Queerness & Games Conference comes to Montréal
By Richard Burnett
Montréal will host the fifth edition of the Queerness & Games Conference at Concordia University on September 29-30. The two-day international conference brings together game makers and academics to explore the intersection of LGBTQ issues and video games.
What is QGCon?
QGCon got its start at UC Berkeley in 2013 where it was hosted before moving to Los Angeles in 2017. Montréal is not just QGCon’s first host city outside the United States, but the city is a choice LGBTQ destination that celebrates diversity and is home to vibrant Gay Village. Montréal also ranks alongside Tokyo, London, San Francisco and Austin as one of the world’s Top 5 largest video game centres.
QGCon co-founder Bonnie Ruberg told attendees in 2014, “The Queerness and Games Conference is a bastion of idealism in a turbulent sea of beauty and concern. We stand at a difficult yet pivotal moment in the history of videogames, when the game-makers who design some of the most powerful examples of the medium are also those who put their safety on the line simply by sharing their creations. It’s no secret that it’s difficult to be a queer gamer. The games community and the games industry have struggled for decades with homophobic and exclusionary practices. Straight, white, cisgender men have long dominated the landscape of games. As GamerGate has made clear, speaking up for diversity in this hostile environment takes real courage. Now more than ever, it is crucial that we create safe spaces for discussing sexuality, gender, race, and difference in videogames.”
QGCon 2018 Speakers, Talks and Workshops
QGCon is presenting some 40 talks, panels and workshops by speakers and presenters from across academia, industry, activism and the arts. Highlights include the “Learn to Create Characters and Worlds that Centre Racialized Identities” workshop with Gabriela Aveiro-Ojeda and Leisha Riddel; the “Getting Out of Harm’s Way: Queer Considerations of Trauma in Video Games” panel with Zachary Harvat, Lindsay Cannon and Misha Grifka; and talks by Bobbi A. Sand (“Portrayals of BDSM in Games”), Adrienne Shaw (“A Qualitative Study of Transmasculinity in the Games Industry and Games Journalism”), Emma Vossen (“Queering the Links Between Sexual Orientation and the Female Gamer Identity”) and Klew Williams (“Queering Narratives Through Modding Communities”).
Concordia and Montréal
Concordia University is a forward-thinking centre of knowledge and research, one of four major universities and 11 centres of higher learning in Montréal. With 46,000 students, the university is affecting change in Montréal and around the world.
Concordia offers everything from a Bachelor of Computer Science (Computer Games) to a Game Design minor that “gives students the chance to engage deeply with the practice and theory of game design, with a focus on the active creation of videogames.”
Concordia’s Center for Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an internationally-known game research lab, and the university is globally recognized both for scholarship around games and for game creation itself.
For more information about the Queerness & Games Conference (QGCon), visit qgcon.com.
Read this next: Get to know Montréal's flag and coat of arms