Call for Proposals: Live Streaming Symposium: Communities of Play

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The Serious Play/Digital Cultures Collaboratory invites proposals for an online symposium on live streaming of games and other performative media. Presentations will be made by video and ideally will involve elements of unscripted or improvised performance. Contributions selected for the symposium will be part of a synchronous program featuring live interaction via chat as well as post-presentation discussion.

We invite projects that consider live streaming across numerous applications. Teachers, critics, and commentators have been using live-streaming technologies since their inception to reflect on games, play and culture. Similarly, a complex network of individual or collaborative streamers and eSports organizations use live streaming as a form of broadcasting. Even more broadly, as we all face a global pandemic that prohibits us from sharing physical space, virtual environments and digital live communication have kept communities connected. As we shift into increasingly online or distant labor and communication, live streaming has become a hub for sharing, generating, and sustaining cultures of play and performance. With this wide potential for critical discourse about live streaming in mind, the Digital Cultures Collaboratory is certain of the importance of this event, which will be held online April 17-18.

The Symposium will feature presentations of approximately 40 minutes using Twitch or a similarly accessible platform to combine the live streaming of gameplay or other performative activities with commentary, reflection, or instruction. Presentations must be recorded and may also be performed live at the event. They may involve multiple participants.

We will consider a wide range of possibilities but particularly encourage proposals that explore live streaming in contexts such as:

• Building and sustaining communities
• Responding to regional and global crises
• Reaching out to communities not privileged in academia
• Transforming traditional academic and political institutions
• Developing and intervening in popular culture
• Emerging pedagogies
• Engaging in critical discourse of and through play
• Popularizing and encouraging political action
• Questioning whether live streaming practices constitute safe spaces

To apply, send a description of your project of approximately 750 words to with the subject “SYMPOSIUM ABSTRACT – First Name Last Name”. Your proposal should include:

1. Statement of concept, identifying elements of performance and commentary
2. What your project is meant to achieve in its immediate context (instruction, research, etc.)
3. Possible larger significance of the work
4. Platform and technical considerations
5. Links to streaming channel or other work as appropriate

Proposals will be reviewed by members of the Collaboratory and external consultants. All presentations selected for the program must have a pre-recorded version to insure against technical contingencies, but we will do our best to support live presentation as a preferred option. Presenters must agree to use of their recorded versions on the Collaboratory website. No fees will be charged for participation.

We look forward to receiving your abstract and welcome questions to the email listed above.


Submission Due Date: November 30, 2020
Accepted Submissions Announced: January 15, 2021
Pre-Recorded Videos Submitted: March 17, 2021
Symposium: April 17th & April 18, 2021

About us:

The Digital Cultures Collaboratory in the Center for 21st Century Studies at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee is a research group comprising graduate students, academic staff, and faculty. Since 2017 this group has operated the Serious Play channel on the Twitch live streaming network devoted to gameplay and reflective commentary. Faculty directors of the Collaboratory are Thomas Malaby from the Department of Anthropology ( and Stuart Moulthrop from the Department of English (

The Center for 21st Century Studies was founded as the Center for 20th Century Studies in 1968 and has a distinguished record of innovative research in the humanities and social sciences.