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States of Play: Roleplay Reality Learning Guide



Part of the Spring 2018 season

Downloads: States Of Play - Learning Guide (.pdf, 0.76mb)

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Designed for educators and teachers bringing groups to visit FACT to gain knowledge and understanding of subject matter and to enjoy and be inspired by the experience of an art centre visit while supporting learning across curricular dimensions.

This guide includes an outline of the artwork on show, as well as learning objectives, gallery discussions and ideas to stimulate the learning process around the themes of the exhibition.

Download the guide below.

Sensitive Material Warning

Some artworks in Gallery 2 contain material that is unsuitable for students under 18. FACT recommends to visit the exhibition or revise its contents before bringing a group as you should be aware that the exhibition contains material that some people might find challenging. You may also wish to prepare your students or groups for this before their visit. Teachers and educators will need to use their professional judgement and knowledge of their students in determining the suitability of the material for individual groups and whether they wish to seek parental consent.


The roles we play, both on and offline, reflect and shape our realities. States of Play: Roleplay Reality considers how roleplay - found in many video games - can be used as a way to reflect and question real-world power structures and suggest ways to move beyond these. We should not think of games merely as a way of escaping the real world but as a place where the imaginary and the real collide. Advancement in technology has made game construction and design more accessible to a broader range of people, which in turn is offering more diverse games to the public and highlighting the limitations of commercially driven high-budget titles. Gamergate, a volatile scandal that exposed deep-rooted sexism in the industry, showed not only that the physical and virtual are inseparable, but also exposed the radically differing views that make up today’s game culture. As the landscape of gaming changes - this reflects changes in our real environment from the rise of right-wing extremism to the rise in previously marginalised voices having a platform to offer an alternative narrative to traditional games, as well as an ever-increasing merging of the physical and virtual, fact and fiction. Within this context, States of Play: Roleplay Reality brings together artworks and industry games to explore how the roles we play within these games expose our true realities: with all of our contradictory motivations, biases and assumptions. The result of this can be joyous and disturbing, freeing or overpowering, but now - more than ever - it it is impossible to separate our physical identities with the roles that we take up in virtual space.