Idun Isdrake is a game designer, film director and cyborg artist with 20 years experience from the media industries. They are the founder of the game & film innovation lab The Collaboratory, as well as a frequent speaker, process leader, expert and guest lecturer at international conferences, the EU Commission and at several universities. Isdrake’s academic background includes Master degrees in Film and Archaeology, as well as numerous transdisciplinary course credits in disciplines ranging from photography and design, to cognitive sciences and geology. They are currently working on a new game and film project in the Nordics, as well as doing PhD research in Design & Computational Arts in Turtle Island/Canada. Diversity and inclusion is at the core of Isdrake’s work, they have founded and supported numerous impact initiatives for accessible technological development with planetary accountability 
Talk: Inclusive innovation and design for transmedia experiences
Talk description: The talk will provide an overview of human development of technologies and narrative experiences, from Iron Age games to cyborg interfaces. Examples from Isdrake’s work will show concrete examples of artistic and technological innovation. The importance of artistic expression for human cultures, as well as equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion in all technological development will be highlighted. We will look at the language used in movies, games and datasets for AI systems to understand how bias is moving through technologies, and how we can work to solve this issue. We will also briefly see examples of how DIY, maker culture and design fiction provide space for diverse technological development and social good. Finally we will glimpse into the future of entertainment, and round off with a Q&A session.
Tim Laning is the CEO and co-owner of Grendel Games, an independent award winning serious game development company from Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. Grendel Games has been focused on creating games that drive behavior change for almost 25 years. The company is focused on three different sectors: healthcare, sustainability and education. From turning surgery training into a fun Nintendo game to using smart meters to generate levels for an infinite runner, Tim and his company love turning education into fascination and learning into gaming. Tim is a celebrated speaker at conferences from GDC San Francisco to Indiecade LA, member of the board for the Dutch Game Garden Incubation Program and External Executive for Nord University. 
Talk: Games for Sustainability: Affecting Environments Through Game Design
Talk description: Natural resources such as drinking water are declining globally as temperatures rise. With traditional corporate communication, information and marketing campaigns largely failing to curtail consumer consumption, water and energy companies are looking to find alternative ways to change consumer behavior. In this talk Tim Laning, CEO of Grendel Games shows how merging game design with sensor technology can intrinsically motivate and engage households to preserve resources, bring down bills and change the world through fun and engagement. 
Dave Freeman is an award-winning Principal Concept Artist working in the Film, TV and Games industry. Currently working on an undisclosed AAA original IP at Sharkmob in London, David has worked for some of the world’s leading VFX companies including Industrial, Light & Magic, DNEG, Cinesite, Lola, Jellyfish Pictures and the BBC. Recent credits include The Creator (20th Century Studios), Blade (Marvel), Willow (Lucasfilm), The Sandman (Netflix), Moon Knight (Marvel), Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania (Marvel) and Doctor Who (BBC). 
Talk: A Conversation with Dave Freeman
Talk description: A career as a Concept Artist. Chat followed by Q&A
María Guðmundsdóttir is a veteran in the video game industry with over 20 years of experience. María has a BA degree in Russian and studied Computer Science at the University of Iceland. María started working at CCP Games in 2002 and had various roles, including game design, testing, production, and management before leaving the company in 2014. María worked both on EVE Online and the first-person shooter DUST 514. Soon after, María joined Novomatic Lottery Solutions as the Executive Product Manager for games and spearheaded innovation in scratch games on the internet.  María left Novomatic Lottery Solution in 2017 to found her own video games company, Parity Games. 
Talk: The windy ways of working on the video game industry.
Talk description: Creative and production process of building the game Island of Winds.
Parity Games, with María as the CEO and Creative Director, is developing the game, Island of Winds.  Island of Winds is an adventure game set in the awe-inspiring environment of a fantastical 17th century Iceland. Drawing inspiration from nature, history and folklore, the game revolves around  the heroine Brynhildur, a female protagonist that needs to travel through the harsh weather conditions to find her clan along with coming to terms with her own brutal past. Killing can never be the first choice in Island of Winds where the core gameplay involves legendary creatures, extensive lore, spellcasting and a special focus on empathy encounters.
Connie J. Eckholdt is a 3D artist with years of experience within the VR space, creating environments and characters for XR applications and games at Breach VR in Trondheim. She started out her 3D journey studying Animation and Digital art at Høgskolen i Innlandet, before taking a year at Academy of Art University under the mentorship of industry experts in San Francisco. Having worked with Breach for 3 and a half years, she has recently received the role of art lead. As a result, she has gained valuable insights into the vast possibilities of 3D and digital art in XR. 
