Dr. Hanna Elina Wirman
Research Assistant Professor, School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

衛以文博士
助理教授(研究) 香港理工大學設計學院

ph.d.  

 writings  

  book  

  teaching  

  affiliations  

  contact

biography

Dr. Hanna Wirman is a Research Assistant Professor at the School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where she leads the Game Development stream of the M.Sc. in Multimedia & Entertainment Technology. As Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, she has been teaching 'Visual Research Methods' for M.A. in Visual Culture Studies since 2012.

Hanna researches emerging player groups and social innovation in games and leads educational and socially responsible game design and development projects working closely with the local community and NGOs in Hong Kong. Her work has been published in journals such as Transformative Works and Cultures, Game Studies, Simulation & Gaming (forthcoming), and Television & New Media. She co-edited a game research and design anthology Extending Experiences: Structure, Analysis and Design of Computer Game Player Experience with Leino and Fernanzed in 2008. Hanna's PhD research focused on women players and their co-creative participation in the design of The Sims 2 through game modification. Currently, Hanna's research approaches non-human animals as players. She builds games for orangutans' enrichment and for cross-species communication.

Hanna's invited talks cover topics such as animal play, gender in games, virtual ethnography, and socially responsible game design. She is also the organiser of Hong Kong's first Global Game Jam and acknowledges the importance of close collaboration with the games industry.


research interests

New media, Critical theory, Computer games, Ethnography, Design research, Game cultures, Women players, Gender, Identity, Co-creativity, Co-design, User-generated content, Participatory cultures, Fan cultures, Game artistry, Mobile games, Pervasive games, Non-human animal play

CURRENT

TOUCH Orangutan gameplay project
Ludus Animalis Blog


ph.d. dissertation

Playing The Sims 2: Constructing and Negotiating Woman Computer Game Player Identities through the Practice of Skinning

Despite some remarkable shifts in gender demographics of game players during the last decade, computer games remain male-gendered media. Engagement in such a culture, this work suggests, is characterised by confusion and incoherence for women players who are simultaneously taking part in male dominated leisure which marginalises them and a society which assumes gender equality as an acquired right. Small-scale ethnography tied together with an analysis of concurrent cultural discourses and the game system's characteristics allows a deep analysis of the construction of identities that conflict with the naturalised idea of a player.

The Sims 2 (2004) computer game sets out a unique case for a study of women's player identities because it is both exceptionally popular among women and individuated by a theme and a structure that are understood as `feminine'. Furthermore, a group of women players whose engagement with the game is characterised by creation and sharing of new and altered game content, the skinning of it, appears interesting since the women skinners resist traditional gender roles by taking active, productive positions towards the game.

This work's original contribution to knowledge is in offering a nuanced view of female game playing which resists easy assimilation to some of the dominant concepts recently in play within the field of study, such as political resistance in the form of game content appropriation and female empowerment through video game play. While skinners seem to have a possibility to change a game that results from a male-dominated game development culture, their skinning is fundamentally facilitated and invited by the game they play. Such practice therefore appears different from the `high' forms of subversive user-participation that are typically cherished in the studies of media use. Consecutively, the approach in this thesis questions the straightforwardly embracing undertone of the current Web 2.0 `buzz' that claims democratisation of media production. The Sims 2 skinning offers an example of a productive practice that does not go beyond what we understand as gameplay, but demands revisiting the very notion of gameplay itself.

Available online here.


writings

WIRMAN, H. Forthcoming 2014. Princess Peach loves your enemies, too, In Jessica Enevold and Esther MacCallum-Stewart (eds): Playing With Affections - The Game Love Reader. McFarland.

SOTAMAA, O. and WIRMAN, H. Forthcoming 2014. Game Modifications and User Created Content, In Aphra Kerr and James Ivory (eds): International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication & Society, Wiley-Blackwell.

WIRMAN, H. 2014. Gender and Identity in Game-Modifying Communities. Simulation & Gaming, 45(1), 70-92. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2013. Playing by Doing and Players' Localization of The Sims 2. Television & New Media, 15(1), 58-67. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2013. Cats and Touch Screens: The Rise of Playing Cats Videos. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Society Conference, The National University of Singapore, 3-5 July 2013.

WIRMAN, H. 2013. The Playing Other and What We Cannot Help Learning from the Study of Animal Play. 28 August 2013. DiGRA 2013 Conference, The Georgia Institute of Technology. Abstract available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2013. Orangutan Play on and beyond a Touch Screen. ISEA 2013 Conference, The University of Sydney, 7-16 June 2013. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2013. Game Form and Its Implications to Games as Art. The Social Life of Forms, What is Experimental Critical Theory? A Frontier View panel, City University of Hong Kong, 21-23 March 2013.

WIRMAN, H. 2012. Email Interviews in Player Research: Case of The Sims 2 Skinners. Westminster Papers of Communication and Culture, 9(1), 153-170. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2012. Entries for "Co-creativity", "Game modifications" and "FarmVille", In Mark J.P. Wolf (ed.): The Encyclopedia of Video Games, ABC-CLIO. Available for purchase here.

