Nov 04 - Research Presentation: Dr. Aleena Chia

Fall 2020 SIAT Graduate Research Colloquium

Convened by: Dr. Kate Hennessy
hennessy_kate [at]

The Graduate Research Colloquium aims to be a forum for the building of community, for exposure to diversity of research work and methods, and for fostering understanding of disciplinary commonalities and differences. SIAT (School of Interactive Arts and Technology) is a strongly interdisciplinary program and the Research Colloquium aims to reflect this by exposing students to a broad range of approaches to research in the areas of Interactive Arts, Design and Technologies.

Through this colloquium series, presentations by SIAT faculty, SFU non-SIAT faculty, and outside visitors will be scheduled alongside presentations by students. Where possible, presentations by international visiting researchers will be integrated into the program. The emphasis is on a community of research which includes students. This colloquium is designed to engage students in discussion and debate on the utility, results and methods of research; on work-life balance; on health and wellbeing; to be introduced to one another and to the members of the broader research and industry community.

This week students are introduced to Dr. Aleena Chia's reesarch practice. 

Title: Passion & Precarity in Gaming Hobbies.

This talk outlines the moral calculus patterning players’ beliefs about how passionate employment compensates for precarity and workaholism, and how serious leisure careers stand in for narratives of professional development that elude many players. This calculus of compensation, corruption, and sublimation between passion and profit can be traced back to industrialisation’s cleavage of labour from recreation and its institution of the hobby as productive leisure. Arguments about waged labour's imagined corruption of hobbies are not new. However, these studies have not investigated the connection between the passion that is corruptible by work, and the passion that promises to sublimate work from drudgery. This confounding logic holds the key to resisting ideologies about vocational passion, its legacy of productive leisure, and its morality of productivism. Attending to this boundary work provides a collective language to reflect on desires, question contingent employment structures, and reconfigure the moral calculus for purposeful livelihoods outside of industrial-era notions of productivity and neoliberal notions of passion.