Dr James Ash
PhD, MSc, BA
Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies
School of Arts & Social Sciences
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE1 8ST firstname.lastname@example.org
I completed my PhD at the University of Bristol in 2009 in the discipline of human geography. My PhD investigated practices of videogame design, testing and use through participant observation and interviews with a videogame design company and video ethnographies with users as they played games.
Although I have a background in human geography my work directly plugs into emerging fields in new media studies, particularly around the concepts of affect, practice and materiality. As such I consider my work to speak to both media studies, human geography and the social sciences more generally.
For more on my research please visit my personal website: www.jamesash.co.uk
PhD, ‘Intensive worlds of the image: charting processes of videogame design and use’, University of Bristol 2009
MSc, Society and Space, University of Bristol 2005
BA, Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London 2004
In my current research I am expanding concepts developed in my PhD thesis and associated journal articles around the key notion of ‘interface’.
I am interested in two types of interface in particular which form the site of two current research projects.
‘Navigation and Journeying using in car and on foot GPS’ (2009 - present)
This project investigates the changing nature of navigation through the use of emerging technologies in mobile Satellite navigation and Global Positioning Systems found in devices such as mobiles phone and in car systems. Concretely it is interested in how orientation via the screens and user interfaces of these devices changes users experience of factors such as distance, speed and journey duration. This is being studied through a series of interviews with GPS users, drive alongs and video ethnography.
‘Subcultures of skilled practice: Street Fighter IV’ (2009-present)
This research investigates the subculture surrounding the fighting videogame ‘Street Fighter IV’. Specifically it seeks to understand how users become good at the game through attuning their bodies to the code of the game and materiality of the interface. Empirically this is being investigated through interviews and participant observations in a number of sites including the arcade scene in London, national tournaments where top players compete and in future international tournaments in America, Europe and elsewhere.
I am also continuing my work on understanding videogames, in particular through a critical interrogation of the concept of ‘community’ in relation to online games and gaming.
Ash, J (In press) 'Attention, videogames and the retentional economies of affective amplification', Theory, Culture and Society.
Ash, J (In press) 'Technologies of Captivation: videogames and the attunement of affect', Body and Society.
Ash, J (2012) 'Technology, technicity and emerging practices of temporal sensitivity in videogames', Environment and Planning A, 44 (1) 187-203, doi:10.1068/a44171
Ash, J & Gallacher, L (2011) 'Cultural Geography and Videogames', Geography Compass, 5/6 351-368, doi:10.1111/j.1749-8198.2011.00427.x
Ash, J (2010) 'Architectures of affect: anticipating and manipulating the event in practices of videogame design and testing', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28 (4) 653-671, doi:10.1068/d9309
Ash, J (2010) 'Teleplastic Technologies: charting practices of orientation and navigation in videogaming', Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35 (3) 414-430, doi:10.1111/j.1475-5661.2010.00389.x
Ash, J (2009) 'Emerging spatialities of the screen: video games and the reconfiguration of spatial awareness', Environment and Planning A, 41 (9) 2105-2124, doi:10.1068/a41250
Ash, J, Romanillos, P & Trigg, M (2009) 'Videogames, visuality and screens: reconstructing the Amazon in physical geographical knowledge', Area 41 (4) 464-474, doi:10.1111/j.1475-4762.2009.00889.x
Ash, J (2013) 'New Media Technologies and Participatory Cultures' in Childrens Cultural Worlds Ed. L Gallacher (Wylie / Open University Press). Forthcoming.
Ash, J (2012) 'Gameplay Mode: War Simulation and Technoculture' by Patrick Crogan, Cultural Politics. Forthcoming.