Join the Conversation on Inclusion in Live Streaming

September 4, 2019

This Friday, Sept. 6, the Inclusive Streaming Initiative is hosting a public panel discussion on diversity and inclusion in live streaming from 5-7 p.m. in Donald Bren Hall 6011. The panel is part of an intensive two-day workshop, “Video Game Live Streaming: Challenges and Possibilities for Diversity and Inclusion,” featuring leading scholars in areas ranging from game studies and esports to cultural anthropology.

“We’re doing this public-facing panel so that more people at UCI can be part of the conversation,” says Informatics Professor Bonnie Ruberg (they/them pronouns), who specializes in queer issues in video games and is leading an ongoing research group called the Inclusive Streaming Initiative with Ph.D. students Amanda Cullen, Kat Brewster and Spencer Ruelos. “Live streaming is a really important area of online entertainment, but there are also a lot of problems with identity-based harassment, so the panel aims to give the UCI community an opportunity to learn about research in this area and ask questions.”

Ruberg and their collaborators invite all members of the UCI community to attend, including those involved in UCI’s impressive Esports program, fellow researchers in the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), and also faculty and students from departments such as Film and Media Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Department of Anthropology. Attendees will hear from the following four panelists:

  • Dr. Samantha Blackmon, associate professor of English at Purdue University, is a games researcher who is passionate about making the games community a more inclusive space;
  • Dr. Mia Consalvo, professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal, runs the mLab, a space dedicated to developing innovative methods for studying games and game players;
  • Alexandra Orlando, an alum of the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo, is a lecturer and researcher who explores esports and Twitch streaming; and
  • Dr. T.L. Taylor, professor of comparative media studies at MIT, is a qualitative sociologist who is focused on the intersection of culture and technology in gaming and online spaces.

“The panelists are a really exciting group,” says Ruberg. “Mia Consalvo and T.L. Taylor are some of the leading scholars working on issues of video games and culture, and both Samantha Blackmon and Alexandra Orlando are streamers themselves, so one of the cool things about this panel is that it brings in expertise from people who are actively playing and streaming.”

The panel will be moderated by Cullen, an informatics Ph.D. candidate working in the Critical Approaches to Technology and the Social (CATS) Lab. Cullen is the research coordinator for the Inclusive Streaming Initiative, which aims to promote diversity and inclusion in live streaming. The researchers involved in the initiative study issues at the intersection of video games, social justice, gender and sexuality, and while the initiative has been in the works for over a year now, it was an ICS Exploration Grant of $75,000 that led to the creation of this two-day workshop. “The idea was to up our game on this research by bringing together a community of scholars who work on live streaming,” says Ruberg.

To help these researchers identify directions for future work, join the conversation on Friday as you enjoy light refreshments and learn about the challenges and possibilities of diversity and inclusion in video game live streaming……..

Shani Murray