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MCV Pacific Women In Games: Jane Cocks

MCV Pacific Women In Games: Jane Cocks

Jane Cocks has been a writer, game player and game maker since a very young age.

The PlayWrite founder fell in love with computers at age seven, when her father brought home the very first Apple Macintosh into Australia. Jane and the PC were inseparable, earning her the nickname ‘Janie Mac’.

Jane tells us, “I have always been writer, game player and game maker. I used to make magazines and distribute them at school, as well as making my own boardgames as a child.”

After finishing school Jane began working as an IT helpdesk officer within the South Australian Government, whilst studying IT at university. Following this time Jane realised that she wanted to help people, leaving her job and returning to university to study Psychology. Jane finished her Bachelor of Behavioural Science, following on with Bachelor of Health Science Psychology Honours, which she completed in 2007.

After seven years of working in Research positions at Flinders University, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia, Cocks realised that she wanted to tackle study again, and combine her love for games and interactive media, with helping people. She was inspired by the games for change and persuasive games movement.

Jane applied for PhD program at the University of Sunshine Coast and was successful in being awarded a Pro-Vice Chancellors Scholarship.

Since the commencement of her PhD Candidature, Jane has been focusing on both research and becoming involved in the games industry in Australia. Kicking off in 2014 and continuing until now, she has presented multiple panels at Australian conferences including AVCon, GCAP, PAX, GX Australia and Comic-Con around the topics of health, psychology, gaming, representation in games, serious games, and narrative.
In October last year Jane founded PlayWrite, a platform for the people, including the Australian games industry to write about games – playing, developing, critiquing, and reviewing. It has been a very successful platform for people to develop their own writing portfolio.

Shortly after this Jane Co-coordinated the AFK Room ( organised by the Take This organisation) at PAX Australia 2015. The room is a safe space for those who need time out while at a conference. Staffed with clinicians who are able to talk about mental health related issues.

Cocks is currently undertaking collaborative research on the therapeutic benefits of playing video games with fellow Women In Games inductee, Jennifer Hazel. In addition she continues to work on her PhD publications #1 – Mapping the Matrix of Interactive Narrative and Behaviour Change Theory and Practice.

Recently, Jane has had the honour of being invited and flown to the Netherlands to attend a mini-conference at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. There, she shared her research so far, and learnt about all the work the team over there is doing in Persuasive Games.

When we sat down with Jane she spoke of games, “Games are growing up, and it is a very exciting time to be involved in this industry and be a part of those changes in motion. The notion that ‘games’ are just for kids, or not meaningful, or not useful, is quickly being replaced with newer ideas about the power of games and stories in how they can make us feel, and what we can learn about ourselves and the world around us.”

“I feel so fortunate to be able to work as part of this rapidly growing industry here in Australia, and I hope to contribute to it in a meaningful way. I am so grateful for the support, encouragement and friendships I have formed, most especially with inspiring women that I look up to and learn from every day.”


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