Multidisciplinary Game Research: Between Theory and Practice

Course code
Course fee (excl. housing)
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This summer course provides a multidisciplinary perspective on games and play in contemporary culture, combining perspectives from various disciplines within the humanities, social sciences and computer sciences. It addresses the challenges but also the transformative potential of both ‘applied’ and entertainment games, and provides participants with a holistic perspective including analysis, design and validation. By combining aspects of theory and practice, the course enables participants to better understand and meaningfully implement the potential of games and play within current socio-cultural contexts.

UPDATE: The tentative day-to-day program has been published online (cf. link below).

The program comprises workshops by senior researchers from the Center for Game Research (Utrecht University/UU), the Departments for 'Media and Culture Studies' and 'Information and Computing Sciences' (UU), the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (UU), the Utrecht Institute of Linguistics (UU) and affiliated institutions.

Each day is dedicated to a different thematic angle, starting with applied game analysis, moving on to educational properties of games, games in ecological contexts, business informatics and policy-making, and finally aesthetic aspects of (persuasive) game and play experiences. Apart from the interactive workshops, optional joint social activities with the UDS summer school 'Exploring Culture Through Data', and a tour of the Motion Capture Lab at Utrecht University round off the program.

A tentative schedule can be found below; for the complete syllabus with detailed information on all workshops, check out the day-to-day program.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Dr. Stefan Werning

Target audience

The course is aimed at students (from ambitious BA and MA/MSc students to PhD candidates) as well as members of private and public sector institutions (companies, NGOs etc.) that are either a) already utilizing games and other playful applications, or b) aim to better understand how and when to work with them in academic or professional contexts. It offers participants an innovative platform, combining theoretical and practical approaches to develop a multidisciplinary understanding of games as technology (both digital and analogue), a form of cultural expression, and a social phenomenon.

Study load

On each of the five days we will have two interconnected workshops of 2-4 hours that relate to the theme of the day. Optional activities such as a tour of the motion-capture lab at Utrecht University or workshops on digital game prototyping complement the program. For most workshops, you are expected to read one or more preparatory texts; some also involve the use of digital tools, yet do not require any previous knowledge or technical background.


Course fee:
Course + course materials + lunch
Housing fee:

Housing through: Utrecht Summer School.

More information

Stefan Werning | E: | T: +31 30 253 9729
Address: Muntstraat 2-2a, Room T2.13A, 3512 EV Utrecht


Application deadline: 01 July 2020