Mr Jack Lowe

Supervised by

Personal profile

I’m a cultural geographer and visiting lecturer in Digital Storytelling at Royal Holloway, whose research engages with various forms of digital media art to investigate the processes through which places become meaningful.

My practice-based PhD project, supervised between Geography and Media Arts, involves making a location-based game in my home city of Canterbury. This method seeks to understand the potential of location-based game development and play for enabling people to tell their stories of places in the district, and learn about the stories of others. This will invoke the gameplay of Geocaching, a popular GPS-enabled treasure hunting game played worldwide. I’ll be exploring how the format of a digital treasure hunt might be adapted to traverse and engage purposefully with the wide-ranging narratives through which Canterbury is imagined, lived, performed and contested today.

In parallel with my PhD research, I have a longstanding interest in the cultural geographies of video game environments; in particular how a sense of place can be crafted in their hybrid physical and digitally-rendered landscapes. I’m interested in how post-phenomenology might provide theoretical frameworks through which we can apprehend the relationships between different kinds of materials, bodies and social contexts in the production of game experiences, such as feeling ‘a sense of place’ or 'attunement' with their associated landscapes.

These research interests stem back to a broader fascination with psychogeography; and particularly how different kinds of practices might engage with elements of a place’s cultural significance. To me, this is a creative challenge as well as an academic one – hence why I’ve long been interested in research that bridges between disciplines, reaches beyond the academy, and explores creative methods of inquiry.

Alongside my research responsibilities, I am editor of the Social, Cultural and Historical Geographies (SCHG) Research Group's Landscape Surgery blog, the public-facing website for presenting research within the SCHG and for recounting the group's fortnightly Landscape Surgery sessions for human geographers. I am also a Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers), playing a particularly active role in the Digital Geographies Research Group (DGRG), through which I have organised two sponsored sessions at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference in 2018 and 2019, as well as a symposium on Digital Games and VR in July 2019. As part of my interdisciplinary activities at RHUL, I am part of the StoryFutures Creative Cluster network, acting as a consultant for SMEs by sharing insights on place and environment in digital narrative experiences, and also helping to manage the network's social media presence. Elsewhere, I am a member of the Association for Research on Digital Interactive Narratives (ARDIN), Royal Holloway's Centre for the GeoHumanities, and an associate of TECHNE, the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership of which Royal Holloway is part.

I am currently teaching as a visiting lecturer on the Digital Storytelling core module for first-year BA Digital Media Communications and BA Videogame Art and Design students at Royal Holloway. This academic year I also have further teaching roles at Royal Holloway as a workshop leader on Digital Methods for MA Cultural Geography students, and as a teaching assistant on Geographical Techniques for Geography undergraduates.

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