• Reviewing 2016

    After a couple of months of being away from Utrecht,  I will return to my desk and continue my research on Monday. The past couple of months were crazy and turbulent, so they deserve some reflection.

  • Reflections on humanitarian intervention

    After participating in the summer school for comparative conflict studies in Belgrade, I can conclude that this summer is off to a great start. I participated in the track ‘from intervention to non-intervention: the triumph of state sovereignty over human rights?’ led by dr. Maxine David from Leiden University. The course addressed four core themes in the study of humanitarian intervention (sovereignty, legitimacy, legality, human rights) through a comparative case study of Bosnia, Kosovo, Darfur, and Syria. For me, the program was relevant, intense, highly valuable, and David is an inspiring lecturer who pushes you to think beyond your preconceptions and disciplinary training.  I can highly recommend anybody who is interested in learning more about the history of contemporary conflict and humanitarian intervention, the Balkans, or transnational justice to go next year. In this post I will share with you some of my reflections and insights from the course.

  • Agent Cultures and Zombielands

    Although mailing lists can be dauntingly intense for your mailbox, there are rare gems that make you glad that you keep checking them. One such example is the MECS Conference ‘Agent Cultures and Zombielands’, hosted by Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures for Computational Simulation (MECS), Leuphana University in Lüneburg. As fate would have it, I had booked a train from Utrecht to Berlin on the starting day of the conference. So I decided to exit during my stop in Hannover, and head over to Lüneburg. The focus of this conference was social simulations, and we saw a variety of social scientists and simulation experts sharing their knowledge and research.

  • Second selfie-treasure hunt with refugees in Utrecht

    Great success! Two weeks ago we played the selfie-treasure hunt with refugees from the Utrecht refugee center to have them playfully explore the city. The selfie-treasure hunt is developed by me and my fellow PhD candidate Sjors Martens, and research master students Nico Lopez Coombs and Arash Ghajarjazi. The main objective of the game was to create a safe and playful way for this vulnerable group to explore the city. This is the second time we’ve played it.

  • Doing a selfie treasure hunt with refugees

    Over the course of a couple of weeks, me and my game colleagues at Utrecht University developed a semi-analog location-based game for the refugees in Utrecht. The game is a selfie treasure hunt, and uses play as a way to turn the space of Utrecht into a more familiar place. The play test exceeded our expectation and as it turns out, the selfie is a universal phenomenon.

  • Theories of Violent Conflict Part 1: Rationalism and Greed

    This is the first post of the series ‘theories of violent conflict’, where I will engage with theories and perspectives in conflict and peace research. In this post I aim to highlight two things: first and foremost, I will explain a dominant view on studying contemporary conflict: rational choice theory and the ‘greed theory of war’ (Collier 2003). This theory assumes that people will conduct in civil war if the perceived costs outweigh the benefits. Second, I will contextualize this theory in relation to the politics of portrayal.

  • Play and the social production of space in Gozo

    In March I was a participant of the field course ‘Go Go Gozo’, which combined interdisciplinary methodology and practice in Gozo, Malta. It was an Erasmus+ collaboration with participants from Manchester and Warwick (UK), Malta, Utrecht (The Netherlands) and Olomouc (Czech Republic)  Combining critical geography, island studies, media studies and play methodology, students teamed up to explore the social space of the island on the basis of a theme.

  • SPAT Game Jam at Utrecht University

    Now that the summer school is over, I feel the need to make an extra blog post about the SPAT GAME JAM we organized as part of the summer school. In co-organizing the summer school, the game jam was kind of my baby, and I am very proud how it turned out. In collaboration with Karel Millnaar (HKU, HvA), Annakaisa Kultima (University of Tampere), Jussi Holopainen (GEElab Europe) and Keimpe de Heer (HKU) we took over Rotslab in Utrecht for a weekend, what a ride!

    Continue Reading…

  • Thanks to all participants of the summer school games and play

    To some the idea of being cooked up in a classroom for two weeks in the middle of August might not be the perfect idea of spending summer. But for me, I enjoyed every moment of it! The summer school was beyond expectations.