Professor Esther Maccallum-Stewart


Digital, Tech, Innovation & Business

I am a Professor of Game Studies, specialising in player behaviour and analog games, including tabletop roleplaying games.

My work examines the ways in which players understand the worlds around them – as players, fans, producers and consumers. I have written widely on aspects of gaming including gender in games, representation and diversity, the ways in which players tell stories and understand narratives in games, and on types of games which are typically overlooked. My work extends beyond the digital to examine gaming worlds such as roleplaying, boardgames, fan communities and conventions. Currently my work examines the ways in which tabletop roleplaying games have affected gaming culture, for example through livestreams, actual plays such as Critical Role, and their subsequent influence on rules and the ways in which tabletop games are played.

I have consulted for gaming companies about playful experiences and players including Candy Crush (King Games) and Sony Playstation.

I am a Hugo award finalist and organise large science fiction conventions, and am Chair of the Glasgow 2024 Worldcon .

Professional memberships and activities

Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)

  • Member (2016 – present)
  • Distinguished Scholar (2018 – present)
  • Vice President – (2012 – 2016)
  • Chair, UK chapter (2016- present)

AHRC – peer reviewer

ESRC – peer reviewer

World Science Fiction Society (WSFS)

  • Chair, Glasgow in 2024 (2016 – present)
  • Member (2011-present)

British Science Fiction Association (BSFA)

  • Member (2014 – present)

HEA – Senior Fellowship (2021).

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, The University of Sussex
  • BA, The University of Sussex


  • Videogames
  • Digital Games
  • Play and Playfulness
  • Gender and Representation
  • Narratology
  • Roleplaying Games
  • Boardgames

Research interests

  • Game Studies
  • Tabletop Roleplaying Games
  • Videogames
  • Digital Games
  • Play Studies
  • Gender and Representation in Games
  • Narratology
  • Roleplaying
  • Boardgames
  • Fans and Fandom


AHRC Networking Grant – Under-Represented Voices in Scottish Science Fiction and Fantasy (2022)


I supervise a number of PhD and MA students on topics including roleplaying, larp, gender and representation in games, narrative in games and Games Studies Theory. Please get in contact for further details or if you are interested in pursuing a doctorate in Games Studies at Staffordshire University.


Rerolling Boardgames (with Douglas Brown). 2020. Macfarland Press. 147667079X.

The Science Fiction of Iain M Banks. (with Nick Hubble and Joe Norman). 2019. Canterbury: Gylphi Press 9781780240541

Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction (with Jude Roberts). 2016. Routledge. 9781472447531

The Game Love Reader (with Jessica Enevold) 2015. Macfarland Press. 0786496938

Online Games, Social Narratives. 2014. Routledge. 0415891905

in the UK for Quality Education

Sustainable Development Goal 4, Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2024

for Career Prospects

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Facilities

Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2023

for Social Inclusion

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

of Research Impact is ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Very Considerable’

Research Excellence Framework 2021

of Research is “Internationally Excellent” or “World Leading”

Research Excellence Framework 2021

Four Star Rating

QS Star Ratings 2021