Talk: Building virtual worlds: A 3D artist’s approach to XR (15 minutes)
Rita Spica is a passionate professional with a pedagogics background and a master’s in counselling, with a thesis on “Tilting” and a Coach’ role in esports. She’s worked with people for years, including the Red Cross, Jotunheimen E-sportsenter, 8 years of volunteering at The Gathering and by empowering student communities at Sit. Now she’s embraced a role at Breach VR as HR. Currently thriving in her role, Rita’s journey centers around people. Each person she works with is a unique source of learning, and collaborating within creative fields adds an extraordinary dimension to her experience.” 
Talk: Harmonizing Structure and Creativity towards Well-being and HR in the Gaming and Technology Sectors (30 minutes)
Sylvia Duerr General Manager, NONEDA | Conference Director, Konsoll

“Sylvia Duerr works in the Norwegian videogames industry, currently holding the position of General Manager for NONEDA (the Norwegian Network for Videogame Companies) and serving as the Conference Director for game developer conference Konsoll. In her role, she is dedicated to advancing and fostering growth within the Norwegian videogame industry through the organization and establishment of events and networks, leveraging her knowledge developed during her Master’s degree specializing in leadership development in online gaming.
Beyond her professional roles, Sylvia is not only a strategy game enthusiast, but also has a lesser-known connection to space exploration through her grandfather, who worked for NASA as one of the scientists involved on the successful moon’s shots.”
Talk: Working on Inclusion in the Norwegian Games Industry
Talk description: This talk will present current inclusion work that is done by Noneda – the Norwegian Network for Videogame Companies, including Hiring Process seminars, Retaining Diversity seminars, and Konsoll – the largest annual Norwegian game developer conference.
Marit Emilie Meidelsen Øvrebø is the project coordinator for The Art of Balance in Northern Norway. She is an educated singer and actor and has been working as a performer, director and instructor before her job in Balansekunst. 
Talk: Are art and culture open for all?
Talk description: Balansekunst (The Art of Balance) is a Norwegian association consisting of more than 170 organizations, including companies, festivals and other cultural institutions. Our primary mission is to promote equality and diversity in the arts and culture sector. 
Thor Palsson is a Nord graduate that currently works as Senior Game Designer for Megapop. With over Six years of experience in the gaming industry. In his career Thor has worn many hats, everything from Co-Founder, Teacher, Programmer to a Game Designer. Thor has a strong passion for storytelling and mechanical game design. Beyond his work with Megapop Thor is an avid “Game Jammer” and has published over 20 game jam projects.
When not working on games you can often find Thor playing tabletop rpg’s or reading a good book.
Talk: The Power of Game Jams
Talk description: My path into the industry.
Fredrik Johnsen, a graduate from Nord University, currently works as a Game Director at Rain Games. His portfolio includes roles as a Game Designer on ‘Teslagrad 2’ and ‘Girl Genius: Adventures in Castle Heterodyne’. He is currently leading a new, unannounced project. Fredrik is also the CEO of Flat Earth Entertainment, a startup in the video game industry. 
Talk: My path into the industry.
Talk description: I give insight into my journey from a student to a professional in the game industry.
Sunna Sól graduated from Nord University in spring 2018 and went on to study Game Graphics Production in Belgium. Today she works at Directive Games in Iceland as a Technical- and 3D Artist. Self described as a “Digital Drain Cleaner” Sunna likes to solve technical related problems and create extensive shader spaghetti. Off work Sunna enjoys reading, playing World of Warcraft, and of course talking about the extensive lore of WoW  
Talk: From Pixels to Paychecks: How I got my start in the industry
Talk description: The focus will be on the speaker’s post-academic journey and the transition from being a student to a fulltime game dev and the hardships of establishing a professional presence in the Icelandic game industry.
Dr. Iván “Synpheros” Pérez Colado, with a PhD in Computer Science, has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid since 2023. His expertise spans areas such as Serious Games and Learning Analytics, as well as emerging trends like Generative AI. His career also has significant experience in Full-Stack and Cloud Web development, including application virtualization. Beyond his academic and professional realm, Iván  plays guitar in a metal band, and is a Virtual Reality enthusiast who loves slicing cubes in the rhythm game Beat Saber. 
