The academic and teacher features in our Women In Games list for the first time after two consecutive years in the MCV Pacific 30 Under Thirty.
Susannah has a deep appreciation for her students and games education. She highlights increasing school attendance and student engagement in a primary classroom through the integration of a Nintendo Wii in the classroom and using this to explore Australian Curriculum outcomes as one of her greatest achievements to date. She has also worked with a remote Indigenous community in the NT to develop a framework for game developers and educators, promoting a cross cultural collaborative approach to game development.
Susannah told MCV Pacific, Recently I had a student of mine approach me and let me know that she was pursuing a career in game development. She told me that before she had me as a teacher, she didn’t feel as though she’d be welcome in game development as a woman, but that me teaching her had made her feel as though pursuing her interest in the game industry was possible. This is why I think it’s so important that we take as many opportunities as we can to celebrate and encourage women in games such as all the wonderful women on the Women in Games list, to demonstrate that anyone can pursue their interests and be involved in games if that is their goal.”
She was also accepted into the PhD program at Curtin University to study the potential for video games to help family and friends provide targeted and relevant support to those experiencing Domestic Violence.
Over the past 12 months, she has focused a lot on talking with teachers and educators about using games in the classroom and the potential of video games to allow students to explore content whilst catering to individual learners. Rather than looking at games designed solely for education, she’s been focusing on the potential of using commercial games in education, and how existing games can be integrated into the Australian Curriculum and the potential of games for assessment to help reduce assessment boredom and pressure on students.
Susannah has alsobeen working on her PhD research for Curtin University, which focuses on the ability of games to work towards social change, and to communicate ideas and concepts across social divides, particularly focusing on games that activate empathy in their players to help develop a more in-depth understanding of particular situations or experiences. In this time she has commenced research and development on Hannah, an interactive narrative game that focuses on Domestic Violence, a topic that is very personal to her. Hannah aims to looks at the emotional and physical impact of Domestic Violence, as well as arming family and friends with language and knowledge to help them support the person experiencing abuse throughout their journey.
Speaking of the title, she told MCV Pacific, “Whilst still in development, I hope that Hannah will help to demonstrate how we can use games to provide skills such as language skills and practical advice to players, so that they can apply these skills to real life situations if family or friends of theirs are experience Domestic Violence, or do so in the future.”
Speaking about her inclusion in this year’s list, “I am so unbelievably privileged to be included on this year’s Women in Games list. So many amazing women on this list have been, and still are role models to me, and to be named alongside of them in this manner is unbelievable and certainly one of the highlights of my life!”