im/material: Place and Performance

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When: 15 April 2019, 16:00-18:00

Where: Kelvin Hall Lecture Theatre, University of Glasgow

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What impact will immersive experiences have on public space? Public places are where we interact with one another; where we gather to perform our daily social rituals, observe our neighbours, and interact. Our use of space is shaped by a range of organizational, aesthetic, and functional factors. The materiality of space overtly and subtly shapes our interactions with and within these environments. The impact which immersive experience will have upon our experience of places remains poorly understood.

Understandings of the interplay between place and human behaviour is underpins a wide range of fields, from marketing to architecture to anthropology. This event brings together speakers from research and industry to focus on the key research areas and drivers related to place and performance.

The im/material Place and Performance event will be based around a series of questions including: What happens when we introduce immersive technologies that add a new set of immaterial cues to public spaces? How do individual digital experiences, AR or XR experiences in public spaces affect interactions that have developed assuming a shared place-based context? Can immersive technologies and experiences be used to affect positive changes in public interactions? How might immersive experiences help us to understand social and performative uses of built spaces?


Stuart Jeffrey (Glasgow School of Art)

Stuart Jeffrey is Reader in Heritage Visualisation at the School of Simulation and Visualisation, The Glasgow School of Art. His work at the School of Simulation and Visualisation covers all aspects of heritage visualisation and the use of new technologies to create records, analyse, interpret, and present every form of heritage from built to intangible. Stuart’s research interests focus on how these technologies transform the relationships between individuals, academia and broader contemporary communities of interest and the heritage in question, and how they can be deployed for the benefit of communities and the places in which they live.

Learn more about Stuart's work at:,-dr-stuart/

Malath Abbas (Biome Collective)

Malath Abbas is a game designer, artist and producer working on experimental and meaningful games. He is a founding member of Biome Collective, Scotland’s first game collective and co-working space in order to support a community of sustainable independent game makers, and to foster cross sector collaboration.

Learn more about Malath's work at:

Catherine Clarke (School of Advanced Study, University of London)

Catherine Clarke is Chair in the History of People, Place and Community at the Institute of Historical Research. Her research explores intersections between place, power and identity in the medieval period. She leads an institute to develop research, training and public engagement activities that demonstrate the scholarly value of the history of people, place and community. Her work is collaborative and interdisciplinary, and involves digital methodologies and creative practice.

Learn more about Catherine's work at:


Rachel Opitz (University of Glasgow)


Rachel Opitz is a lecturer in Archaeology. Her research spans across diverse applications of digital technologies in archaeology, from remote sensing of forest landscapes in Europe and the Mediterranean through using immersive digital media to investigate human perception of the built environment and objects. Her work explores and reflects on the impact of the emergence of new technologies and methods on research and practice in the humanities.

Learn more about Rachel's work at:

im/material: Playing in im/material worlds




When: 13 May 2019, 16:00-18:00

Where: Hannah Maclure Centre, Abertay Student Centre, Abertay University

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Reserve your place at: or simply join us on the day.

Games transcend material and immaterial worlds. We play with things, but also with imaginary things; we play in places, and also in imagined places. As immersive experiences become a part of how we play, how do our games and our practices of game design change? Experimental, playful and provocative approaches to game design can help us to rethink the intersection between material and immaterial worlds.

The Playing in im/material Worlds event will be based around a series of questions including: How can best practices and theories from game design be used to frame and develop our understanding of immersive experiences? How are digital, immersive games designed for public spaces, and how can site-specific digital games make complementary use of material and immaterial objects? How do we approach storytelling using emerging immersive technologies? What opportunities for storytelling are afforded by the blurring between immaterial (virtual) and material (physical) worlds?


Simon Meek (The Secret Experiment, Glasgow)


Simon Meek is the V&A Dundee's first Designer in Residence, mixed-media storyteller and founder / creative director of The Secret Experiment: videogame development studio and indie label. His work spans game, narrative and graphic design. 



Sandy Louchart (The Glasgow School of Art)


Sandy Louchart is Head of Undergraduate Programmes at the School of Simulation and Visualisation at The Glasgow School of Art. His research investigates the domains of Interactive Storytelling (IS) via the development of the Emergent Narrative concept and autonomous characters.

Sandy’s current interest in the Interactive Digital Narratives area is focused on bridging the knowledge gap between Artificial Intelligence constructs for IDN, authors and writers.



Mona Bozdog, Lecturer in Immersive Experience Design (Abertay University)


Mona is an experience designer and a Lecturer in Immersive Experience Design at Abertay University. Her research is practice-based and focuses on the convergence of contemporary performance practices and video games, particularly designing hybrid forms of storytelling, performative games, mixed-reality and immersive experiences and games for public spaces and heritage sites.



 Lynn Love (Abertay University) 


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Lynn Love is a lecturer in animation and interactive media at Abertay University who, when not teaching, makes interactive work that blurs physical and digital boundaries aiming to make the world more playful.  As part of Abertay Game Lab, she is channeling these playful interventions into academic research having recently completed her PhD thesis about bringing people together through play. When she's not teaching, making game controllers out of tinfoil and kids toys, scribbling with chalk around Europe or out and about with her Beagle, Snoopy, you can find her random thoughts and adventures on twitter as @toadrick.




Robin Sloan (Abertay University)


Robin Sloan is a Senior Lecturer in Game Design and the Creative Industries theme leader at Abertay University. His research investigates the role of personal and collective memory within games culture, including the representation of remembered and remediated spaces in game worlds and systems, nostalgia as a critical frame for games analysis and playable game criticism, and gaming nostalgia within fan culture. 

