Montreal Team

JoDee Allen

JoDee Allen is currently pursuing a Humanities research/creation PhD at Concordia University. Her art practice ranges from dance-on-stage to dance-on-screen. Most recently she curated the Digital Dance Arcade, presented at the Choreoscope festival in Barcelona and was artist-in-residence at Flux Laboratories in Geneva. 

Courtney Blamey

Courtney Blamey is a PhD candidate and game designer at Concordia University in the Department of Communication Studies. Her doctoral research concentrates on the process of meaning-making in games communicating emotions through design and exploring this relationship between player and designer in her own critical game design process. Her previous research unpacked Blizzard’s approach to community moderation in Overwatch by investigating both developer and community inputs on forums. She is a member of TAG and the mLab, a space dedicated to developing innovative methods for studying games and game players.

Scott DeJong

Scott DeJong is a PhD candidate in Communication studies at Concordia University studying educational game design, play, and disinformation.  His past work, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, constructed games on issues of digital literacy and older adult mistreatment. Currently his dissertation is studying how games and play relate to disinformation practices and critical thinking skills. His work connects creative practice with research to provide new directions and points for engagement in strengthening public literacies. In his free time, Scott co-produces a podcast speaking with scholars and practitioners on the role and design of humour in games. He is an active member of the Ageing, Communication and Technologies (ACT) lab, the TAG (technoculture, Arts and Games) Lab, the research grant Scaling liveness in Participatory experiences, the Algorithmic Media Observatory, and the mLab.

Lynn Hughes

Lynn Hughes is a digital media researcher, artist and Professor Emerita at Concordia University. She held the Chair of Interaction Design and Games innovation at Concordia until 2018. She was instrumental in the founding and financing of the Hexagram Institute for Media Art and Technology (2001 -now the Hexagram Research Creation Network. In 2008 she founded, with Dr Bart Simon, the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) research centre. TAG is now part of the Milieux Institute at Concordia which she also co-founded in 2015 (with Simons and Dr Christopher Salter). Her own production now focuses on the collaborative design of hybrid physical/digital experiences in the area between digital games, participatory theatre and larping. She also curates exhibitions of experimental games and has recently written a French manual on AI and its creative use, for high schools.

Leo Morales

Leonardo Morales Vega is a Mexican-Canadian artist in Computation Arts at Concordia University, working towards a unified multidisciplinary practice of digital speculative fabulation and sensory research creation. His focus is on multi-cultural representation and sci-art materialization, in the realms of Game and Experience Design. Vega’s trajectory encompasses independent explorations into traditional and digital art production techniques: from 2D hand-drawn visual development to digital 3D creation methods. Leo has a formal education in 3D Animation and Computer-Generated Imagery from Dawson College in Montreal, and currently works as a research assistant in TAG (Technoculture Art & Games, games studies lab). Lately he has turned his attention to Interaction and Game Design as worldbuilding & storytelling tools in his ongoing creative efforts at modern interpretations of mythology. Through his work with game engines and visual computation techniques Leo seeks to surface the inner-workings of the creative process and communicate an embodied intuition of natural scientific/ cultural phenomena through playful interactions.

Bart Simon

Bart Simon is the Director of the Milieux Institute, TAG research centre co-founder and  a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. His areas of expertise include game studies, science and technology studies and cultural sociology. His game studies and design research crosses a variety of genres and platforms looking at the relation of game cultures, socio-materiality and everyday life. His current research on the Immersive Theatre and Games, materialities of play, and player-makers in Minecraft is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Council of Canada. Other projects include work on indie game scenes, solar media, social theories of play, and modding cultures.

Don Undeen

Don Undeen (UF Computer Science 2003 ) was the Founding Manager of the Maker Hub at Georgetown University, and Adjunct Professor of creative technology courses in Georgetown’s Communications, Culture, and Technology graduate program. Prior to his work at Georgetown, Don was the founder and Senior Manager of the Media Lab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an incubator for experiments at the intersection of art, technology, and the museum experience. A lifelong lover of creative technology and the communities that practice it, Don has consulted with businesses, non-profits, museums, governments, and religious institutions around the world, helping complex organizations develop spaces for innovation. Don holds a Master’s degree in Design from Concordia University in Montreal, with a focus on makerspaces, speculative design, and sociability.