Talk: Generative AI for Serious Games
Talk description: A brief summary of current Generative AI (GAI) Technologies for the end user. The talk gives an open source perspective affordable for small studios or teams. We showcase some of the results of our most recent research in the context of GAI applied to serious games. The talk includes a small workshop for the creation of game assets as backgrounds and characters.
Chris Hart: Recently I have been teaching at Nord university and been surprised how liberating the students found drawing in a 3D space. During the pandemic I noticed people were turning to art as way of relaxing and VR headsets were in demand. So I took 10x individuals with a wide range of artistic experience and got them to do a series of life drawings then switch half way to VR headsets. All of them found the experience enjoyable and I hope that you will too.
Throughout my career I have always been open new ideas and techniques in the creative field, from the early days of computer graphics to augmented reality.
Many years ago I read about Picasso painting with light and although he wasn’t the first, this lead me to explore new ways of drawing. First came the Quantel paintbox, painting in video, then Photoshop painting on the computer and more recently drawing in VR with apps like Tilt Brush and Gravity Sketch.” Chris Hart, Creative Director – Film, television, multimedia, teaching and XR
Talk: Pencils B4 pixels
Workshop description: This workshop is open to everyone, even if you’ve never picked up a pencil before. Pencils B4 Pixels is a novel life drawing class blending the traditional and the digital. The first half comprises of timed drawing sessions using a life models, easels, pencils and paper for sketching. The second half switches over to VR headsets using a 3D space, virtual models and virtual drawing tools. The whole session enables the student to play with traditional drawing tools and translate that experience into a 3D environment, expanding creative boundaries…, exploring new possibilities… The 3D creations can then be shared with friends and family online.
Lars Krogh Bjerresgaard Kyed is and Associate Professor and Head of the division for Journalism and Creative Media at Nord University 
He has a background as an animation director/producer, with a solid foundation within character animation, Film & TV, VFX and game production, with 30+ years of professional experience. 
After many years in the industry, Lars Kyed has since been dedicated to teaching and research, first as Head of Education at the Copenhagen Academy of Digital Arts, and now at Nord University. His primary research topics are virtual production and optimization of animation pipelines. 
Talk: Expanding the creative leeway in CG animation, using an iterative production method.
Talk description: CG animation production is traditionally a very fixed process, based on a horizontal linear “waterfall” structure. Locked in both artistically and practically. In particular, the artistic freedom, or leeway, becomes narrower and the possibilities fewer the further along the production is in the process.   
The solution to this artistic narrowing problem will be to introduce freedom to change meaning and expression continuously throughout the process, using an iterative, test based and circular structure, where there is simultaneity in all aspects of the production. 
Through my research, I have developed this form of production, based on the game engine “Unreal Engine”. What advantages and disadvantages can this form of production provide both artistically and practically, but also in terms of budget? 
Dr. Line Kolås is an associate professor and a certified meritorious teacher at Nord university. Her background is a PhD in informatics and 25 years of experience in higher education, with a focus on the combination of pedagogy and digitalization. Line has taken part in numerous international and national R&D projects since 2004, and has been teaching and supervising higher education students at bachelor’s, master’s and PhD level, both at the Games and Entertainment Technology program and at the Teacher Education. Line is the cluster leader of “Pedagogy in IT education”, which is one of three clusters in Excited, Centre for Excellent IT education. 
Talk: A game analysis of programming games
Talk description: Even though generative AI helps unskilled users to code, it is important to learn basic coding skills to make efficient use of today’s coding tools and to be able to assess the quality of automatically generated code. Children learn coding at an earlier age in schools today than previously, but we still experience higher education students at universities with little or no background in coding, who need to take programming classes as part of their university studies. In addition, there are older students / adults who would like to learn how to code. Game-based learning is one approach to learn how to code. This game analysis study analyses to what degree programming games for adults cover new competence needs due to generative AI / copilot functionality
Dr. Helga D. Ísfold Sigurðardóttir is an Associate Professor at Nord University, and holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies. With a background in social anthropology (BA) and education (MA), her diverse research interests include social impact games, digital game-based learning, online cultures, diversity, social media, feminist theory, gender, career development, and more. When not immersed in research, she enjoys chasing virtual creatures in Pokemon Go and perfecting her superhero poses for Marvel Snap”. 
Talk: Developing games for 3 to 30 year olds
Talk description: In 3 years, Helga D. Ísfold Sigurðardóttir has been involved in 3 different development projects, where games have been – or will be – developed. With a target group ranging from 3 to 30 year old, the games have had one thing in common; the goal to make a difference for the player. 
