News from the Department

Event: Playing for Pain: Benefits, Pitfalls, and Strategies for Role-playing Marginalized Characters


Photo of Diana J. Leonard in a hat, scarf and glasses holding a cup, over a watercolor background and text that says “Playing for Pain.”
Join us for our next lecture in the Transformative Play Initiative Event Series: "Playing for Pain: Benefits, Pitfalls, and Strategies for Role-playing Marginalized Characters” by Diana J. Leonard!

When: Sept 21, 2021, 7:00-8:30pm Central European Summer Time (CEST)
Where: Online on Zoom

From disaffected half-elves to solarpunk refugees, marginalized characters are common in live action role-playing and tabletop RPGs alike. Why do we gravitate toward these roles and what do we get from portraying them? When do these character choices slip from positive exploration into exploitation and harm? In this talk, Dr. Diana J. Leonard will give an overview of some of the cognitive, emotional, and collective benefits of role-playing as marginalized characters and will also outline when these practices go awry. Her talk will conclude by introducing some strategies to amplify underrepresented voices in our communities and maximize the learning potential of the stories we tell together.

Presenter bio: Diana J. Leonard received her PhD in Psychology at UC Santa Barbara in 2012, and is currently Associate Professor of Psychology at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon. While working on her PhD in an intergroup emotions lab, Leonard joined the Southern California cinematic boffer larp community, where she currently serves as a storyteller and community manager for the post-apocalyptic larp Apocalypse 47. Dr. Leonard's research agenda blends practice with scholarship: she applies social psychology theory and methodology to the study of larp group dynamics. Meanwhile, as an educator and larp designer, she uses elements of role-play to empower students and larpers alike to explore marginalized identities in and out of the classroom.

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Graphic design by Liliia Chorna

Last modified: 2022-10-25