Position/s

Associate Professor
Department of Screen and Media

Biography

A scholar of digital media arts, cultures, and histories, Melanie is an ARC Future Fellow and Project Leader and Chief Investigator on the ARC Linkage Project "Play It Again".  She has authored chapters and articles in both traditional and interactive formats, in such esteemed journals as Convergence, Vectors, and the Journal of Visual Culture.  Melanie's current projects include:

Qualifications

BA (Hons), Mq; PhD, UTS.

Honours, awards and grants

Melanie is the recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship for her project "Creative Micro-computing in Australia, 1976-1992".

She is a keynote speaker at the New Media Histories conference being held in Lodz in October, 2014.

In 2013, Melanie keynoted at the First International Histories of Games conference in Montreal, and the Interactive Entertainment Conference in Melbourne. She was also an invited speaker at the inaugural Digital Nationz Expo, in Auckland.

Previous honours include the 2009 Nancy Keesing Fellowship, at the State Library of New South Wales.

Teaching interests

Melanie is principal supervisor to 4 Research Higher Degree students: James O'Connor (MA), Katharine Neil (PhD, on cotutelle with CNAM, Paris), Helen Stuckey (PhD), and Amin Ansari (PhD).

Research interests

Melanie's research centres on digital media with particular attention to media arts and digital games, as well as the intersections of these. She is concerned with questions of participation, user making, aesthetic and affective experience and the implications of these for theories of audience reception and engagement. Much of her research attends to experimental media uses, and the issues that are raised by the creations of media artists, modders, and independent game developers. She also undertakes research with different communities of practice (lanners, collectors, home coders).

Melanie maintains dual interests in digital media histories and the present. She has been an innovator in both method and historiography in game history -- work that she is now extending in the “Creative Micro-computing in Australia, 1976-1992” project -- and is also one of the few to have researched the introduction of digital games and the early micro- era from a contemporary Media Studies perspective. She is interested in deploying knowledge from the early computing period to deepen understanding, and ask critical questions, of the current moment. In a number of publications, she has critiqued the ahistorical hyping of the present -- often based on historical amnesia or selective nostalgia for the past -- and urged the placing of contemporary developments in digital media into historical context.

At present, Melanie is writing a book on homebrew gaming in 1980s Australasia. She is also supporting the work of several ECR scholars into the local histories of game publishing and the demoscene. She is keen to auspice doctoral research on the local history of educational software.

With Denise de Vries (Computer Science), Melanie convenes the Digital Heritage research group.

Many full text papers are available from flinders.academia.edu.

Supervisory interests

  • Aesthetics, politics, philosophy of technology
  • Digital cultural heritage
  • Digital game history
  • Digital media histories
  • History of educational software
  • Microcomputer history
  • Software history

