Shoshana Kessock is a graduate student at the NYU Game Center, studying Game Design. When she’s not in the classroom, she runs Live Action Role-Playing games, blogs, and regularly deals with zombies at the larp Dystopia Rising. She’s also the coordinator for a first of its kind conference in the United States: the Living Games Conference. Earlier this week, Shoshana answered a few questions about where the inspiration for the conference came from, the work going into it, and why we need it.
Where did the idea for the Living Games Conference come from? When did you make the decision to coordinate the conference?
How did you assemble the program, academic committees for the conference? What role do they play in how the conference works?
I was lucky enough to have met a lot of really great people while traveling and studying LARP over the last few years, so I had a wonderful group of people to reach out to and bring in for the program committee. Thinkers like Jaakko Stenros, Jessica Hammer, Nick Fortugno, Emily Care Boss, Evan Torner and Sarah Lynne Bowman were all people with whom I was familiar already, so when I reached out I was happy they agreed to help. They came together to help me review all the submissions and decide just who would be speaking and how to help the speakers focus their work to make the best content possible for the conference. Then the academic committee was brought together to review the papers that will be submitted to our proceedings journal that will go with the conference. Along with their usual brilliance in the field, everyone has been fantastic in supporting the work we’re doing here as well.
Who would benefit from attending the conference?
Living Games is a space that can benefit anyone interested in thinking about LARP as a designer, a scholar and a community organizer. Those are the three groups in mind for this conference specifically, but I’d also say that anyone who is even interested in hearing more about the hobby can come and participate. The lectures we’re bringing in are largely academic or design-focused, but LARPers who aren’t any of the above would be able to enjoy the talks and especially enjoy the workshops or game’s showcase.
Why do we need this conference?
Will there be recordings from conference talks available after the conference, or live streams during talks?
We are working on getting the conference talks recorded so that they can be made available. In fact, we’re running an IndieGoGo to help fund that portion of the conference that is near to funding. I believe that documentation is so important for us to create that ongoing dialogue about LARPs, so along with an academic proceedings journal to go with the conference, we want to video all we can.