Material Sensibilities

making space for play across the life course

Interesting Calls for Papers

Several CFPs have caught my eye recently…

Following on from a successful inaugural Philosophy at Play conference in 2011, a second Philosophy at Play conference is to be held at the University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom, on 9-10 April 2013.

A book, Philosophy of Play (Routledge), arising from papers delivered at the 2011 event is to be published in March 2013, and will be launched at the conference.

CFP: Play, players, and being at, in or out of play, have been concepts for philosophical debate in the ancient, modern and contemporary eras. The significance of play within ethical, existential and metaphysical philosophies is well-established, yet rarely are the names or work of key thinkers evident in policy or practitioner discussions about play. This conference aims to build disciplinary and paradigmatic bridges between scholars of philosophy and scholars of play, particularly children’s play. We welcome proposals for papers to be presented at the conference. These should be submitted to by 28th September 2012, and should be no more than 400 words and in English. Papers may be on one of the following topics, or on another topic relevant to the intersections of philosophy and play:

* The concept of play in philosophy: ancient, modern and contemporary
* Play and aesthetics
* Play and the good life
* Play and power
* Play, freedom and (self-)control
* Play and selfhood / The self at play
* The ontology of play and being at, in or out of play
* Play, space and time * The dialectics of play * Play, ethics and morality
* The philosophy of games, toys or sports as play
* Playing as a philosophically significant activity * Philosophy of play as applied philosophy
* Philosophy of playwork
* Political philosophy, childhood and play   

Link to Facebook  event page Link to Twitter account Email: Link to University of Gloucestershire website


CFP: (Are You / You Are) Who They Say You Are: How Institutions Structure Ludic Experiences

A proposed panel for Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) 2013 Conference: P[L]ay: Performance, Pleasure and Pedagogy

Chaired by Matt Omasta, Utah State University & Drew Chappell, California State University Fullerton Play matters.

Every day, adults and children perform / play-through myriad roles as they engage in recreational activities. We assume roles when we play games (from board games to live action role playing), attend events (e.g. theme parties, interactive dinner theatre, athletic competitions, rodeos), enter certain spaces (e.g. theme parks, sacred spaces), and/or literally manipulate avatars in virtual spaces. Even supposedly “passive” leisurely activities (e.g. viewing theatre, television, or film) frame viewers in particular ways. While these ludic experiences are often considered diversions from “real” life, they play an active role in structuring that very “reality.” In many contemporary societies, the recreational activities people participate in are increasingly created and governed by institutions (e.g. corporations, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, religious organizations, and NGOs). Since no entity is ideologically neutral, institutions often pursue particular social, political, commercial, and ideological agenda (some explicitly, some otherwise). The goal of this panel is to better understand and articulate the ideological underpinnings of played-through experiences and how they may affect the player/performers who engage in them. We seek panelists interested in applying various methodological & theoretical lenses to the function(s) of play, with a particular emphasis on the intersection of ludic spaces (physical, virtual, or imagined), the institutions that structure such spaces and the experiences therein, and the player-participants who deliberately seek out such spaces and experiences for recreational purposes. Interested scholars should submit a brief abstract (< 200 words) describing the specific ludic site(s) their work explores, and indicating how they will engage with one or more of the guiding questions below:

1. What role(s) do institutions play in structuring the site(s) your work explores?
a. How do institutions render the world and/or structure social interaction through the sites of play they construct? Do they encourage players to seek holistic or alternative understandings of the world, or seek to narrow participants’ experiences and perceptions?
b. What specific stories do these institutionally-designed sites call for participants to play through? What larger social/cultural narratives do these in-site narratives reference / evoke / depend on?
c. How might players embrace / challenge these narratives?
2. How do the site(s) you consider evoke or resist the various definitions of play offered in extant play scholarship (e.g. Derrida, Huizinga, Schechner, Sutton-Smith, Schechner, Turner, et al)? In other words: what “is” play in this context?
3. What (if any) role does commerce play at your particular ludic site?
a. What “products” (broadly construed) are bought and sold at the site, and how is their value determined? Who buys and sells these products? How is money collected and managed?
b. In what way(s) do the various parties benefit financially or otherwise from the transaction, if at all?
c. Does commerce play a role in who is admitted to the ludic space?

Interested scholars should submit an abstract (no more than 200 words) and a brief bio to BOTH and by October 15. Link to Conference website


I also found out a little too late about the Hide & Seek Weekender Conference held  14th-17th September in London.

Playing in Public Games are entering the cultural mainstream and becoming part of our civic life, creating a set of challenges and opportunities for professionals tasked with managing public spaces. Through a series of talks from leading thinkers and practitioners, showcases from artists, producers and technology companies, and tailored networking sessions, the Playing in Public Conference creates an environment where new ideas for the future of play in public space can flourish. * The Who and How of Collaboration. Creating games and playful experiences for public spaces begins from innovative collaborations: between artists, game designers, architects, organisations, curators, funders and space holders. The day will look at the issue of collaboration from all these perspectives, illuminating the practical and creative steps necessary to foster great projects. * The Past and Future of Public Play. Playing in public is arguably our oldest cultural activity, yet games are generally thought of has a technological, industrial cultural form. How can we link heritage with innovation? Link to Conference website I’d love to hear from anyone who made it to this event.