Noah Drew

Noah Drew is a teacher of performance and communication skills, and an “all-terrain theatre artist,” originally from Vancouver, now based in Montreal. At Concordia University, he is one of the leaders in the Acting for the Theatre program, creating and teaching courses in Voice, Acting, and Career Skills for performers. Noah’s research-creation focuses on exploring strategies for cultivating and catalyzing heightened states of presence in performers, public speakers, and audiences -drawing on somatic practices; performative sensory immersion and sensory dramaturgy; and (auto)ethnography. As a theatre artist (actor, composer, sound designer, writer/director/dramaturge, deviser), Noah has worked across North America, and in Europe and South America. His sound designs and music for theatre and dance have been performed on four continents, and honoured with six Jessie Awards. He is a Co-Artistic Director of Jump Current Performance.

The Loot Garden

Tanya Dean

Tanya Dean is an English teacher and illustrator based in Montreal, Quebec. She received her B.A. (Hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor, and has worked both overseas and in Canada as an ESL educator for the past nine years. She primarily works with international students and new arrivals to Canada. She is also the president of a local non-profit organization, Notre-Dame-des-Arts, which focuses on promoting community cohesion and togetherness by hosting free arts and culture events in the borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grace. As part of this non-profit and in her free time, she has planned and participated in several art markets in Montreal. Most recently she helped to organize TAG’s Loot Garden and the 14th annual NDG Arts Week.

Adam Mbowe

Adam Mbowe is a Gambian-Canadian artist, filmmaker and curator based in Montreal. Her multimedia approach weaves together themes of oppression and intersectionality, with a focus on people and geography. She draws inspiration from the subtle nuances of everyday life, exploring the struggles and dreams of ordinary individuals and grounding the sociopolitical in the physical experience. Real-life stories of people she encounters in daily life inspire her, and her work combines scripted and improvisational scenes to explore the gray area between fact and fiction. By representing histories that blur the boundaries between traditional notions of narrative, experimental, and documentary cinema, she aims to create works that challenge conventions and spark conversation. Her work has been screened at festivals such as DOXA, Images Festival, and Festival Filminstes.

International Team

Jaakko Stenros

Jaakko Stenros (PhD) is a University Lecturer in Game Studies working at the Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies (at the Game Research Lab, Tampere University). He has published ten books and a hundred articles and reports on games and play. He has taught game studies for almost fifteen years and is currently the head of the international master’s programme in game studies at his university. Stenros’ research interests include norm-defying play, game rules, queer play, role-playing games, pervasive games, game jams, and playfulness. Stenros has also collaborated with artists and designers to create ludic experiences and has curated many exhibitions at the Finnish Museum of Games. University of Turku has awarded Stenros the Title of Docent in 2019 in Game and Play Studies.

Jorge Lopes Ramos

Jorge Lopes Ramos is currently Professor of Interactive Theatre and Performance and Centre Lead of the Creative Futures research centre at the University of Greenwich. Over the past two decades, his research-creation work has addressed the area of immersive, participatory and interactive theatre. His productions include performances, digital work, public installations and exhibitions in international conferences and festivals. For the last decade, Jorge has led on research projects and artworks that have addressed the scalability of intimate performance whilst retaining the quality, depth and care of the live experience. As co-founder and Executive Director of ZU-UK, he has worked with Artistic Director Persis Jadé Maravala to create notable productions such as #RioFoneHack (2012-), Binaural Dinner Date (2016-; Time Out ****), Pick Me Up & Hold Me Tight (2018-; featured by Resonance FM, Talk Radio and BBC Radio London) and Radio Ghost (2020-; SXSW 2022 Official Selection/Lumen Prize Interactive Award 2022).

Persis Jadé Maravala

Persis-Jadé Maravala is Artistic Director of multi-award-winning interactive theatre/digital arts company ZU-UK. Ethnically Iranian/Yemeni/Indian, raised in East London, Maravala is committed to reclaiming public spaces to reduce barriers to audience participation. Recent work focuses on mediating relationships between strangers through use of sound and instruction-based performance. Her work has been commissioned by LIFT Festival, FACT Liverpool, Southbank Centre, Summerhall, British Council, Macau International Festival and the Brazilian Ministry for Culture. Persis-Jadé was a 2021 keynote speaker at FutureFest and inaugural recipient of the Stephen Joseph Award for “groundbreaking work that widens the scope and imaginative possibilities of live and multimedia performance”. She is currently developing Within Touching Distance (Sheffield DocFest International Alternate Realities Competition – Special Mention, 2023), a live-facilitated VR experience exploring the potential of arts-led explorations of touch as tools for mental health therapy and healthcare training towards empathy.