We have a new website for the summer school.

All updates will be posted there. Here is the link: http://datamaterialities.org/summerschool.html 

We invite students from all parts of the world, to participate in the first SIGCHI Sponsored Summer School on Playful Interactions 2017, happening in Melbourne, Australia (organized by the Centre for Game Design Research and the Exertion Games Lab at RMIT University, Australia). In this five-day event, participants will learn about significant game design concepts, game mechanics and techniques that are increasingly used in modern game development and game design research. There will be a strong focus on developing skills through practical sessions, which will give students direct experience in building and studying games and most importantly they will “learn about fun by having fun”.

Themes & Topics:

The aim of this summer school is to improve participants’ understanding of significant game design concepts, mechanics and techniques commonly or increasingly used in the field of Player-Computer Interaction (PCI). The need for this is two-fold:

1) The game industry is worth more than $100 billion globally and continues to expand each year. Gaming now extends far beyond traditional gaming consoles such as PS3 and Xbox and ventures into PC, mobile, VR and AR platforms with growing popularity and developments of indie games, serious games and more. However, most PhD graduate programs do not offer dedicated courses on digital play and games. Addressing this, we organise this summer school in order to educate future graduates about what new interactions between players and technology are afforded by these trends, so that they a) understand their play experiences better, as this helps understanding human life and culture, b) can help their future employers better in creating playful products, and c) are enabled to utilize the power of play in order to facilitate positive change, such as when addressing societal problems.

2) Graduate students in HCI and interaction design are already increasingly utilizing game design when exploring novel interaction concepts or are playfully addressing specific HCI topics (see for examples the many games that come out of the UIST student competition each year, although the call does not require explicitly the development of a game). Owing to the popularity of games and the increased focus within HCI on play, a new SIGCHI conference   “CHI PLAY” and a dedicated subcommittee “Games and Play” at CHI has been established that brings together researchers and professionals across all areas of play, games and human-computer interaction to shape the future of gameplay. This summer school will offer a way to engage with game design in a structured and evidence-based way to grow students’ knowledge and understanding of digital play and games, with a particular focus on PCI.

With a hands-on approach to teaching, we will cover the various aspects that are brought together in modern game development and game design research. There will be a strong focus on developing skills through practical sessions, which will give students direct experience in building and studying games and most importantly they will “learn about fun by having fun”. The focus will be on novel game and play experiences, where in the Summer School, we aim to invent the future of gaming.

The summer school will be lead by experts in the fields of game design, PCI and games programming.  It will have the following structure.

1) Introductory course in game design and development (duration: 1 day)

The first part of the summer school will be dedicated to game design principles and practical game development. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of game design and will be creating a playable digital game from start to finish. Students will learn how to craft a compelling interactive play experience through rules and play in a number of different formats.

2) Workshop on play experiences (duration: 4 days)

The second part of the summer school will revolve around emerging topics and application contexts where game design plays a crucial role. On each day, participants will be introduced to a new topic through a short lecture and followed by practical group work. Participants will engage with the complete process of creating interactive play experiences, starting with the initial play concept to designing a functional prototype of the envisioned play experience.

The selected topics are:

Date Title Organiser
First day Designing games for the active body Prof. Florian Mueller
Second day Playful food-based interactions Dr. Rohit Ashok Khot
Third day Designing Virtual Reality games Assoc. Prof Stefan Greuter
Fourth day Designing games for public spaces (such as theme parks) Dr. Fabio Zambetta

Call for submissions

The summer school is primarily intended for PhD students and masters students undertaking a research degree, but we also welcome advanced Bachelor students to register. Apart from some basic personal details, applicants will be asked to provide:


1-page CV (as PDF uploaded to dropbox or other public URL)


1-page motivation statement (again a PDF uploaded to a public URL)

All submitted proposals are subject to acceptance by the committee members. Proposals should be mailed to:

Use this as subject line: Summer school 2017 submission
Registration cost: USD 100.

Important dates

July 15, 2017 – Early bird registration deadline (Send us your CV and motivational statement)
July 30, 2017 – Feedback on the submission, Registrations open (Registration cost: USD 100.)
August 15, 2017 –  Accepted students are announced on the website.
August 30, 2017 – Late Registration deadline
Nov. 10, 2017 – Summer school starts
Nov. 14, 2017 – Summer school ends

Location & Dates:

The summer school will take place at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, a week prior to ACM SIGCHI’s OzCHI 2017 (Tentatively from 24th Nov 2017 to 27th Nov 2017).

The summer school will start at 9 am on each day. The morning session will be dedicated to lectures whereas the afternoon session will involve practical group work. The session will close at 5 pm. Welcome dinner will happen on the second day.

About the venue (Melbourne):

Melbourne is the capital of digital games in Australia. It is home to almost half of Australia’s digital games industry including 103 game development studios, some of the country’s best talent and support services including animation, motion capture, publishing and promotion. The continued expansion of games conferences such as Game Connect: Asia Pacific and PAX Aus in Melbourne is confirmation of the city’s burgeoning reputation as a gaming and technology hub. This summer school thus provides an excellent opportunity to students to tap into the growing gaming field and use opportunities for further collaborations.