Shepherd seminar on indie game design & diversity policies in Canada

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 16:00 to 18:00
NIRSA Conference Room, Iontas Building, Maynooth University.

Dr. Tamara Shepherd from Ryerson University, Toronto, is giving a seminar on 'Incentivizing Indie: Indie Game Design Initiatives in Canada.'

This talk will outline a series of recent initiatives to promote independent or "indie" game design as part of Canada's digital economy development. General policy trends toward fostering the growth of the digital games sector in Canada have been met with more local, grassroots community programs designed to encourage wider participation in the creation of digital games. Once such local initiative is the Montreal-based women's game design workshop Pixelles, which enables first-time game makers to develop indie games and connect with the city's vibrant game design scene. The success of Pixelles has largely been made possible by the free labour of its coordinators and network of mentors -- so how will such a program remain sustainable in the long run? The talk concludes by suggesting ways of incentivizing indie game design initiatives such as Pixelles, given the predominantly commercial economic policy climate, the precarious labour conditions of designers, and the contested identity politics of what it means to be indie. All are welcome.

Dr. Shepherd has received a prestigious Dobbin Scholarship from the Ireland Canada University Foundation to visit Maynooth University in early 2014 and work with Dr. Aphra Kerr, Sociology, on a comparative study of public and private initiatives to support independent video game development in Ireland and Canada.

Tamara Shepherd is a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Catherine Middleton at the Rogers School of Information Technology Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada on issues relating to telecommunication policy and regulation. She received her PhD in the Joint Doctorate in Communication at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. Her work in the feminist political economy of digital culture looks at labour, literacy and citizenship in relation to social media, mobile technologies and digital games. Her dissertation is titled “Persona Rights in Young People’s Labour of Online Cultural Production: Implications for New Media Policy” (2012). Her work has been published in First Monday, Triple C, Global Media Journal, and the Canadian Journal of Communication. She is a member of the Cultural Digitally research network. For more see