Call for Papers

Call for Papers: Playful Experiences Seminar, Tampere 2.-3. April, 2009

  • Updates: the CFP deadline is now passed.
  • the seminar commentators will be Aki Järvinen (ITU Copenhagen) and Oskar Juhlin (Interactive Institute).

What does it involve to enter the state of play? How games and other playful phenomena stand out among other everyday experiences, and can playful experiences be designed? Is there a way we can learn to understand games better by looking at phenomena that are not games, but where playful behaviours are common? How are play and function intertwined in Facebook, iPhone, Habbo Hotel and the other topical interactive products and services?

As, on the one hand, so-called gamer generations are spreading understanding of play and games literacy into society, and, on the other, digital information and communication technologies are having an impact on various use contexts and in different social processes, there will be increasing needs for understanding playfulness that is not restricted to games in the classic sense. Play as an attitude and mode of engagement is appearing in social Internet services, and also working life is becoming increasingly open towards playful and creative modes of thought and activity.

‘Playful Experiences’ seminar invites presentations from multiple points of view, promoting wider interdisciplinary dialogue around player studies and games research, and in related fields. The co-organisers, University of Tampere Games Research Lab and Nokia Research Center invite both theoretical as well as empirically based studies into ‘playfulness’. Particular fields of study include, but are not limited to:

  • theories and methods for understanding play experiences;
  • the social and cultural construction of play experiences;
  • the nature of playful phenomena and playful attitude;
  • the social character of games and playful experiences;
  • the role of technology for playful experiences, e.g. play in mobile user contexts;
  • user interface and usability issues related to playful interaction;
  • play experiences beyond games.

The seminar is fifth in the annual series of game studies working paper seminars organised by the Games Research Lab in the University of Tampere, this time co-organised with Nokia Research Center. Due to the work-in-progress emphasis, we strongly encourage submitting late breaking results, working papers and/or submissions from graduate students. Early considerations from projects currently in progress are most welcome, as the purpose of the seminar is to have peer-to-peer discussions and thereby provide support in refining and improving research work in this area. After the seminar, separate consideration will be given to various options of publishing the seminar papers.

The papers to be presented will be chosen based on extended abstract review. Full papers are distributed prior the event to all participants, in order to facilitate discussion.

The two-day event consists of themed sessions that aim to introduce current research projects and discuss ongoing work in studies of games, play and their relation to surrounding phenomena. The seminar will be chaired by professor Frans Mäyrä (Hypermedia Laboratory, University of Tampere). There will be two invited paper commentators: assistant professor Aki Järvinen (ITU Copenhagen) and studio director Oskar Juhlin (Mobility Studio, Interactive Institute).

The seminar will be held in Tampere, Finland and will be free of charge; the number of participants will be restricted.

Important Dates

  • Abstract Deadline: January 15, 2009
  • Notification of Acceptance: January 30, 2009
  • Full Paper deadline: March 6, 2009
  • Seminar dates: April 2-3, 2009

Submission Guidelines

The extended abstract submissions should be between 500-1000 words (excluding references). Abstracts should be sent to <playfulexp{at}> as plain text only (no attachments). Guidelines for submitting a full seminar paper will be provided with the notification of acceptance.

Our aim is that everyone participating has been able to read materials submitted to the seminar, therefore the maximum length for a full paper is set to 6000 words (excluding references). Note also that the presentations held at the seminar should also encourage discussion, instead of only repeating the information presented in the papers. Tentatively, every paper will be presented for 10 minutes and discussed for 20 minutes.

Seminar web site:

Co-organised by: &

University of Tampere / Hypermedia Laboratory / Games Research Lab
Nokia Research Center / Media Laboratory / Human Practices and Design

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