Publications

  • Stuckey, H. and Swalwell, M.L. (2014). Retro-Computing Community Sites and the Museum. In Angelides, Marios C.; Harry Agius, ed. Handbook of Digital Games. Hoboken, NJ: IEEE Computer Society, pp. 523-547.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2013). How Independent Game Development looked in 2002 (an interview with Julian Oliver and Kipper) In A Clarke & G Mitchell, ed. Videogames and Art. 2nd ed. Bristol: Intellect, pp. 295-319.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2010). Hobbyist Computing in 1980s New Zealand: Games and the popular reception of microcomputers. In Janet Toland, ed. Return to Tomorrow: 50 years of computing in New Zealand. Wellington: New Zealand Computer Society, pp. 157-169.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2009). Lan Gaming Groups: Snapshots from an Australasian case study, 1999-2008. In Larrisa Hjorth and Dean Chan, ed. Gaming cultures and place in Asia-Pacific. New York, Oxon, UK: Routledge, pp. 117-136.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2008). 1980s Home Coding: the art of amateur programming. In Stella Brennan and Su Ballard, ed. Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader. Auckland: Aotearoa Digital Arts and Clouds, pp. 193-201.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. and Wilson, J. (2008). Introduction. In Melanie Swalwell and Jason Wilson, ed. The Pleasures of Computer Gaming: Essays on Cultural History, Theory and Aesthetics. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, pp. 1-12.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2008). Movement and Kinaesthetic Responsiveness: A Neglected Pleasure. In Melanie Swalwell and Jason Wilson, ed. The Pleasures of Computer Gaming: Essays on Cultural History, Theory and Aesthetics. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, pp. 72-93.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2007). "Independent Game Development: Two views from Australia” In Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell, ed. Videogames and Art. Bristol: Intellect, pp. 160-180.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2010). The Case for Local Software Preservation. KEEP Newsletter, 2 pp. 6-8.
    [Web Link] [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2010). A Living Collection: Computer games. SL Magazine, 3(3) pp. 30-31.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2006). NZ's Videogaming Past and the Question of its Future. SCRIPT, 64 pp. 14-16.
    [Web Link]
  • de Vries, D., Ndalianis, A., Stuckey, H. and Swalwell, M.L. (2013). Popular Memory Archive. http://playitagainproject.org
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. and de Vries, D. (2011). Australasian Heritage Software Database. www.ourdigitalheritage.org
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. and Bayly, J. (2010). "More than a Craze: Photographs of New Zealand's early digital games scene" Mahara Gallery website, Waikanae, New Zealand.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2010). More than a Craze: Photographs of New Zealand's early digital games scene. Waikanae, New Zealand: Mahara Gallery.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2007). Early New Zealand Software Database. Online at http://nztronix.org.nz/main.php
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. and Loyer, E. (2006). Castoffs from the Golden Age. Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular. Los Angeles: University of Southern California. 3
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2013). Moving on from the Original Experience: Games history, preservation, and presentation. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2013: DeFragging Game Studies. Digital Games Research Association. 6th Digital Games Research Association Conference. Atlanta, Georgia. Sep 2013.
    [Web Link]
  • Stuckey, H., Swalwell, M.L. and Ndalianis, A. (2013). The Popular Memory Archive: Collecting and exhibiting player culture from the 1980s. In A Tatnall, T Blyth & R Johnson, ed. Making the History of Computing Relevant. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. IFIPWG 9.7 International Conference, HC 2013. London, UK. Jun 2013, pp. 215-225.
    [10.1007/978-3-642-41650-7_20]
  • Stuckey, H.J., Swalwell, M.L., Ndalianis, A. and de Vries, D. (2013). Remembrance of Games Past: The Popular Memory Archive. In S Greuter, C McCrea, F Mueller, L Hjorth & D Richards, ed. Proceedings of IE '13: Matters of Life and Death. New York, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. 9th Australasian Conference on Interactive Entertainment. Melbourne, Vic. Sep 2013.
    [10.1145/2513002.2513570]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2012). The Early Micro User: Games writing, hardware hacking, and the will to mod. In Proceedings of DiGRA Nordic 2012 Conference: Local and Global — Games in Culture and Society. Tampere, Finland: DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association). DiGRA Nordic 2012 Conference: Local and Global -- Games in Culture and Society. Tampere, Finland. Jun 2012.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2011). More Than A Craze: Photographs of New Zealand's early digital games scene. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2011 Conference: Think Design Play. www.digra.org/dl: Digital Games Research Association. Think Design Play - 5th International DiGRA Conference. Hilversum, the Netherlands. Sep 2011.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2010). Exhibition: "More than a Craze: Photographs of New Zealand's early digital games scene" In 7th Australian conference on Interactive Entertainment. Wellington, New Zealand: Massey University. 7th Australian conference on Interactive Entertainment. Wellington, New Zealand. Nov 2010, pp. 60-62.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2005). Early games production in New Zealand. In Changing Views: Worlds in Play. Vancouver, Canada: DiGRA / Simon Fraser University. Changing Views: Worlds in Play. Vancouver, Canada. Jun 2005.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2004). The History and Development of Lan Groups: an Australasian case study. In Miguel Sicart and Jonas Heide Smith, ed. Other Players. Copenhagen: IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Other Players: a conference on multiplayer phenomena. IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Dec 2004.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2003). "This isn't a computer game you know!": revisiting the computer games / televised war analogy. In Marinka Copier and Joost Raessens, ed. Level Up: Digital Games Research Conference. Utrecht, NL: Universiteit Utrecht/DIGRA. Level Up: Digital Games Research Conference. University of Utrecht, NL. Nov 2003.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2003). Ethics and aesthetics: defamiliarization and the virtual. In Consciousness Reframed: non-local, non-linear, non-ordinary. Perth, WA: John Curtin Gallery. Consciousness Reframed: non-local, non-linear, non-ordinary (Fourth International CAiiA-STAR Research Conference) Perth, WA. Aug 2002.
  • Swalwell, M.L. and de Vries, D. (2013). Collecting and Conserving Code: Challenges and Strategies. SCAN: JOURNAL OF MEDIA ARTS CULTURE, 10(2)
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2012). Questions about the usefulness of microcomputers in 1980s Australia. Media International Australia, 143 pp. 63-77.
    [Scopus]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2012). A Critique of the Hyper State: Aesthetics, technology and experience. Transformations: Region, Culture and Society, 22
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2009). Towards the Preservation of Local Computer Game Software: Challenges, strategies, reflections. Convergence: The Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, 15(3) pp. 263-279.
    [10.1177/1354856509105107] [10.1177/1354856509105107] [Scopus]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2007). The Remembering and the Forgetting of Early Digital Games: From novelty to detritus and back again. Journal of Visual Culture, 6(2) pp. 255-273.
    [10.1177/1470412907078568] [10.1177/1470412907078568] [Scopus]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2006). Multi-Player Computer Gaming: 'Better than playing (PC Games) with yourself' Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 6(1)
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2005). Contact Zones: Edge in 'Portable Cities' and 'FragMental Storm' New Zealand Journal of Media Studies, 9(1)
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2003). Multi-Player Computer Gaming: 'Better than playing (PC Games) with yourself' Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, 3(4)
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2002). New/Inter/Media. Convergence: The Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, 8(4) pp. 46-56.
  • Stuckey, H., Swalwell, M.L. and Ndalianis, A. (2013). The Popular Memory Archive: Collecting and exhibiting player culture from the 1980s. In A Tatnall, T Blyth & R Johnson, ed. Making the History of Computing Relevant. Heidelberg, Germany: Springer. IFIPWG 9.7 International Conference, HC 2013. London, UK. Jun 2013, pp. 215-225.
    [10.1007/978-3-642-41650-7_20]
  • Swalwell, M.L. and de Vries, D. (2013). Collecting and Conserving Code: Challenges and Strategies. SCAN: JOURNAL OF MEDIA ARTS CULTURE, 10(2)
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2012). A Critique of the Hyper State: Aesthetics, technology and experience. Transformations: Region, Culture and Society, 22
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2012). Questions about the usefulness of microcomputers in 1980s Australia. Media International Australia, 143 pp. 63-77.
    [Scopus]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2009). Towards the Preservation of Local Computer Game Software: Challenges, strategies, reflections. Convergence: The Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies, 15(3) pp. 263-279.
    [10.1177/1354856509105107] [10.1177/1354856509105107] [Scopus]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2007). The Remembering and the Forgetting of Early Digital Games: From novelty to detritus and back again. Journal of Visual Culture, 6(2) pp. 255-273.
    [10.1177/1470412907078568] [10.1177/1470412907078568] [Scopus]
  • Stuckey, H. and Swalwell, M.L. (2014). Retro-Computing Community Sites and the Museum. In Angelides, Marios C.; Harry Agius, ed. Handbook of Digital Games. Hoboken, NJ: IEEE Computer Society, pp. 523-547.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2009). Lan Gaming Groups: Snapshots from an Australasian case study, 1999-2008. In Larrisa Hjorth and Dean Chan, ed. Gaming cultures and place in Asia-Pacific. New York, Oxon, UK: Routledge, pp. 117-136.
    [Web Link]
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2008). Movement and Kinaesthetic Responsiveness: A Neglected Pleasure. In Melanie Swalwell and Jason Wilson, ed. The Pleasures of Computer Gaming: Essays on Cultural History, Theory and Aesthetics. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, pp. 72-93.
  • Swalwell, M.L. (2008). 1980s Home Coding: the art of amateur programming. In Stella Brennan and Su Ballard, ed. Aotearoa Digital Arts Reader. Auckland: Aotearoa Digital Arts and Clouds, pp. 193-201.
    [Web Link]