CFP: 2013 Rutgers Media Studies Conference: Extending Play Can we still define play as an organizing principle in today’s technologically mediated world? Play can be hard work and serious business, and it’s time to push beyond the conceptualization of play as merely the pursuit of leisure and consider how the issues of power, affect, labor, identity, and privacy surround the idea and practice of play. The Rutgers Media Studies Conference: Extending Play invites submissions that seek to understand play as a mediating practice, and how play operates at the center of all media. We are interested in all approaches to the traditions, roles, and contexts of play, and hope to explore how play can be broadly defined and incorporated as a fundamental principle extending into far-flung and unexpected arenas. Johan Huizinga characterizes man as the species that plays: “Law and order, commerce and profit, craft and art, poetry, wisdom and science. All are rooted in the primaeval soil of play” (Homo Ludens, p.5). How does play operate as a civilizing function — or is it perhaps a technology that produces order? Play is a means of exploring and joining various disciplines: Social media, mash-ups, and blogs have altered how we communicate and create; game design has influenced how businesses relate to consumers; citizen journalists have shifted the role of the professional in mediating information and forging a public sphere. To explore these questions, we invite scholars, students, tinkerers, visionaries, and players to the first ever Rutgers Media Studies Conference: Extending Play, to be held April 19th and 20th, 2013 on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick, NJ. Confirmed speakers for our keynote conversations include Fred Turner (Stanford University) & Stephen Duncombe (New York University) and Trevor Pinch (Cornell University) & Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky (The European Graduate School). We invite individuals from media studies and related fields in the humanities and social sciences to participate. Potential topics for paper, panel, roundtable, and workshop may include, but are not limited to:

-Playing with labor: work-like games and game-like work
-Play as resistance (culture jamming, situationist art, or other contexts)
-Gendering (and gendered) play
-Music and performance -Linguistic play
-Play and social media -Playing with identity
-Love and play (flirtation, AI relationships, robotica, etc)
-Gamification and games in nontraditional settings
-Transgression, cheating, and “gaming” systems
-Darker side of play (trolling, gambling, or corruption)
-Game studies

The Rutgers Media Studies Conference: Extending Play promises to offer a memorable meeting of scholarship, and to that end, we are looking to play with standard conference conventions. One track throughout the conference will be a series of public workshop sessions in which scholars and practitioners will host roundtable discussions on contemporary issues that bring together an audience of experts and interested parties. In the academic panel track, each presenter will have a maximum of 15 minutes to offer his or her ideas as a presentation or interactive conversation, and will choose one of the following methods of presentation:

–material accompaniment (hand out a zine, scrapbook, postcard series, etc)
–performance (spoken word, song, verse, dance, recording, etc)
–limited visuals (a maximum of 3 slides and 25 total words)
–game (create rules and incorporate audience play)

For additional ideas on how to play with media, play with time, or play with space during your presentation, visit our website at The deadline for proposals is Saturday, December 1, 2012. We invite individual proposals, full panel proposals (of four members), and proposals for roundtable and workshop sessions. Please email an abstract of approximately 247 words, along with your name, affiliation, presentation method, and a short biography to If you are interested in proposing a topic for our public workshop track, or are interested in participating in one, please indicate that as well. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by mid-January 2013.


4 responses to “Interesting Calls for Papers

  1. oddhack October 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Glad you have spotted our Philosophy at Play call Tara… we’d love to have you here in Gloucester in April if you can! We’ll be sending out a secondary CFP soon as well, so if you have something you’d like to propose to present (feeling philosophical?) then it’s not too late.

    I wasn’t able to go to London for the H&S Weekender but it looked great. I follow Holly Gramazio and conspirators on twitter and they were very excited about it.

    The Rutgers conference is less well aligned to my interests (there was a similarly themed conference in the UK a couple of years ago) but I saw the Florida one and thought it looks amazing!

    Best, Francis.

    • tarawoodyer October 5, 2012 at 8:53 am

      Unfortunately I’d already committed myself to another conference in LA by the time I saw your CFP. A real shame because I’d love to go to it, looks great. Would be great to do some kind of little follow up event to the Exeter workshop at some point, maybe a joint enterprise?

      • oddhack October 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm

        Tara, I’d absolutely love to be involved in a follow-up to the Exeter workshop. I had a great day and I think the topic area is hugely exciting… was great to meet Seth Giddings and so many others from various disciplines & backgrounds. I’m a methodology geek also, so hearing you talk about your PhD work was really interesting too.
        I wonder what form a follow-up event might take? Could we aim for something in January again, 12 months on? Would need to put something out very soon. Not sure if we’d get it funded this time though!

      • tarawoodyer November 12, 2012 at 5:40 pm

        Let’s keep talking about this. I’ll email you!

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