18 March 2020

Co-sponsored by the Center for Games Resarch, special interest group Games and VR for Inclusion, and the Netherlands Research School for Gender Studies (NOG), Alison Harvey (University of Leicester) visited UU

Inclusion and Gender: Alison Harvey (University of Leicester) visits UU

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Koen Leurs, Liesbet van Zoonen & Alison Harvey.

On 25 and 26 February Alison Harvey from the University of Leicester visited Utrecht University to give a lecture and a masterclass.

The lecture Harvey gave was titled ‘Re-Futuring’ Feminist Media Studies, and it featured a response by Professor Liesbet van Zoonen.

The lecture, attended by 100+ attendants discussed the contents of the recently published book Feminist Media Studies, giving an outline of its approach to building on the contributions of Liesbet van Zoonen’s foundational text and the developments in the field since 1994. As a full synthesis of all concepts, debates, and methods within this area would have been impossible, the author developed a framework based on a commitment to interdisciplinarity, intersectionality, and global perspectives on feminist action in this text, which was also the focus of this talk. At the heart of this consideration of feminist media studies is a future-looking perspective on pressing social challenges and the role of the field in light of these. In this lecture Harvey outlined the politics and ethics of this utopian approach to thinking about knowledge production in feminist and gender studies, its challenges and promises, and the possibilities it can generate for work within and beyond media studies. Harvey drew from her extensive experiences in collaborating with digital game-making initatives and groups.

Professor Liesbet van Zoonen, author of the field-setting Feminist Media Studies, published in 1994, offered a response to the lecture.

In her Masterclass with research master and PhD students from various Dutch universities and programs, Harvey conducted an interactive session entitled “Double Agents: Community-Engaged Scholarship in the Marketized University”. This session focused on how we conduct ethical work within our communities in an academic system that at times conflicts with the objectives of critical work aimed at seeking more just, equitable, inclusive, and sustainable worlds. In order to demonstrate these challenges as well as opportunities for community-engaged academic work, she provided a highly reflexive account of her work with digital game-making initiatives and groups. Across a range of collaborative projects conducted in her career, from women- and feminists-in-games networks in Canada to accessible game development toolkits tested across Europe, Harvey has aimed to challenge the status quo imposing barriers to participation as well as recognition of the manifold creative and cultural powers of games. Analysis of these initiatives, including critical thought about the politics of engaging in such work, can be found in articles published in International Journal of Cultural Studies, Studies in Social Justice, Feminist Media Studies, Information,, Communication & Society, and Loading…Journal of the Canadian Game Studies Association as well as a forthcoming co-authored book entitled Dirty Methods: Feminist Epistemologies and Methodologies for Digital Research.