Professional and community engagement

Melanie sits on the editorial boards of Convergence: The journal of research into new media technologies (Sage), and Reconstruction: An interdisciplinary cultural studies community. She is an Associate Member of the Centre for Media Arts and Innovation (CMAI, UTS), an invited Honorary Associate, Centre for Media History (Macquarie), and a founding board member of the Digital Games Research Association Australia (DiGRAA).

Recent service includes chairing the first track on "Historical Perspectives on Digital Gaming" at Nordic DiGRA, 2012, and co-chairing the 2nd Art History of Games conference (Atlanta, 2013). With Angela Ndalianis, Melanie chaired the Born Digital & Cultural Heritage conference in June 2014 (#BDCH14). Together with Henry Lowood, Melanie moderates the IGDA's Game_Preservation listserv. With Jaroslav Svelch, she runs the LocalGameHist list.

Expertise for media contact

Interests

  • Digital games
  • Digital preservation Software history, early personal computing, obsolescence, preservation
  • Digital media arts
  • Digital cultures
  • Digital histories

Contact

Add to address book
Phone: +61 8 82012619
Email:
Location: Humanities (278)
Postal address: GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

Further information

A strong candidate (1st class Hons in a relevant field) is sought to undertake a PhD researching the history of educational software in 1980s Australia. Details are here. A top-up to either an APA or a FURS scholarship is available. The end of year scholarship round closes at the end of October. Please email for details and a discussion in advance if you are interested.

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