The 2018 CRDM symposium explores hybrid play as an interdisciplinary activity, one that is capable of generating new forms of communicative and artistic expression and new ways of interacting with, and understanding, the world. To this end, the goal of the symposium is not only to explore hybrid play from a theoretical perspective, but through engagements with top scholars and designers in the field; it also engages participants in new applications of and platforms for mobile gaming, AR/VR, and haptic interfaces.

“Hybridity” is a deliberately open-ended term, but one that connotes the capacity for play to destabilize (or shift) boundaries, engender heterogeneity, and produce new entanglements. It can refer to spaces (online/offline), subjects (scholar/activist), bodies (machinic/organic), and networks (human/inhuman). Hybridity is also a generative framework for understanding our material engagements with any manner of ludic technologies. From mouse pads to Lilypads, and Pokemon GO to LEGO, play creates hybrid bodies, networks, and spaces. And crucially, the intensified need to address long-standing inequalities in digital play calls for a further hybrid: the scholar-activist, equally at home in designing interventions as in documenting practices.

Play is part of human culture. The strong success of the video gaming industry during the last 40 years, with its attendant notions of play as (technologically, socially, geographically) bounded, can sometimes obscure the fact that play is messy, entangled, and nebulous — it has always been hybrid. However, the pervasiveness of mobile phones, which allow us to walk around urban spaces connected to the Internet and each other, highlights the creation of a new type of playful space that takes place simultaneously in physical and digital spaces. In these activities, communication, collaboration, and interaction occur in a combination of the physical and the digital–hybrid spaces.

This coming year the symposium will host a few invited speakers, top scholars in the fields of hybrid reality and mobile games, locative media, and game studies, to share their thoughts and experience with CRDM students and faculty, engage in mentoring students, and interesting conversations about the current and future of hybrid play.


We would like to thank the supporters for the CRDM Symposium:

  • CRDM program
  • Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity: “Diversify your Booklist.”
  • CHASS Research Office
  • Dean’s office
  • Department of English
  • Department of Communication