WIRMAN, H. 2012. Nonhuman Animal Players: Overcoming Speciesism in Cultural Studies of Digital Game Play. Crossroads in Cultural Studies 2012, Sorbonne Nouvelle University and UNESCO, 2-6 July 2012. Abstract available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2012. A Touch Screen as Encountered by an Orangutan. Minding Animals Conference 2012, University of Utrecht, 4-6 July 2012. Abstract available online here.

WIRMAN, H., SMITS, W., YU, G. and YUEN, W. 2011. Defeated by an Orangutan? Approaching Cross-species Gameplay. DiGRA 2011 Conference, Utrecht School of the Arts, 15-17 September 2011. Abstract available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2011. "This Bath Whisk Is a Must": Illusions of the 'Local' in Finnish The Sims 2 Game Modifications. 23 July 2011. Console-ing Passions 2011, University of South Australia.

WIRMAN, H. 2011. Review of Torill Mortensen: Perceiving Play. New York: Peter Lang, 2009. Norsk Medietidsskrift. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2010. Review of James Newman: Playing with Videogames. New York: Routledge, 2008. MedieKultur, Vol 48, 152-55. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2009. Sobre la productividad y los fans de los juegos. In Daniel Aranda and Jordi Sánchez-Navarro (eds): Aprovecha el tiempo y juega: Algunas claves para entender los videojuegos, 145-184. Barcelona: Editorial UOC. Available for purchase here.

WIRMAN, H. 2009. On Productivity and Game Fandom. Transformative Works and Cultures, Vol 3 (2009). Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2009. The Silent Work of The Sims 2 Bedroom(s). 2 September 2009. DiGRA 2009 Conference, Brunel University. Abstract available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2009. And Then He Said, Gasping, "Good... Excellent". Paper presented at Bad Games colloquium. 18 July 2009. University of the West of England. Abstract available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2009. Culture-specific Game Modifications: Player-localization of The Sims 2. Paper presented at Roundtable Shoot-out: Contemporary Video Game Scholarship Seminar. 15 May 2009. University of Manchester.

WIRMAN, H. 2008. Skinning Women and Modding Men? Gendered Co-Creative Practices in Computer Game Cultures. Paper presented at Brunel Digital Games Postgraduate Conference 2008. 16 September 2008. Brunel University.

WIRMAN, H. 2008. Play in between: Women Player Identities and the Practice of Skin Making. In Proceedings of Women in Games Conference 2008. 9-11 September 2008. Warwick University. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2008. Virtual Threads of a Skin. In Proceedings of the [player] Conference, 393-415. 26-29 August 2008. IT University of Copenhagen. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. and LEINO, O. 2008. For Interface, Against Regression! An Exploratory Surgery of an Transhuman Umbilical Cord. In Proceedings of ISEA 2008 Conference. 25-30 July 2008. Singapore. Available online here.

LEINO O., WIRMAN, H. and FERNANDEZ, A. (eds) 2008. Extending Experiences. Structure, Analysis and Design of Computer Game Player Experience. Rovaniemi: Lapland University Press.

WIRMAN, H. 2007. "I Am not a Fan, I just Play a lot" - If Power Gamers Aren't Fans, Who Are? In Proceedings of DiGRA 2007 Situated Play Conference, 377-385. 24-28 September 2007. The University of Tokyo. Available online here.

ISOMÄKI, H., LEINO, O., PAJUNEN, J. and WIRMAN, H. 2007. Working within the Varying Interests between Academic and Industrial ICTS Research: Ethical Dilemmas and Individual Researchers' Accountabilities. Paper presented by H. Isomäki at CMS5 Conference. 11-13 July 2007. University of Manchester. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2007. Games and (Textual) Productivity: Fan Texts for and beyond Play. Paper presented at Gamers in Society Seminar, University of Tampere. 17-18 April 2007.

NAKAMURA R. and WIRMAN, H. 2006. Mobiilipelit [Mobile Games]. In Seppo Kuivakari (ed.): Mobiilikulttuuri [Mobile Culture], 37-55. Rovaniemi, University of Lapland Press. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2006. Näkökulma naispelaajuuteen. Naiset osallistujina, faneina ja taiteilijoina [Perspectives on Women Players. Women as Participants, Fans and Artists]. In Eija Timonen, Marjo Mäenpää, Sanna Karkulehto and Sam Inkinen (eds): Minne matka, luova talous? [Quo Vadis, Creative Economy?] Jyväskylä, Rajalla. Available online here.

WIRMAN, H. 2006. Pelit: koulutus, tutkimus ja kehitys. Pohjoissuomalaiselle pelialalle olennaisia näkymiä pelikoulutukseen, -tutkimukseen ja -teollisuuteen [Games: education, research and development in Nordic Countries]. University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design, Mediapolis InnoMedia project.

NAKAMURA, R. and WIRMAN, H. 2005. Girlish Counter-Playing Tactics. Game Studies, 5(1). Available online here.

LEINO, O. and WIRMAN, H. 2005. Developing Pervasive TRIX Mobile Game on MUPE Platform. Non-published research report. University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design, Department of Media.

