Summer School on Experimental Play

SIGCHI Sponsored summer school
Centre for Game Design Research, RMIT University, Australia

Dates: Nov 1-4, 2018

Prof. Ben Schouten

Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands


Playful Empowerment, The role of games design for civic engagement

In this lecture we will address a trans disciplinary perspective on design for games and play, one in which users are defined as social and economic actors who co-create products and services. We will see that the role of play in its contemporary and digital form for instance through games, apps, interactive toys is essential in this process. This lecture consists of two parts. The first part focuses on our research in play and civic interaction design. We will define play in its digital form and its intrinsic qualities, such as fun, creation, collaboration, and empowerment. We will then show that through these qualities a new digital culture has emerged in which, instead of a top-down, one-to- many vertical cascade, we find bottom-up, many-to-many, horizontal, peer-to-peer communications. In the second part, I will sketch the research and game designs in relation to research and education at Eindhoven University of Technology and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, including further collaboration with partners in industry and research. The main focus in this lecture is on the challenge of how to design for collective opportunities and participation, e.g. in health care, education and urban planning.

Short bio:

Ben Schouten holds degrees in design, arts, computer science and mathematics. In 1996 Ben Schouten founded, providing innovative internet related solutions. Together with the Dutch Design Institute (Vormgevings Instituut), Desk was internationally acknowledged with a webby award in gaming. In 2001 he received his PhD for his thesis on content based image retrieval and interfaces that allow browsing & searching for images in an intuitive way, according to human perception. Ben Schouten founded a research group in Biometrics and Human Behavior Analysis at the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CWI, Amsterdam) and taught at the Utrecht School of Art & Technology (HKU) in Interaction Design and Gaming. In 2010 he was appointed Full Professor Playful Interactions in Smart Environments at Eindhoven University of Technology and in 2013 Lector of Play & Civic Media Research at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. His group focuses on play for social innovations, citizen empowerment and culture. He is an advisor for the European Commission on the ‘Internet of Things’ and has written 150-plus publications at the intersection of play, games, participatory design and citizen empowerment.

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Slides of the talk coming soon.

Video recording of the talk.