Jack Lowe

Jack Lowe

I am a cultural geographer and interactive narrative designer whose research and creative practice explores how people engage with place through playful, site-specific, experimental and/or immersive media forms.

I am currently working as a Research Associate at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, based in the Pervasive Media Studio at Watershed, a digital creativity centre in central Bristol.

My recently-completed practice-based PhD project involved independently making and testing location-based games in East Kent, UK. This method sought to understand the potential of location-based game development and play for discovering, sharing and engaging purposefully with the wide-ranging narratives through which this area is imagined, lived, performed and contested today.

Creative works have included The Timekeeper's Return, a mixed-reality treasure hunt in Canterbury's Cathedral Quarter played using QR codes; Canterbury in 3 Words, a participatory storytelling platform and location-based treasure hunt played using the What3Words app; and The Gates to Dreamland, a locative audiowalk game based around Margate's Dreamland amusement park (made as part of A Different LENS – a collaborative story-mapping project funded by Arts Council England, Kent County Council and Margate NOW).

These projects follow prior professional and academic experience in this area. I have worked with four-times BAFTA-nominated interactive arts organisation Blast Theory as a volunteer; with StoryFutures as a consultant on location-based games; and I have presented research on the narrative environments of digital games at international conferences on several occasions. My work with StoryFutures notably led to my involvement as a writer, narrative designer and consultant for Interrobang?!, a theatre-meets-online gaming experience developed by immersive theatre company Gideon Reeling.

In parallel with my PhD research, I have a longstanding interest in the cultural geographies of video game environments; in particular how a sense of place can be crafted in their hybrid physical and digitally-rendered landscapes. I’m interested in how post-phenomenology might provide theoretical frameworks through which we can apprehend the relationships between different kinds of materials, bodies and social contexts in the production of game experiences, such as feeling ‘a sense of place’ or 'attunement' with their associated landscapes. My research in this regard has centred on 'walking simulator' games, where I have used autoethnographic play techniques alongside interviews with game developers to study these phenomena.

These research interests stem back to a broader fascination with psychogeography; and particularly how different kinds of practices might engage with elements of a place’s cultural significance. To me, this is a creative challenge as well as an academic one – hence why I’ve long been interested in research that bridges between disciplines, reaches beyond the academy, and explores creative methods of inquiry.

Recent followers

2
Elspeth Penfold
  • Jack Lowe

    Making The Gates to Dreamland: Mapping Between Worlds

    Jack Lowe
    · 26 Apr, 2021
  • Jack Lowe

    Making The Gates to Dreamland: Recording and Editing

    Jack Lowe
    · 6 Apr, 2021
  • Jack Lowe

    Making The Gates to Dreamland: Script-writing and Wayfinding

    Jack Lowe
    · 21 Mar, 2021
  • Jack Lowe

    Call for Papers: Digital Geographies and the Everyday

    Jack Lowe
    · 8 Feb, 2021
  • Jack Lowe

    Making The Gates to Dreamland: (Dis-)locating a Story

    Jack Lowe
    · 19 Jan, 2021
  • Jack Lowe

    Making The Gates to Dreamland: Discovering Galileo

    Jack Lowe
    · 1 Jan, 2021
  • Jack Lowe

    Making The Gates to Dreamland: First Steps

    Jack Lowe
    · 23 Dec, 2020
  • Jack Lowe
  • walk · listen · café

    Psychogeography and disruption

    Elspeth Penfold
    Jack Lowe
    Sonia Overall
    Phoebe McIndoe
    · 2020-11-10 19:00
  • Jack Lowe
  • walk · listen · café

    Psychogeography and disruption

    Elspeth Penfold
    Jack Lowe
    Sonia Overall
    Phoebe McIndoe
    · 2020-11-10 19:00
  • walk · listen · café

    Psychogeography and disruption

    Elspeth Penfold
    Jack Lowe
    Sonia Overall
    Phoebe McIndoe
    · 2020-11-10 19:00
  • Jack Lowe

    Mapping Space | Mapping Time | Mapping Texts Conference Poster

    Jack Lowe
    · 1 Oct, 2020
  • Jack Lowe

    Launching Today: The Gates to Dreamland

    Jack Lowe
    · 25 Sep, 2020
  • Jack Lowe
  • Walking Event SWS20

    The spaces between the words – Practices of locative literature

    Geert Vermeire
    Andrew Stuck
    Stefaan van Biesen
    Elspeth Penfold
    Lucy Jeffery
    · 2020-09-25 18:00
  • Jack Lowe
  • Walking Event SWS20

    Here and there

    Geert Vermeire
    NG Bristow
    Fred Adam
    Richard Shannon
    Ricardo Climent
    · 2020-09-23 18:00
  • Jack Lowe

    Location-Based Games and Place: A YouTube Playlist

    Jack Lowe
    · 9 Sep, 2020
  • Jack Lowe

    Canterbury Arts Conference 2020: Location-based games as platforms for site-specific storytelling

    Jack Lowe
    · 30 Aug, 2020
  • Jack Lowe
  • Walking Event SWS20

    Taking a Virtual Walk on the Wild Side

    Stella Wisdom
    Cheryl Tipp
    Sue Thomas
    Jack Lowe
    · 2020-09-16 18:00
  • Walking Event SWS20

    Taking a Virtual Walk on the Wild Side

    Stella Wisdom
    Cheryl Tipp
    Sue Thomas
    Jack Lowe
    · 2020-09-16 18:00
  • Jack Lowe

    DGRG Virtual Annual Symposium 2020: Digital game design as a geographical research method

    Jack Lowe
    · 2 Jul, 2020
  • Jack Lowe

    20 Years of Seeing with GPS: Platforming place narratives with location-based games

    Jack Lowe
    · 24 Jun, 2020