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Lecturer in Games Studies and Game Design, University of Southampton

Dr. Emma Reay is a videogames researcher and a lecturer in Game Design, Critical Game Studies, and Digital Media Theory. Her research interests range from representations of children in contemporary videogames, to wordless narratives and somatic storytelling, to justice and equity in virtual worlds, to children's media ecologies and metaverses, to adult play and lifelong make-believe.

She is currently a Research Fellow at Falmouth University, working on the ATTUNE project - a collaboration with young people that explores the therapeutic potential of designing and playing videogames.
She believes that videogames are key arenas in which definitions of childhood are being contested and reimagined. Her works aims to move critical conversations beyond questions of whether videogames are 'good' or 'bad' for child-players, and towards questions of how videogames produce childhood as a social category and an ideological construct. Her recent publications include:

Emma holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature from the University of Oxford and an MPhil in Critical Approaches to Children's Literature from the University of Cambridge, where she also completed her PhD in Videogame Studies.

Outside of academia, Emma work with clients both in creative industries and in higher education institutions. She offers advice and insights for those who want to create media (specifically digital / interactive / hybrid / new media) for or about young people, and helps researchers, academics, and educators to integrate gameful practices into their labs, professional training, and public outreach initiatives. Through workshops, reports, and playtesting, she synthesises and shares the latest thinking surrounding gamification, justice and inclusion, interactive narrative design and the transformative power of play.

Emma is a co-founder and board member of two connected interventions whose purpose is to make youth literature and media studies more equitable and accessible. More information can be found here: and


  • –present
    Lecturer in games studies and game design, Anglia Ruskin University