Skins at NAISA

Posted on May 28, 2009, 2:24 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under Publications.

“Virtual Modding as Self-Determination: Scenes from the Skins Workshop,” a paper by myself (Beth Aileen Lameman), Jason Lewis, and Skawennati Fragnito was recently presented at the 2009 Native American and Indigenous Studies Assocation Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Only it wasn’t presented by any of us! Jason was busy with TYPO in Berlin, Skawennati was with Bea for CGSA in Ottawa, and I was at home taking care of my very sick baby. His illness came very unexpectedly, and although he is better, I’m now facing the “omg I lost an incredible opportunity but feel guilty about feeling like I missed an opportunity” experience of motherhood. Thankfully, I have a mama who very likely went through some similar experiences when I was little and just so happens to be an inspiring scholar in Native Studies and Science Fiction, among other things, who was also presenting at NAISA on Stephen Graham Jones.

My mama, Grace L. Dillon, Associate Professor in Native American Studies at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, kindly offered to present on my behalf until she returned to help me take care of her grandson. The chair of the panel, Jolene Rickard, graciously accepted. It’s all in the family when it comes to Native academia, and sure enough, it went really well. In a way, I am thankful that it happened this way, because it made me take the time to explain the Skins workshop and AbTeC’s work very precisely. I tend to buzz around and leap off into techy lingo, forgetting that sometimes I’m in my own world. It was a good lesson for me in how to prepare for a conference that isn’t already familiar with video game development and the industry overall.

I now have a solid structure to work from for polishing a paper that can reach out to a broader audience, and what is, perhaps, our most important audience–the communities who will be using our curriculum. Many cards and email addresses were exchanged, and I have plenty of follow-up to do. There are also some possible project offers that came from AbTeC being present at this conference. More on those later as they develop.

Look out on the blog as I trace through new interviews from NAISA attendees. This is most definitely the place to be and I plan to bring Myron along for backup next year to ensure that I can go and really soak in the presentations while he entertains Malcolm. And now that I think of it, Mal will almost be two years old by then. I’m not really sure where the time has gone, but I’m sure of where I want it to go. I’m reinvigorated to write again, both academically and creatively. I have something to say, and as my mama assures me, there are many people who want to listen.

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