Rainforest Scully-Blaker, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Informatics, was awarded a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in Canada. The $40,000 award will fund the next two years of his doctorate, supporting his research into the cultural, political and economic affordances of gameplay.
“My research examines video games as cultural objects that reveal some of the tensions between what counts as labor and what counts as leisure in our late capitalist world,” explains Scully-Blaker, who grew up in Montreal. “I’m interested in how work is made to feel like play and how play is made to feel like work and [plan to] investigate both the design and play of video games as potential sites for staging critical interventions in the exploitative labor models of tech-sector and gig-economy jobs (exploitation that is itself made possible by technology).”
Scully-Blaker says he was particularly excited to receive the award, as this was his second attempt to earn SSHRC funding. “To finally have my research recognized like this was a great boost, especially given all that’s going on,” he says. “I’ve been spending the last week running through all of the new opportunities that this fellowship will afford me, and I am feeling very lucky and very grateful.”
— Shani Murray