Dr Emma Westecott
Emma Westecott
Associate Professor, game:play lab Co-Director
Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Graduate Studies

Area(s) of Expertise

games, games design, games studies, feminist game design


Emma Westecott has worked in and around the game industry for over twenty years. She originally achieved recognition for working closely with Douglas Adams as programmer then producer for the best-selling Starship Titanic (1998, Simon & Schuster). Emma directed zerogame for The Interactive Institute, an applied games research lab based in Sweden and organised Women in Games 2007 (http://www.womeningames.com). She was a core member of the Synergy games research group (http://synergy.newport.ac.uk) at The University of Wales, Newport. Her research interests include the celebration of digital games as an expressive art form and the potential for practice-based research to extend, enhance and conceive of game form in new and creative ways. Her research focus is centred on the ongoing creative evolution of game form, both in terms of new experience and new human possibilities. This, and the impressive body of work created under her leadership of the zerogame studio in Sweden, brought her to the DFI at OCAD to teach games and develop their games research initiative.


1993 BSc (Hons) (First Class). University of Westminster, London, UK.

2015 Doctor of Philosophy. School of Media, Faculty of Creative Industries, University of South Wales, Cardiff, Wales.

Professional Experience

  • 2010-2015 Assistant Professor Games Design, DFI, OCAD University, Toronto, Canada
  • 2005-2009 Games Research Fellow, The University of Wales, Newport
  • 2001-04 Studio Director, The Zero-Game Studio, Interactive Institute, Sweden
  • 2001 Project Manager, TIGA, Brighton, UK
  • 2001-date Production Director, REM Ltd, Brighton, UK
  • 1998-2001 Producer, h2g2.com, h2g2 Ltd (formerly TDV), London, UK
  • 1996-98 Producer, Starship Titanic, The Digital Village, London, UK
  • 1995-98 Partner, lush, London, UK
  • 1993-97 Visiting Lecturer, The University of Westminster, London
  • 1993-95 Production Director, Zone (UK) Ltd, London

Awards \ Grants

2013 GRAND NCE: FRAGG ($12,000) Principal

2014 GRAND NCE: ART-INDIE FLIC ($14,759) Principal

2015 OMDC Fem-Led Digital Enterprise ($107,200) Researcher

2015 MITACS DeepCity Internship ($30,000) Faculty Lead

2015-2020 SSHRC Network Grant Re-Figuring Innovation in Games with York University (PI: J Jenson) ($2.5mill) Co-applicant

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

Westecott, E. (2016) ‘Playing with Gender: Promoting Representational Diversity with Dress-up, Cross-dressing and Drag in Games’ in Diversifying Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat.

Westecott, E. (2009) ‘Playing with the Gothic: If you go down to the woods tonight..’ in Artists RE:thinking Games

Westecott, E. (2003) ‘Game Forms for New Outcomes’ in Ed. Laurel, B. Research Methods and Perspectives, October 2003, MIT Press


Scholarly Journals Edited

Digital Creativity. 2009, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 205-290. http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ndcr20/20/4.

‘Perspectives: Special Edition – Gender and Games’ in Eludamos Journal for Computer Game Culture 2.1 (2008): 13-52. http://www.eludamos.org/eludamos/index.php/eludamos/issue/view/vol2no1


Selected Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Westecott, E., Epstein, H., and Leitch, A. (2013) ‘Feminist Art Game Praxis’ in DiGRA 2013 - DeFragging Game Studies. Atlanta, GA, USA: DiGRA, August, 2013. http://www.digra.org/digital-library/publications/feminist-art-game-praxis/  (Lead Author)

Reilly, D., Westecott, E., Parker, D., Perreault, S., Neil, D., Lapierre, N.,.Bal, H. (2013). ‘Design-driven research for workplace exergames: The limber case study’. Paper presented at the 123-126. doi:10.1145/2583008.2583030 (Project Researcher)

Westecott, E. (2012) ‘Independent Game Development as Craft’ in Loading..., 7(11). Retrieved March 7, 2013, from http://journals.sfu.ca/loading/index.php/loading/article/view/124

Leung, K., Reilly, D., Hartman, K. Stein, S., Westecott, E. (2012) ‘Limber: DIY Wearables For Reducing Risk of Office Injury’. TEI 2012. 19th February 2012. http://tei-conf.org—Program (Project Researcher)

Westecott, E. (2011) ‘Crafting Play: Little Big Planet’. Loading..., 5(8). , Retrieved May 22, 2011 from http://journals.sfu.ca—99

Westecott, E. (2009) ‘The Player Character as Performing Object’ in DiGRA 2009 Conference Proceedings http://www.digra.org:8080/Plone/dl/search_results?general_search_index=westecott&SUBMIT=Search

Westecott, E. (2009). ‘Growing-up with Games’ in Digital Creativity 20:4 http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/14626268.asp

Westecott, E. (2009) ‘I HEART LocoRoco - a reading of a gameplay experience’ in Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture. 2009; 3 (1), p.85-93. http://www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/article/view/62/91

Westecott, E. (2008) ‘Introduction to Gender and Games - Moving the field forward’ in Eludamos. Journal for Computer Game Culture. 2008; 2 (1), p.13-14. http://www.eludamos.org/index.php/eludamos/article/view/37/57

Westecott, E. (2008) ‘Putting the Body back into Play’ at the [player] conference, 26-29th August 2008, IT-University, Copenhagen, Denmark. http://game.itu.dk/player/index.html