Informatics Seminar Series
Winter Quarter 2021

Friday, January 22, 2021

“Accessing Caring Community in Playful Spaces”

Kathryn E. Ringland
President's Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Computational Media
UC Santa Cruz

Marginalized people, such as disabled individuals, often find themselves stigmatized and isolated. This can lead to a host of other challenges, including exacerbating current obstacles and creating new mental health concerns. My research explores how playful technology can support access to community for disabled individuals. In particular, games, such as Minecraft, are not only fun to play but can also be a place of community building and identity exploration. Communities use Minecraft as a foundation, but then also engage in a variety of other social platforms as well. In this talk, I will discuss how technology plays a key role in facilitating access to community support and can bridge virtual and physical worlds in everyday life.

Kathryn E. Ringland is a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California Santa Cruz. She holds a PhD in Informatics from the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of California Irvine. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Washington State University Vancouver. Her research interests include studying and designing technology for those with disabilities. In her research, she is interested how social media expands our definitions of sociality and the assistive role technology must play in our online and offline interactions.

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