Elizabeth LaPensée

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Elizabeth LaPensée
Elizabeth LaPensee.jpg
NationalityAnishinaabe, Métis, and Irish
OccupationProfessor, artist, game designer, writer, and researcher
TitleAssistant professor
Academic background
Alma mater
Thesis Survivance: An Indigenous Social Impact Game  (2014)
Doctoral advisorRon Wakkary
Academic work
Institutions Michigan State University

Elizabeth LaPensée is an assistant professor in the Departments of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric, & American Cultures at Michigan State University. [1] She is of Irish and Anishinaabe/Métis descent. [1] She studies and creates video games, interactive digital media, animation, visual art, and comics to express Indigenous ways of knowing. [2] Her mother is Grace Dillon, a professor at Portland State University.

Contents

Education

LaPensée received her PhD from Simon Fraser University. [1] Her dissertation was on the benefits of playing Survivance— a social impact game that uplifts storytelling, art, and self-determination as a pathway to healing from Indigenous historical trauma. [3] [4]

Indigenous Game Design

LaPensée designs games around Indigenous ways of knowing. Active as a community organizer, she often collaborates with community partners to create games. She argues that Indigenous practices and teachings can inspire innovative game mechanics. [5] Her games provide an interactive way of engaging with and continuing on Indigenous cultures and history. Her game Honour Water (2016) is a singing-game that teaches Anishinaabe water songs. [6] In 2014, LaPensée spoke out against a remake of Custer's Revenge , a controversial game that allows the player, as General Custer, to rape a Native woman. [7]

LaPensée's game Invaders was featured in the 2015 ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto. [8] [9]

She organized the first Natives in Game Development Gathering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in May 2015. [10]

Indigenous Futurism

Elizabeth LaPensée's research is often cited in connection with Indigenous Futurisms. She was an early research assistant with Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) and research affiliate with the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF). [11] Her mother, scholar Grace Dillon, describes LaPensée's sci-fi animations as a "must-see" example of how Indigenous storytelling can transform the way Indigenous futures are imagined. [12] Kristina Baudemann argues that LaPensée, despite being perceived as a white woman, retains an ability to draw on her Metis ancestry to create new representations of actual Indigenous people. [13]

Awards

In 2017, LaPensée received the Serious Games Community Leadership Award from the Serious Games Special Interest Group of the International Game Developers Association and she was named one of Motherboard's Humans of the Year, a series of profiles recognizing people in science and technology who are building a better future for everyone. [14] [15] [16] [17] Her game Thunderbird Strike won the prize for Best Digital Media Work at the 2017 ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. [18]

In April 2018, LaPensée was selected as a Guggenheim Fellow in the fine arts category. [19] When Rivers Were Trails was awarded Best Adaptation at IndieCade 2019.

Works

Games [20]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "Elizabeth LaPensee". Michigan State University Communication Arts & Sciences. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  2. "Video Games Encourage Indigenous Cultural Expression". Conversation. Conversation. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  3. "Survivance". Survivance. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  4. LaPensee, Elizabeth (February 7, 2014). Survivance: An Indigenous Social Impact Game (PhD thesis). Simon Fraser University. p. V.
  5. "The post-apocalyptic dimensional space of Native video game design". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  6. Hearne, Joanna; LaPensée, Elizabeth (Spring 2017). ""We All Stand Side by Side": An Interview with Elizabeth LaPensée". Studies in American Indian Literatures. University of Nebraska Press. 29 (1): 27–37. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  7. "Offensive video game Custer's Revenge gets last stand online". CBC News. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  8. "imagineNATIVE Brings Indigenous Art and Media to Prominence". CGMagazine. October 15, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  9. "imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival explores games made by and about Indigenous peoples". Financial Post. October 13, 2015. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  10. "UC Santa Cruz to host Natives in Game Dev Gathering". Games and Playable Media. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  11. "Elizabeth LaPensee | Michigan State University". comartsci.msu.edu. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  12. Dillon, Grace (2016). "Indigenous futurisms, bimaashi biidaas mose, flying and walking towards you". Extrapolation. 57 (1/2): 2. doi:10.3828/extr.2016.2.
  13. Baudemann, Kristina (January 2016). "Indigenous Futurisms in North American Indigenous Art". Extrapolation. 57 (1–2): 117–150. doi:10.3828/extr.2016.8.
  14. "Community Leadership Award". Michigan State University Communication Arts & Sciences. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  15. "How a Michigan State professor won an award for serious games". Big Ten Network. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  16. Dubé, Jacob; Ferreira, Becky (December 5, 2017). "This Game Developer Wants to Create Space for Indigenous Stories". Motherboard. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  17. "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Elizabeth LaPensée" . Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  18. "Festival 2017 Winners". imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  19. "2018 Guggenheim Fellowship Fellows" (PDF).
  20. "Games". Elizabeth LaPensée. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  21. "When Rivers Were Trails by indianlandtenure". itch.io. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  22. "About – Thunderbird Strike". Thunderbird Strike.
  23. "CoyoteQuest". game.coyotescience.com. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  24. "About". Honour Water. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  25. "Invaders, 2015". survivance.org. Retrieved March 14, 2019.