Izabella Jedel is a PhD student within the Faculty of Education and Art at Nord University focusing on how game elements can be designed to promote intrinsic motivation toward learning. Before starting her PhD she has worked with gamification research and design in industry projects, written one book on digital learning in organizations and recently published a book on universal design in video games. 
Talk: A psychological perspective of motivational design in games and education
Talk description: One of the most influential psychological theories in motivation, self-determination theory, proposes that people find an activity inherently enjoyable when three basic psychological needs are supported. These three needs have been used to explain the captivating nature of well-designed videogames and more recently how elements from games can make learning more motivating. The present talk focuses on how the understanding of peoples’ basic psychological needs can inform game design and the use of game elements in educational settings.
Aamna Aamna: With over 7 years of experience in education, Aamna is a specialist in digital teaching & learning, renowned for creating dynamic third spaces for community learning. Aamna has made significant contributions in esteemed organizations such as Ministry of Education Pakistan, USAID, US State Department, UN CSW, We Are Family Foundation USA, British Council Pakistan, Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development, and UNICEF. Aamna’s expertise lies in skillfully adapting teaching methodologies across diverse age groups, from 6-year-olds to adults, while actively promoting inclusive education and cross-cultural understanding on a global scale. Her commitment to elevating student engagement through interactive materials, collaborative projects, and personalized learning journeys makes her a standout professional. 
Talk: Exploring the Blended Learning Landscape: Insights into Project-Based Computing Education
Talk description: This research project navigates the nuanced landscape of blended learning in project-based computing education. By addressing key questions on conceptualization, implementation, and student perceptions, it aims to uncover the intricacies of this pedagogical approach. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the study emphasizes the importance of adaptable educational models, especially within the confluence of international programs and project-based courses. The research seeks to shed light on the dynamic interplay between face-to-face and online interactions, contributing valuable insights for optimizing blended learning in computing education.
Dr. Robin Isfold Munkvold has a background in Computer Science and is an experienced researcher within the fields of Computer Science, ICT, Games and Learning. He as an Associate Professor at Nord University and has been part of the leader group of the Centre for Excellent IT-education, since it started back in 2016. 
Talk: Cards of Conflict – A Conflict Management Game in Project-based Learning
Talk description: A very short demo of the game and results from a research project on the use of the game in an educational setting.
Dr. Víctor Manuel Pérez Colado is a PhD in Computer Science that works as Associate Professor in the Games and Entertainment Technologies for Nord University. Graduated in 2022 he has over seven years of experience as researcher where he has contributed to many fields such as serious games, learning analytics, pervasive games, augmented reality and generative AI. Víctor has been always in love with games, enjoying them from the personal and academical perspective. Beyond this, Victor is an active open source contributor and is a passionate musician where he is a singer and guitarist of the metal band Axire. 
Talk: Where are the games in my learning? A research perspective
Talk description: Let’s learn about the latest serious games, AI and authoring tools and current adoption status of serious games problematics from the research perspectives. We will also do a small workshop on “free GPTs” in the context of serious games.
Dr. Torill Elvira Mortensen 
Talk: Game studies beyond games
Talk description: Game studies tends to be shuffled aside as an unimportant topic concerning only nerds who play games. This is disproved over and over again as games are revealed as the window into understanding the digital technology, players everywhere taking full advantage of the potential and range of computer based communication.
Simone Elverum Hunt 
Talk: Understanding Generative AI in Art
Talk description: AI is already part of modern life and art, growing more seamless and invisible as technology advances. The current AI art debate centres on how the industry’s use of internet scraping to train datasets for commercial purposes homogenises art and reinforces bias, prejudice, and stereotypes. 
Current AI art models are trained by classifying and identifying creative styles using Heinrich Wölfflin’s comparative approach to art. As theories that acknowledge the cultural aspect of art and emphasise its historical and social context gain traction, Wölfflin’s “formalism” approach is facing increasing pressure. Additionally, these theories highlight the cognitive importance of artworks and argue against the reduction of their value to aesthetics, upon which current AI data sets are solely based.
Fredrik Weisethaunet is a PhD fellow of Sociology at Nord University. He is writing his PhD on the role of mods and modding in the video game industry 
Title of talk: Altered play: on the role of modding in the video game industry
A short description of the talk: I will focus my talk on how modding influences player agency.