Speaker Bios

Damon Brown
Keynote Speaker
Pop culturist Damon Brown believes video games have a pillar alongside cinema, literature, and other art forms. A long-time tech journalist, Damon covers gaming culture for Al Jazeera America, Playboy, and more. He is perhaps best known for the controversial, critically-acclaimed title Porn & Pong: How Grand Theft Auto, Tomb Raider and Other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture, which Publisher’s Weekly said smartly revealed the digital artistry and artistic merit of games. His most recent projects are the TED Book Our Virtual Shadow: Why We Are Obsessed with Documenting Our Lives Online and his first app, the quote-capturing So Quotable (soQuo) for the iPhone. Damon holds a Master’s in Magazine Publishing from Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s in Journalism/Computing from Oakland University. He’s played thousands of games, but his favorite is the original The Legend of Zelda (the theme song still gives him chills).

Shira_ChessShira Chess
Shira Chess is an Assistant Professor of Mass Media Arts at The University of Georgia.  She received her PhD in Communication and Rhetoric from Rensselaer Polytechnic    Institute.  Her dissertation, A License to Play: Women, Productivity, and Video Games disentangled ways that themes of “productive play” often are a major part in how video games are designed for and marketed to women audiences.  Chess’ research focuses on marginalized modes of digital play, particularly in terms of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and class.  Her work has been published in Critical Studies in Media Communication, Feminist Media Studies and Information, Communication & Society,  Bitch Magazine as well as several edited collections.
Lindsay_graceLindsay Grace
Lindsay Grace is an associate professor at American University, where he is leading the development of the games initiative and Persuasive Play studio. His game designs have received awards from Games for Change Festival, Meaningful Play, Advances in Computer Entertainment and Gamescape. He has published more than 25 papers, articles and book chapters on games since 2009. His creative work has been selected for showcase in more than seven countries and 12 states.  Lindsay served Miami University as the Armstrong Professor of Creative Arts at Miami University between 2009-2013. He founded the Persuasive Play Lab and directed the Games Center within the Armstrong Institute for Interactive Media. His research areas include game design, human-computer interaction, critical gameplay and design. He also writes about design and education. Lindsay has served industry as an independent consultant, web designer, software developer, entrepreneur, business analyst and writer.
Mike Treanor
Mike Treanor is a game developer and theorist whose research is aimed at finding new approaches for interpretation and expression of meaning within videogames and computational media. Recently, Treanor was a design and technical lead on Game-O-Matic, an expressive videogame generator, and Prom Week, a social simulation game that was a finalist in both The Independent Game Festival and Indiecade. He has been an active participant in the field of Game Studies and has published on the subjects of videogame interpretation, tools for game creation, social simulation and procedural content generation. Treanor holds an MFA in Digital Art and a PhD in Computer Science the University of California at Santa Cruz.

boris_willisBoris Willis
Boris Willis, Associate Professor in the Computer Game Design Program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, holds an MFA in Dance and Technology from The Ohio State University.  Willis is the Chief Artistic Officer of Boris Willis Moves through which he designs games for live and web based performances.  He has performed with Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange, Jacob’s Pillow’s Men Dancers and Streb. He is the recipient of a Kennedy Center Local Dance Commission and a Virginia Commission for the Arts Choreography Fellowship.


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