Media Technology and Culture

The purpose of the research group is to deepen our understanding of the interaction of media technologies with society and culture, with the overall aim of enhancing both.

We have expertise that spans the humanities and our work is correspondingly multi- and inter-disciplinary. Our common focus is on questioning society’s relationship with technology and in promoting technology designs that serve human purposes. We aim to be responsive to technological change and innovation while retaining a concern with long established questions about meaning, value and the kind of world we want to live in.

Our research activities fall into five clusters and our staff are all mobile between them. The clusters are as follows: society and culture, creative practice, narrative and visual arts, computer games and human-computer interaction.

We welcome enquiries from visiting researchers, post-graduate students and other collaborators with interests in any of these fields.

Some of our projects

An exhibition about time in Kristianstad

Participants: Anders Sjölin, Marcus Toftedahl, Katrin Dannberg, Torbjörn Svensson, Anders B Jonasson, Ulf Wilhelmsson, Mikael Lebram, Maria Guadalupe Alvarez Diaz

An ongoing cooperative project with Regionmuseet i Kristianstad, Sweden. The project focuses upon how to engage participants in an exhibition about time. The project looks upon how to create an engaging experience for visitors of the exhibition through a computer game and various technological solutions containing sound and images. The aim is to create an immersive experience wherein the technology and the physical space of the museum creates an enhanced experience for the visitors.

Inclusive Game Design

Co-funded by The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority

Participants: Henrik Engström, Per Anders Östblad, Jenny Brusk, Linus Nordgren, Arslan Tursic, Ulf Wilhelmsson, Per Backlund

The project’s aim is to develop a framework for inclusive video game design. In this first exploratory study we are developing two games for smartphones and tablets that include players with visual impairments. The first game is a point-and-click adventure with audio design and interaction design that aims at being enjoyable for sighted as well as blind players. The second game is a multiplayer platform game where one player gets visual information and the other gets only audio information.

The most important aspect of this project is to make games for all, rather than being specifically developed for people with visual impairments. We believe it to be very important to be able to share the gaming experience with friends and family. During the project, we hope to identify key aspects of inclusive game design, to share with the game development community, to encourage more games targeting a larger audience.

Dissertation - Computer Game Characters Become More Human-like by Gossiping and Lying

Participant: Jenny Brusk

Imagine socially intelligent computer game characters with a natural dialogue, human-like in their ways of relating to others, who gossip, manipulate and have their own agendas. New research can make all of this possible, according to a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg and the University of Skövde.

‘In today’s computer games, we often see a goal-drivendialogue where the player is limited to a number of predefined response alternatives. In my research, I study how we can use language technology to create more socially driven dialogues in games, with characters who can understand natural language. The objective has been to contribute to creating interesting and socially competent game characters by presenting models that are directly applicable with current technology,’ says Jenny Brusk, lecturer in computer science at the University of Skövde, who is presenting her doctoral thesis at the University of Gothenburg on 21 February.

To create socially intelligent characters, Brusk has studied gossiping as a phenomenon and how it could be implemented in a dialogue system for games – which implies a possibility to create more human-like game characters who for example are able to participate in social interaction and form relations with other characters.

‘Gossip is a type of dialogue that defines our moral compass, and without it, we don’t know what’s socially accepted. Gossip is also a way to get to know each other and signals closeness. We learn to master social codes through gossip. A game character with a more human-like behaviour always seems more interesting. Take for example a character who lies, loses face or is manipulative,’ says Brusk.

The research is rooted in sociolinguistic science with complex dialogue systems. What is new with Brusk’s research is that these dialogue models can be implemented using standard technology, making them directly accessible for today’s game industry. The research has other potential uses outside the computer game industry as well.

‘There’s a strong interest in virtual people. The dialogue systems I present could for example be used in healthcare by applying them on a virtual patient, or within language learning where you learn the social interaction and a new culture by conversing and chit-chatting.’

KidCOG

“Knowledge transfer and sexual grooming prevention through computer games – kids, risk behaviour and social media”

Funding: Sten A Olsson fundation
Duration: September 2014 – December 2015
PI at Skövde: Tarja Susi

The aim of the project is to investigate the process of sexual online grooming and to develop a computer game (prototype) for 8-10 year olds, to explore whether a game can be used to decrease the risk of becoming the object of grooming.

Cultural Heritage & Gaming Technology

A project about media usage and storytelling with organizations promoting cultural heritage. The goal is to create a meeting ground for the organizations and university students to encourage collaborations that can be a basis for student projects and theses. Our basis is that joint ventures can increase research applications and funding that benefit both parties.

Digital media offers techniques that provide new opportunities for transmediation of cultural heritage, such as digital preservation of sensitive historical objects and of environments. Interactive technology in game development presents new ways of mediating cultural heritage and reaching a new, wider audience.

Sketched Character. Anatomy, Physiognomy and Psychology

Participant: Lars Vipsjö

Sketched Character. Anatomy, Physiognomy and Psychology (2014) is a book that describes how the human body has been illustrated through history, as anonymous anatomy, as example of character and as living and feeling person. The aim is to inspire and problematize around the depicted and mediated human body, with a perspective suitable for both theorists and practitioners. The book’s first two parts outline anatomy and physiognomy through a media historical perspective, part three deals with questions around perception and psychology in character design. The book is also the basis for an exhibition taking place at Skövde City Museum in the spring of 2014.

Fortress Adventure in Karlsborg 

A cooperative project with the municipality of Karlsborg, Sweden. Experimental transmedial development of an established tourist attraction, analyzing shared narrative using different media. The project mixes the classical guided tour for tourists, with a film and a computer game, where the aim is to create an enhanced visitor experience. Main focus is on experimental transmedial development, with a shared narrative mediated through different media. The project is funded by the municipality of Karlsborg, Sweden.

More information about Media Technology and Culture

Contact person: Lissa Holloway-Attaway
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