Stephanie de Smale

Playful Memory-Making: A Workshop on Studying Memory in Games

With: Emil Lundedal Hammar and Stephanie de Smale (Utrecht University)

Frankfurt, 12 June 2018 4:15 – 6 pm // Cas 1.812 (Campus Westend)

Kriegsspiel used in the Prussian army illustrates the long-standing relationship between war, games, and memory. On the one hand, play and play are cultural forms and activities that engaged people for centuries, teaching them about strategy, social norms and values. On the other hand, playing games in the digital age gives rise to practices that facilitate moments of memory making in and around game culture.

It is in the intersection of these two considerations that this workshop treats the phenomenon of games and memory. Whether it is board games like Axis & Allies, strategy games like Civilization, or action games like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, people engage with memory via playing games. With the help of playful attitudes to the past, perhaps games and the activity of play allow us to think of memory-making in even broader terms?  

Emil Hammar

Working with specific case-studies in groups, this workshop uncovers questions such as; how do games and play contribute to cultural memory? What do games and us playing with them tell us about the past? How do we play with history and have their own social life when they are played? How does transcultural movements of memory occur in the playing of games? And what about conflict and trauma in the relationship between games and memory? Do games allow players to imagine the past differently? Are there any methodological considerations when approaching games and memory? How do memory studies contribute to game studies and vice versa?

By working with cases of games, participants will contribute with their own ideas, thoughts, and experiences on the relationship between play and memory, and how to study such phenomena. Everyone is welcome, simply register via e-mail to emil.hammar[at] Required readings and further articles will be made available to you upon registration.