Meaningful Play 2012

I got home from Meaningful Play 2012 two and a half weeks ago, and it’s taken me this long to parse the experience I had at that conference. This was not the first time that I’ve gone to a non-linguistics conference (I went to the Popular Culture Association conference in 2008), but it was definitely the most… meaningful. (See what I did there?)

The experience of working with Travis Ross, the co-author of the paper we presented, has been enlightening the whole way. Travis comes from a very different academic background than I do, and finding a meeting point in between our disciplines to do our work has been enjoyable (if intellectually rigorous… keeping up with his analyses is a mental workout for me!). In all, I think we had a very good presentation, even if the video recording of it turned out kind of terrible. We got a lot of awesome comments and questions. And our collaboration isn’t even over yet — there’s still a paper to write!

Meeting everybody at the conference… where do I even start? I met so many people from so many different disciplines that, looking back on it, I almost can’t believe it. I met programmers and computer scientists and digital artists and board game designers and law students and health specialists. I got my picture taken being silly. I played so many games. I have never played so many games in three days as I did at this conference — every time some new presenter talked about a game, if I could, I loaded it on my laptop and played through it. It was not just for play, but to understand.

I feel like the conference schooled me. This is what people love so much about conferences! Not that I didn’t enjoy my time at NWAV or GURT (very cool linguistics conferences with amazing people), but to sit at a round table playing Layoff and analyzing game mechanics and social messages with a group of interdisciplinary scholars? This is my bag, man.

And so now, post-conference, is the time of catching up with those I met at the conference and sifting through my notes. Oh, and maybe looking up a few job opportunities too.

off to Portland

Tomorrow it’s off to Portland, Oregon, for the Linguistic Society of America’s “Sociolinguistic Archival Preparation” workshop. Two days of protocols and proposals and IRB and permission and demographics and variables, yay!

I’m excited, and hope to bring you a review of the workshop later this week.

Also important is the fact that I’m adding a new state onto my “Places Visited” list; which is always nice. One of my resolutions for the New Year is to add three states onto my list, and Oregon will be one of them.  Here’s my map so far:

There are a few states I could technically add to this map, but I don’t actually REMEMBER being there. Notably, this would be the entire extreme Northeast of the US, from a trip that my parents and I took to Maine when I was about 3 years old that I do not recall at all (although there are many pictures of this!).