Seminar Cancelled

We are deeply saddened to announce today that Immersive Experiences, the 16th annual Tampere University Game Research Lab spring seminar, is hereby cancelled. The reason behind the cancellation is the evolving global COVID-19 Coronavirus epidemic. 

At this stage, it seems that social distancing is a key ingredient in tackling the epidemic. As Immersive Experiences seminar would have brought together around eighty presenters, commentators, and audience from a dozen countries, we wish to be responsible and err on the side of caution. We also need to be aware of the increasing travel bans. These include a recent Tampere University-wide directive to avoid gatherings of more than 100 people, which may be expanded in the coming weeks. It also includes the various restrictions imposed by the seminar guests’ institutions and local health policies — and they are likely to become stricter as we approach the seminar dates. Furthermore, virus infections have been detected on one of the Tampere University campuses already, and although the seminar was scheduled to take place off campus, this does speak to the risks. 

We have considered turning the seminar into a remote meeting, but have decided against that. However, we are considering arrangements where authors, commentators, audience members, and organizers could opt in to reading and commenting on the submitted work-in-progress papers. 

We are heart-broken about not getting to meet you all and discuss all things immersive with you. We also recognize that this cancellation may significantly inconvenience many of you, let us assure you that the decision was not made lightly. However, the well-being and health of all of us is our priority.

Commentator and Keynotes

The Immersive Experiences seminar have three special guests, acting as invited commentator and delivering keynotes.

Chia Aleena 05lrDr. Aleena Chia is an invited commentator at Immersive Experiences, and will deliver an academic keynote. Chia is an ethnographer of gaming cultures and an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University. She researches practices at the margins of the digital and analogue, and in the interstices of work and play, within contexts such as game and fan conventions, live-action role-playing hobbies, and online game co-creation. Her work addresses gaming’s boundary work as structuring categories in post-Fordism, as achievement systems in player communities, and as moral calculations in the New Economy. She earned her PhD from Indiana University in 2017 and was a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies at the Univerity of Jyväskylä in 2018. Her work has been supported by training from Cornell University’s School of Criticism and Theory, an internship at Microsoft Research New England’s Social Media Collective, and an invitation to the Social Science FOO Camp at Facebook. She has published in journals such as Television & New Media, the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, and the Journal of Fandom Studies.

seregina - profile picDr. Usva Seregina is an invited commentator at Immersive Experiences. Seregina is a researcher and lecturer in consumer sociology as well as a practicing visual and performance artist, currently based in Goldsmiths, University of London. Seregina’s academic work is interdisciplinary, encompassing such fields, as consumer research, sociology, anthropology, performance studies, game studies, and art education. Their artistic work mainly takes form as interactive installations and performances aimed at critique and political discussions. In both their artistic and academic work, Seregina focuses on exploring the meaning and power structures of consumerism in contemporary culture. As part of their practice, Seregina is also developing various performance-based and art-based research methodologies.

Johanna KoljonenJohanna Koljonen gives an industry keynote at the Immersive Experiences. Koljonen is the CEO of Participation Design Agency. She is a writer, broadcaster, and participation designer consulting on experience design with museums, the public sector, and media companies. She is an authority on designing for safety and trust in participation, and lectures internationally on analog experience design, Nordic Larp, and changes in the media landscape. Koljonen co-founded the Alibis for Interaction Master Class and the Nordic Larp Talks, both of which she hosts, and is the editor of the Nostradamus Project, which charts and predicts the close future of the screen industries. In 2011, she received the Swedish Grand Journalism Award in the Innovator of the Year category. In 2019 she edited Larp Design: Creating Role-Play Experiences.


Registration Open!

The Spring Seminar program is now available and can be found here. Once we receive the presenters’ papers after the due date of March 9th, we will send them to all presenters and attendees via email.

Non-presenters who wish to attend the seminar should register by completing this form. Registration is free. There is limited space at the seminar.

Feel free to share information about the seminar on social media! The official seminar hashtag is #springseminar20.

Abstract Deadline Extended

The abstract submission deadline has been extended by a week. The deadline is now January 20, 2020.

The papers will be selected for presentation based on extended abstracts of 500-1000 words (plus references). Abstracts should be delivered in PDF format.
Submissions should be sent to:

Commentators Announced

We are happy to announce the two invited commentators for the Immersive Experiences spring seminar! They are Dr. Aleena Chia (Simon Fraser University) and Dr. Usva Seregina (Goldsmiths, University of London). Dr Chia is an Assistant Professor specializing in the ethnography of gaming cultures. Her research investigates practices at the margins of the digital and analogue, and in the interstices between work and play. Dr. Seregina’s academic work is interdisciplinary, encompassing such fields, as consumer research, sociology, anthropology, performance studies, game studies, and art education. They are also a practicing visual and performance artist.

Call for Paper published

The call for papers for next year’s spring seminar has now been published. Immersive Experiences seminar will be the 16th annual spring seminar hosted by Tampere University Game Research Lab and the Center of Excellence in Game Culture Studies. The seminar follows our traditional work-in-progress format; all papers ate distributed to all participants ahead of the seminar. This means that we can have a lively and informed discussion at the seminar.

Notice that this year the seminar takes place the same week as Solmukohta (Knutpunkt), which means that people interested in larp may want to stick around in Tampere for a few extra days.