Symposium Schedule: Immersion|Dissonance

PLAY/PAUSE presents

Immersion Dissonance.png

Schedule Outline

9.00—10.00                                               Registration

10.00—10.30                                            Introduction

10.30—12.00                                             Panel 1

12.00—13.00                                             Lunch (provided)
(demos available during break)

13.00—14.30                                             Panel 2

14.30—15.00                                             Coffee break
(demos available during break)

15.00—16.30                                             Panel 3

16.30—16.45                                             Break

16.45—18.00                                             Keynote
Verity McIntosh—UWE Bristol 

Panel Overviews

 Panel 1: Sensory Immersion and Intimacy

 Aaron C Gaudette (
Normalised Representation and Personal Significance: Creation and Analysis of Authentic Virtual Environments

Adam Edwards (University of Birmingham) and Grace Feehan (University of Loughborough)
Sex in the Virtual: Fear, Queer and Persevere(ance)

Hillegonda C Rietveld (London Southbank University) and Jon Weinel (Coventry University/London Southbank University)
Extended Dancefloor: Visualising Sonic Immersion in XR


Panel 2: Flow, Distraction, Dissonance

Silvia Ruzanka (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Aesthetic Analysis of Digital Games through Journey and The Night Journey

Bettina Bodi (University of Nottingham)
Ludonarrative Dissonance and Agency in Naughty Dog’s Unchartered Series

Darshana Jayemanne (Abertay University)
The Body Eclectic: Mimesis and Play in Contemporary V.R.


Panel 3: Identity, Physicality and Digitality

Rob Gallagher (Kings College London)
Echo and Narcissism: Emersive Gameplay and Posthuman Humility

 Holley Goodban (Lancaster University)
‘The presentation of elf in everyday life’. Identity Performance in World of Warcraft

Rob Eagle (University of West England)
Building genderqueer bodies through play in mixed reality


Keynote Speaker –

Verity McIntosh – UWE Bristol

 Verity is a Senior Lecturer in Virtual and Extended Reality at UWE Bristol, and Programme Lead for a brand new MA in Virtual Reality. Launched in January 2019, this industry-led, practice-based masters offers students the opportunity to spend a year developing their craft as pioneering storytellers, adding VR/AR/XR to their creative toolkit, and critically engaging with the politics, business and culture of this emerging field.

Verity was previously Managing Producer at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio, a unique research space with a resident community of over 150 artists, creative companies, technologists and researchers working at the intersections of creativity, technology and culture.

Verity has an established reputation as a creative producer, working with talented teams and individuals to develop, expand and realise their ideas on a global stage. As VR lead for Watershed, and as a founding member of Bristol VR Lab, Verity has developed a distinctive voice within the VR/XR community. She is an advocate for interdisciplinary storytelling that bridges physical and virtual worlds, and argues for a more considered and inclusive approach to audience care in VR experiences.

More info:

T: @veritymcintosh @UWEBristolVR



Play/Pause was initially born out of a desire from 3 postgraduate students to broaden the academic consideration of videogames and virtual reality across academic disciplines: away from the consideration of them as niche, relatively new technologies, towards mediums that have the capacity to encourage and create academic discourses that reflect the cultures they are created in. We began by creating an extracurricular seminar series at the university in order to facilitate discussions of different mediums, in line with the following goals:

  • Be an informative and critically engaged introduction to game and VR studies
  • Provide an environment that fosters academic interest in VR and videogames
  • Interrogate the practicalities of videogames and VR in academia
  • Approach game studies and VR studies from multiple, interdisciplinary perspectives

After a successful inaugural symposium in 2018 on the topic of Play, Procedure and Procedurality, we are truly excited to welcome speakers to present at our second symposium for 2019, Immersion|Dissonance. We hope that the symposium will inspire critical thinking about how immersion plays out across mediums in contemporary culture, and how we can benefit from approaching this from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

Symposium organising team

 Vicki Williams — @vicki_will
Vicki is a third year PhD student, and her research explores the ways identity and embodiment are captured in and through increasingly immersive virtual environments and virtual reality (VR) in particular. The project also considers the ways immersive technologies might pose new affective challenges, looking closely at the horror genre and glitch studies to assess the cultural, social and political ramifications of increasingly intimate interactions with technology. My research interests span across visual and sound media.

Richard Bingham — @binghari

Rich is currently completing a PhD in English Literature at the University of Birmingham, UK. His research interests include digital cultures and videogames, critical theory, contemporary generationalist discourse, and the twenty-first-century novel.

Rebekah Cunningham — @rebeckyham

Becky is a second year PhD student and her research is currently focussed on how scholarship can approach game development and videogames as products that are dynamically changing through networked means (DLCs, patches/updates, etc.), generating increased reciprocity between the users of videogames (developers, players, journalists, etc.), resulting in games that are constantly changing around us. On a broader scale, I am interested in the industries of digital culture and how they function as both a product and a process.

Book onto the eventbrite here



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