Where’s the White Guy? Thinking and Designing with and for Difference

Jen Jenson, York University, Toronto

Let’s face it: designing with and for inclusion IS difficult. It means thinking differently, it means interrupting and challenging the status quo, and it means confronting our own deeply ingrained prejudices about how things should work and how they should be designed. In the tidal wave that is #GamerGate, including mainstream news outlets and game related press picking up and continuing to follow the harassment of female game makers, critics, journalists and supporters (also primarily female) by news outlets like CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rollingstone, Forbes, Time, Kotaku, Polygon, Gamasutra, and on and on, this talk will begin with a discussion of how #GamerGate’s deeply shallow and wildly inaccurate view of ‘difference’ reveals a common misunderstanding of the principals and practices of inclusion, equity and social justice. From there, I’ll turn back to thinking and designing differently from the ground up: how to go about creating and sustaining communities that support difference/s, and where and how we might work through and acknowledge our mistakes in order to get on with the important creative work that might be possible in the games industry.

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