefit from more specific climate change metrics. The challenges of managing the impacts of climate change on the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape will be ongoing, but the Gunditjmara centred management regime is well equipped to persevere, much like the kooyang that swim upstream to return to the ocean and continue a cycle of life that has been occurring for millennia.
Panels and Presentations
Panel: Spontaneous Megagame Design: Live on Stage at PAX Aus
Following the success of our (very coherent) Ghost-Mafia-Rail-Tycoon game developed hand in hand (or at least idea-in-idea) with our awesome audience last year, the crew from Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne Megagames are back to guide you on a chaotic megagame design journey. This time around, we'll be fleshing out game-design principles in-practice as we design a brand new game together live on stage! Come prepared (or not) with prompts and ideas to sling at us, and we'll take it from there to mould a mega-scale all-day roleplaying and board-gaming extravaganza. Through the fun we'll evaluate design ideas and examine the tough parts of designing huge games; how different disparate game spheres are tied together by resources, information, and social intrigue.
Panel: Evolutions of Gaming: How new designs will change games as much as technology
It has been clear that the gaming landscape has been changing, and that COVID-19 has only supercharged that change. It’s common to see discussions about how going digital and long distance has changed tabletop gaming, but increased use of digital tools is not the only development in games media. Megagames, ARGs, and hybrid or crossmedia games are starting to make a deep impression on what it means to be a game in the modern day. Join Lee Cope, Sidney Icarus, Nellie Seale and Dr Lucy Sparrow, games academics and experts, for a discussion of the future of games as a medium, discussing both the difference that digital tools can make and the opportunities for mixing gaming locations, styles, and media for a truly innovative future of gaming.
Presentation: OzCHI Doctoral Consortium
The cultural sector is embracing novel technologies to support its renewed focus on the visitor, on education, on games and play, and on diversification of the types of stories that museums are platforming. However, the quality of museums’ use of technology is haphazard. Many museum technologies are problematised by the isolation they generate, or by their lack of quality and inconsistent user experience. The exception to this is a small sub-set of museum apps that are designed as games. Immersion is proposed as a solution to many of museums’ problems with technology, yet there is no clear definition for what an “immersive” experience is. This research examines roleplaying games as a way to understand immersion, and to assess whether it can be generated by a gameful experience in a museum in the absence of technology.
Panel: Making Games Mega at PAX Aus
Games! Board games, video games, tabletop roleplaying games: so many types of games! But what about…megagames? Megagames are large-scale live-action RPG meets board game, where you spend an entire day with dozens of other players creating alliances, plans and chaos. From pirate kings carefully managing their fleet to intrepid explorers searching for lost Atlantean treasures, or simply a chef on a spaceship catering great parties, Megagames have it all.
Restart, reconnect, and reimagine the world through urban play. Join a diverse community of designers, game developers, scientists, writers, architects, artists, producers, performers, players, bureaucrats and more exploring Melbourne as a playful city. Learn about the impacts of play about place on post-pandemic urban life and urban design. How can playful thinking and urban games reshape our ways of being in the world?
How do some of the biggest, longest running and most successful megagame networks work? How do they tackle challenges like designer drain and pandemics? Different networks, groups and communities around the world are managed in different ways, and this panel seeks to shine a light on some of the complexities, for anyone hoping to help out an existing network or found a new one.
I tutor for a range of subjects at the University of Melbourne.
As the 25pt capstone for the Digital Technologies Major, this subject creates an opportunity for students to work as an independent team to develop and evaluate a novel proposal for a new interactive technology or new application of existing technologies. The group will work under a supervisory framework and be given regular briefings on their activities and expected progress. Using knowledge and techniques from INFO10003 Fundamentals of Interaction Design, the group will identify and analyse an existing situation of use, develop a ‘design concept’, and a digital prototype to realise part of that concept. Using knowledge and techniques from INFO20004 Usability Evaluation Methods, the group will conduct an evaluation of their prototype and interpret the resulting findings. Students will learn how to develop a technology innovation proposal for their design concept that builds on evaluation findings to mount a business case.
Digital games are one of the largest entertainment industries, increasingly pervasive within society, and at the forefront of emerging technologies with respect to user experience and online social interaction. This subject will develop understanding and practical knowledge of the fundamental principles of game design, interactivity and immersion. It will examine how these techniques are increasingly being applied in contexts such as health, learning, web-design and in emerging virtual reality experiences. The subject will explore the deeper conceptual foundations of the theory of games and their use beyond the digital realm. Students will learn the underlying principles of how to design games, what games are and how they engage players. They will apply this knowledge to the analysis of games, the study of play, and the persuasive, transformative and educative potential of gaming experiences.
How do we know if our digital designs will be usable and useful when people take them up in their work or social lives? Poor designs lead to errors and frustration and result in a substantial waste of money and resources. It is crucial that digital designers carefully evaluate and iterate their designs throughout a well-structured process. In this subject, students will build on the foundational material from the prerequisite subject Fundamentals of Interaction Design to learn the key industry methods and tools used to conduct usability evaluations and develop understanding about when these methods should be applied and how to interpret their findings.
This subject is a full overview of Video Games. The great games, the history, the techniques, and the future of this developing medium and industry are explored in 12 weeks. Games have developed from simple electronic entertainment in the 70s to an epic cinematic medium that now is larger than the entire film industry and one of the most popular and complex forms of art and virtual reality in the 21st century. Games have moved past being shoot and kill spectacles and are becoming a form of expression for millions of people and a new medium of social interaction and technological development that is engaging gamers and non-gamers alike. As virtual reality becomes a greater part of ‘real life’ this course explores the complex network that makes up the video game world and the emerging group of designers and artists who are exploring new possibilities.
To understand the full picture of video games it is impossible to separate the commercial elements from the artistic and the technological from the social and mental. A wide range of disciplines need to be explored and the connections between them as well as looking at the game industry itself and how it is transforming. Each week will combine the issues that surround games and an overview of the best and most complex games from multi million dollar blockbusters to the new ‘art games’ and independent games that re-invent the concept of a game.
How do you design interactive technologies that are useful, usable and satisfying? How can we better understand user needs in order to inform the design of new technologies? Fundamentals of Interaction Design addresses these questions, and students will learn about the key theories, concepts and industry methods that are crucial to the user-centred design process.