Hands-On Workshop on Tabletop Role-Playing for Inclusive Design: Imagining Sustainable Futures for 'Older Adults'

This workshop was accepted to the 'Accessibility and Inclusion in the Digital Society' track of Academic MindTrek 2023 and will be held there as an in-person event on October 6th, from 9:30 to 13:00. In order to join us, you will need to register in advance, see 'Workshop Participation' below.

Workshop Agenda

9:30 Introductions and briefing

10:00 TTRPG session

11:30 Break

11:45 Discussion and wrap-up

Sign up Here

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Academic Mindtrek

Academic Mindtrek 2023 is the 26th International Academic Mindtrek conference. It will take place October 3rd to 6th in the Paidia Living Lab of Play, Nokia Arena, Tampere, Finland and will bring together researchers, experts, and thinkers from a plethora of fields, domains and sectors to discuss novel technology, media, and digital culture for the societies of tomorrow.

Workshop Background and Goal

‘Older adults’ are often seen as a homogeneous group, disregarding their actual diversity in attitudes, abilities, and needs. This stereotypical view can seep into the research and design of digital technologies when developing for this age group, which can lead to those technologies not matching up with actual needs and abilities and thus not being picked up or engaged with.

The goal of this workshop is to explore Tabletop Role-Playing Games (TTRPGs) as a method for HCI/UX to promote reflection on the concept of ‘older adults’ and to raise awareness for the heterogeneity of this demographic. The TTRPG adventure will be set in a sustainable future where a socio-ecological transformation has taken place; a transformation that can be significantly aided by digital technologies, which additionally stresses the need for a deeper reflection on the heterogeneity of all demographics involved in such a transformation, including ‘older adults’.

This workshop will contribute to an improved understanding of TTRPG as an approach to understanding diversity, paving the way to further research into inclusive design of digital technology for sustainability and beyond.

Workshop Participation

We invite people from all ages as well as all ranks and disciplines of academia and industry to join this workshop. No previous experience of (tabletop) role-playing is required. To participate in the workshop, interested parties are invited to register using the form linked below. No further submissions will be required.

Participation itself will be possible in person only. When registering, you can express your interest to either be a TTRPG player or an audience member who actively watches the TTRPG unfold. The number of players will be limited to 5 (first come, first serve). The workshop will start with an introduction, involve some drawing activities, the TTRPG session and a closing discussion. Please note that workshop participants must also buy a workshop pass via the Mindtrek conference.

If your registration was successful, we will send you a confirmation email. One week before the workshop, we will also email all you the agenda and a link to a Miro board on which you can introduce yourself and share your expectations for the workshop.

Sign up Here

Click to open registration form

Key Organizers

The organisers all have an active interest in the intersection of roleplaying games (tabletop and other forms), arts and HCI, and are drawn from a range of career levels, expertise, and artistic practices.

Denise Lengyel is an Innovation Fellow at the Centre for Digital Citizens at Open Lab, School of Computing, Newcastle University, exploring the ‘Ageless’ citizen. Her work centres around arts-based and creative research methods, including (visual) storytelling, drawing and dance. She is also interested in research on comics and cartoons, games, (social) death and bereavement. Her background is in HCI and Computer Science. She’s been dipping her toes into TTRPGs, Live-Action Role-Play (LARP), impro and amateur theatre since 2002.

Kirsikka Kaipainen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the research group of Human-Centered Technology, Tampere University. With a background in technology-aided interventions for mental well-being, her current research is focused on sustainable mobility and societal participation of young people. She has also played TTRPGs for almost 20 years, participated in several LARPs and organised one, and occasionally performed in impro and amateur theatre.

Miriam Sturdee is a lecturer in Computer Science at the University of St Andrews, specialising in art-based approaches to computer science, sketching in HCI, and shape-changing interfaces. She has a background in psychology, publishing and fine art, and a PhD in Digital Innovation. Recent publications include visualisation in cybersecurity, personality traits in game development, subconscious user-experiences and TTRPG-UX.

Michael Heron is a senior lecturer in games and graphics at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg. His current interests are primarily with regards to tabletop gaming – board games and RPGs – especially in connection to their accessibility. He is a long-time games master with experience in many different gaming systems, and has direct experience of working with older adults as part of his previous research work regarding technology to help an aging workforce.

Makayla Lewis is a Lecturer in Computer Science (User Experience Design) at Kingston University London specialising in design thinking for technology innovation. She is also a researcher with an interest in human factors in business, cybersecurity, smart money, and artificial intelligence, especially for people with disabilities. She is an accomplished visual recorder (sketchnotes), illustrator, and doodler whose practices are embedded in her teaching, research, and home life.

Jennifer Liddle is a Senior Research Associate working across Open Lab and Population Health Sciences Institute at Newcastle University. Her research interests include the development of innovative (digital) approaches to address societal challenges such as loneliness, isolation, health and care in later life. She has worked with older people and health care professionals on a range of qualitative and mixed methods studies to explore experiences of everyday life.


If you have any questions or need more information, please contact Denise Lengyel and Kirsikka Kaipainen