Division of Games and Arts

Division of Games and Arts

Games and Arts is one of three Divisions in the School of Design and Informatics.

The research profile of the Division is inherently interdisciplinary, encompassing subject expertise in digital art and performance, game design and game studies, and sound and music production, all of which supports one of Abertay’s research priority areas, Creative Industries. Our research leads to the creation and evaluation of new and experimental forms of play, from curated digital performances to applied games. In applied games, we use a range of research methodologies – from serious game jams to full development projects – to explore the role and value of games in education, in training, and in science communication. While our researchers are well-placed to lead and manage research projects that involve the development of games and interactive media products, many of our researchers are also creative practitioners engaged in practice-based research activity ranging from experimental game design to digital art. 

Games and History

This core area of research activity relates to how games, interactive media, and immersive experience design engages audiences with history, with collective memory, and with the aesthetics of nostalgia. Our games and history research includes work on games that engage audiences with World War 1, and games that seek to represent the social and ethical impact of the sugar trade on 19th century Scotland.

Play and Performance

One of our key research domains involves the intersection between play and performance. A prime example of leading practice based research in this field is the Inchcolm Project, a proof of concept hybrid of game design, theatre design and promenade performance. More broadly, our research staff are actively engaged with the design, development, and showcasing of experimental game design. Our practice-based game design research includes experimentation with novel and original controller designs, explorations of play and play styles, and playable critiques of games and technology.

Applied Games for Professional Training and Education

Our applied games research projects in this field include: 

  • A collaboration with the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service to develop game-based learning solutions for professional training.
  • Working with the Royal Zoological Society for Scotland to prototype game concepts for use in zoological education.
  • Development of an educational game on the life of Andrew Carnegie for use in secondary education (with the support of the Carnegie Birthplace Museum).
  • The use of game jams to engage in knowledge exchange with private sector partners in aviation, cybersecurity and policing.

Working with our colleagues in the Division of Computing and Mathematics, we are also conducting practice-led research into the design of games to support families adversely affected by cancer diagnosis.

Arts Research

Our arts research involves the creation of original works as commentary on contemporary society, in support of communities, and in exhibition and festivals. This includes art practice that challenges norms and provides artistic commentary on geopolitics, digital graphic design that explores differences in visual perception and experience including the perceptions of partially sighted communities, and engagement with and leadership of digital arts festivals.

Game Studies

In game studies, we are interested in undertaking theoretical and empirical research into the design, production, and reception of games. Our Our research interests and publications include work on: Game narratives, genres, media literacy, and performance in games; Gamification, ludification, and transmedia; Game production studies, communities of practice, and game jams; The history of game audio, visual design, and gaming nostalgia; Curation, collection, and archiving of games and interactive media.


The Division has received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) the European Commission, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) and a range of other funding bodies, charities, public sector and private sector organisations for research and knowledge exchange projects.

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Division Leader

Dr Dayna Galloway

Dr Dayna Galloway

School of Design and Informatics | Head of Division

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