Learn more about Robin’s work at:

im/material: VR, Immersion, and Narrative

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When: 4 October 2019, 14:00-17:00

Where: Room 422/423 Sir Alwyn Williams Building, University of Glasgow


Show your interest by signing up on eventbrite:

Video games have long been used to tell stories, and the medium offers unique affordances for doing so. From the emergent narratives of titles such as Journey (thatgamecompany, 2012) and No Man’s Sky (Hello Games, 2016) to the meticulously crafted stories of Firewatch (Campo Santo, 2016) and What Remains of Edith Finch (Giant Sparrow, 2017), games are often said to offer immersive and interactive storytelling opportunities. However, games also present unique challenges for storytellers, challenges that relate to these very same properties.

Players, fully immersed in a game world with which they may interact at will, are empowered to wrest authorial control from the game’s designers and writers. The author of a novel may assume that the reader will encounter the story in the order intended, but this is not the case in a game where the player may explore the world at will. The director of a film may frame a camera shot to ensure that key narrative beats are granted the necessary on-screen prominence, but this is not a given where the player enjoys control over the in-game camera.

For VR games, many of these issues are exacerbated, and further challenges and concerns begin to emerge. How immersive an experience can a VR game offer if the player character’s movement is limited to teleporting from one spot to another? Does current-generation hardware offer sufficient fidelity when it comes to interacting with the game world? Should we be concerned about the accessibility of VR, particularly as the technology begins to be used more widely in education?

These are some of the questions we aim to tackle here.


Jon King (Sony, London Studio):

Jon King is a Senior Designer from PlayStation London Studio, and specialises in narrative and player experience. Over a 15-year-career, he has designed for mobile, PC, Console and now Virtual Reality. Jon played a key role in delivering Sony’s ground-breaking launch title for the PSVR headset, VR Worlds. Most recently, he was a Senior Narrative Designer on the critically acclaimed action-narrative VR game, Blood and Truth. Working closely with both animation and story development teams, he helped create interactive drama sequences and integrate them with gameplay. Over his career, Jon has also worked in technical, level and game design roles at companies including Lionhead and Kuju.

Rhoda Ellis (PhD Candidate, DJCAD, University of Dundee):


Rhoda is a sculptor and creative producer. Her practice spans both the material and immaterial with a focus on the human at the heart of this interface. In her practice-based research, she combines a background in Neuroscience with Phenomenological Aesthetics when designing, and making, virtual and mixed-reality installations.



Chris McLaughlin (Moon Mode):

Chris McLaughlin is the Tech Director of Moon Mode, a VR studio based across Scotland and Sweden. He's been working in the games industry in the UK and Japan for twelve years, VR for five years, and has created three award winning VR games during that time.

Mal Abbas (Biome Collective): 

Malath Abbas is a game designer, artist and producer working on experimental and meaningful games. He is a founding member of Biome Collective, Scotland’s first game collective and co-working space in order to support a community of sustainable independent game makers, and to foster cross sector collaboration.

Learn more about Malath's work at:


Matthew Barr (University of Glasgow):

Matthew Barr Profile Picture

Dr Matthew Barr is a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, where he convened the University’s first Game Studies course and founded the international student game studies journal, Press Start. He is currently based in the Centre for Computing Science Education, where he leads the Graduate Apprenticeship in Software Engineering programme and is co-director of the University’s Games and Gaming Lab. His new book, Graduate Skills and Game-Based Learning, examines the use of video games in higher education. Matt currently serves as Vice Chair of British DiGRA (the Digital Games Research Association) and as a Director and Trustee for the Scottish Game Developers Association. He also sits on the BAFTA Scotland Committee.


im/material: Design practice, immersive experiences, and making future places

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When: 5 November 2019, 17:00-20:00

Where: The Atrium, Alison House, University of Edinburgh


Show your interest by signing up on eventbrite:

This event explores how VR, AR, and other immersives are affecting, or could in the future affect, design practices in architecture and planning, and in how we approach designing experiences of built environments. What are the substantive differences between the traditional, current and emerging practices in how they approach cueing behaviour and understanding how people respond to built structures and places? What might the practical, social and ethical implications of these shifts in design practice be? Do immersive technologies encourage or constrain creativity in design practice? How will we design and create future places? This event will explore these themes through a series of lightning presentations, a panel discussion, and opportunities to engage with demos.

This event is jointly supported by the im/material network (University of Glasgow) and Creative Informatics (University of Edinburgh).



Richard Coyne (University of Edinburgh)

Richard researches and teaches in information technology in practice, computer-aided design in architecture, the philosophy of information technology, social media, digital media, and design theory. He inaugurated the MSc in Design and Digital Media, in which he also teaches. Richard is Programme Director of the MSc by Research in Digital Media and Culture.

Pooja Katara:


Pooja is a graduate of Mackintosh School of Architecture and founder of UK SENSEcity. SENSEcity is Glasgow’s first free travel guide book that comes alive in Augmented Reality. Her interests lie in socially engaging urban projects.

Rachel Cruise (University of Loughborough)

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Rachel's research and teaching are cross disciplinary between Architecture and Structural Engineering. She focuses on both technical research into the importance of design and manufacturing processes for structural performance and a critical understanding of different ways of modelling material behaviour and making processes in the widest possible sense. She is interested in how the material world is perceived across construction professions and how this influences the way they design and construct our built environment.

Jimmy Loizeau (Goldsmiths, University of London)

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Jimmy Loizeau's projects are intended to exist on, or just inside the peripheries of possibility. These new systems, schemes or products provide an altered view on how we might interact with infrastructural systems or technologies for better or for worse exploring design possibilities through inclusive speculation. The Illegal Town Plan (2013-) looks at inclusive structures and strategies for local engagement in large scale town planning schemes.