NAKAMURA, R., WIRMAN, H. and ISOMÄKI, H. 2005. Feminine Playing Style: Limiting and Opening Up Opportunities in Computer Games. In Hannakaisa Isomäki and Anneli Pohjonen (eds): Lost and Found in Virtual Reality: Women and Information Technology, 209-238. Rovaniemi: University of Lapland Press.

WIRMAN, H. 2005. Mobiili ja langaton teknologia terveydenhuollossa [Mobile and Wireless Technology in Health Care]. Non-published research report. University of Lapland, Department of Information Technology.

NAKAMURA, R. and WIRMAN, H. 2004. Opportunities and Disadvantages of Feminine Strategies in Computer Games. Paper presented at Game Design Research Symposium and Workshop. 7-8 May 2004. IT University of Copenhagen.

NAKAMURA, R. and WIRMAN, H. 2004. Michel de Certeaun strategia ja taktiikka pelitutkimuksen välineenä [Michel de Certau's strategy and tactics as tools for computer game studies]. Lähikuva, 2-3, 60-70.

WIRMAN, H. 2003. ORB-ohjelmistot sovellusarkkitehtuurit-kurssilla: JacORB, MICO ja Java2 ORB [ORB Software: JacORB, MICO ja Java2 ORB]. Non-published research report. University of Lapland, Department of Methodological Studies.


book

LEINO O., WIRMAN, H. and FERNANDEZ, A. (eds) 2008.
Extending Experiences. Structure, Analysis and Design of Computer Game Player Experience.
Rovaniemi: Lapland University Press. ISBN: 978-952-484-197-9

A computer game's player is experiencing not only the game as a designer-made artefact, but also a multitude of social and cultural practices and contexts of both computer game play and everyday life. As a truly multidisciplinary anthology, Extending Experiences sheds new light on the mesh of possibilities and influences the player engages with. Part one, Experiential Structures of Play, considers some of the key concepts commonly used to address the experience of a computer game player. The second part, Bordering Play, discusses conceptual and practical overlaps of games and everyday life and the impacts of setting up, crossing and breaking the boundaries of game and non-game. Part three, Interfaces of Play, looks at games as technological and historical artefacts and commodities. The fourth part, Beyond Design, introduces new models for the practical and theoretical dimensions of game design.

The book is available for purchase here.


teaching, talks and lectures

Currently teaching Game Design and Game Development at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, School of Design

2011-2013 "Visual Research Methods" compulsory subject, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Cultural & Religious Studies

2011-2013 "Virtual Ethnography", "Girl Gamers" City University of Hong Kong

2011-2013 "TOUCH project" multiple school talks in Hong Kong and Europe

2013 "Audiovisuality Beyond Anthropocentrism" Coming to Terms with the Audiovisual Field Seminar, Aalto University

2013 "Many Failures, But in the Best of Company" Bristol Games Hub

2013 "Potential for Change? Digital Games as Means for Social Innovation" Games for Change Tea Gathering, Hong Kong Digital Game-Based Learning Association and Cyberport

2013 "Unexpected and Unplanned Play: Digital Games among Orangutans" Keynote talk at FDG2013

2012 "Designing for Strangers" TEDxHongKong

2011 "Combining Textual Analysis with Virtual Ethnography" University of Lund

2009 "Co-creative Players" IT university of Copenhagen

2009 "Co-creative Players" University of the West of England, Bristol Institute of Technology

2006 and 2007 "Computer Game Research" University of Lapland, Animation and Game Design Programme

2006 "Researching Media Cultures" (full course) University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design

2005 "Introduction to Animation and Game Design" (full course) University of Lapland, Animation and Game Design Programme

2005 "Programming with Python, II" (instructor) University of Lapland, Department of Information Technology

2003-2004 "PC and Its Basic Applications" (full course), "Creating Web Pages with HTML" (full course) University of Lapland, Department of Information Technology

2003 "Programming with Java" (instructor) University of Lapland, Department of Information Technology

2003 "SOAP: Simple Object Access Protocol" University of Lapland, Department of Information Technology


affiliations

School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Current affiliation)
Ludus Animalis Blog (My blog about non-human animal play and creativity)
Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre (Field research)
Digital Games Research Association (Board Member)
International Gender Design Network (Board Member)
Hong Kong Game Development Association (Consultant)
Department of Cultural and Religious Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Past affiliation)
M-Lab, School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Past affiliation)
University of the West of England, Faculty of Creative Arts, Humanities and Education (Ph.D. studies)
Play Research Group, UWE (Member of the Play Research Group)
Pervasive Media Studio (Academic Resident 2008-2009)
University of Lapland, Faculty of Art and Design (M.A. studies)
IT University of Copenhagen, Center for Computer Games Research (Visiting Ph.D. Researcher 2006-2009)
Masaryk University Brno (Erasmus student exchange 2004)
Dr. Olli Leino (The significant other)


contact

Find me on Facebook, LinkedIn, LastFM, Twitter and the like
or write an email to hanna [dot] wirman [at] gmail [dot] com
or call to my office +852 3400 3430 :)

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