Digital Culture (“Serious Play”) Collaboratory

Serious Play LogoThe Digital Cultures Collaboratory—also known as Serious Play—is an interdisciplinary group that provides students, faculty and staff the opportunity to critically engage and actively research games, play and related cultural formations. Many of our current efforts are focused on Twitch, a live-streaming platform where we broadcast play sessions of both digital and analog-based games. Our Twitch channel ( gives us the opportunity to discuss games in the process of play while engaging a broader public.

Serious Play’s activities also include conference presentations, UWM-hosted events, several active research projects, fellowship and grant proposals for our members, and a proposal for an NEH Summer Seminar.

Our weekly show schedule (all times CST)

10:30-11:30 | The Coffee Break: A mid-morning break to recaffeinate and explore a game with Ryan.

2-4 | The Arena: Erik, Janelle, and Daniel enter the intense world of eSports to play, discuss, and watch competitive games.

1-2:30 | Couch Surfing: Ryan plays local co-op games with a variety of guests to discuss the experience of sharing space and a screen.

2:30-4 | Cat’s Mustache: Nathan and Laya explore the wonderful world of puzzle games to record how players navigate and solve the puzzles presented.

12-1 | The Lunch Zone: This show has a variety of hosts, exploring 1 game each week usually based on a monthly theme. The cast of this show varies on the topics presented.

2-5 | Doctors and Dungeon Masters: Stream City: Casey runs a Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition game in a home-brewed world. The last half hour of each show is a critical discussion of gameplay, storytelling, social interaction.

2-4 | Board Meeting: Dave , Janelle, and Chris play a variety of table-top games.

2-4 | Free 2 Start: Dave highlights both the beautiful highs and predatory lows in the ever-expanding mobile game marketplace.

**You can also sometimes catch The Twitching Hour, a late night show hosted by Laya, that focuses on horror games and explores the many ways fear is turned into entertainment.

Upcoming Events:

Live Streaming Symposium: Communities of Play

Serious Play will host a Live Streaming Symposium on April 17-18, featuring online presentations of and about streaming of video gameplay and other performative activities, in and out of the academy. The event will feature streamers from around the U.S. and will coordinate with a parallel event in Jyvaskyla, Finland.

You can view the Call for Proposals here (due November 30).

Follow our social media for updates on scheduling and other news!

Serious Play Facebook Group Follow us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter @seriousplayuwm | @doctorsanddms

You can also follow us on the Digital Cultures Collaboratory Blog (Updated Weekly!)

Faculty Members:

  • Thomas Malaby (Anthropology @tmmalaby)
  • Stuart Moulthrop (English @StuartMoulthrop)
  • Nathan Humpal (Gold Meir Library @angrymice)
  • Kirsta-Lee Malone (UW-Madison @GamerAnthro).

Student Members:

  • Casey James O’Ceallaigh (English)
  • Ryan House (English, @ludoscholar)
  • Erik Kersting (English)
  • Laya Liebeseller (Anthropology @playscholar)
  • Janelle Malagon (English)
  • Josh Rivers (Anthropology @Josh_Rivers)
  • Dave Stanley (English, @admiralstanley)

Provisionary Members:

  • Christopher Olsen (English)
  • Desiree Steele (English)

Former Members:

  • Scott Bruner
  • Kristopher Purzycki
  • Chuck Sturgill