Matthew Spokes

Dr Matthew Spokes is Associate Dean for Social Sciences at York St. John University. His research explores the connections between interactive entertainment (with a particular focus on video games), mortality, spatiality and social theory. His book Gaming and The Virtual Sublime: Rhetoric, Awe, Fear and Death in Contemporary Video Games (2020) considers the importance of virtual representation as a conduit for transcendental experiences during play, and he has published extensively on systemic violence, mortality, methodology and environmental degradation in video games, alongside the educational and therapeutic value of play more broadly.


Jack Denham

Dr Jack Denham is a Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences at York St. John University. Since obtaining his PhD (University of York, 2018), his research has focused primarily on the Sociology of video games, how social interaction is lived in virtual spaces, and how social inequalities are reproduced or addressed in virtual media.

Technical Director

Matt Coward-Gibbs

Matt Coward-Gibbs is a Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology at York St John University. Matt’s research considers the relationship between play (and fun) and the social world. This has lead to work considering both video games and the communities they make alongside tabletop games (including contemporary board games and tabletop roleplaying games). He is the editor of Death, Culture and Leisure: Playing Dead (2020). Matt’s current work includes an ethnography of contemporary tabletop gaming in the UK.

PhD Student

Caitlin Veal

Caitlin Veal is a PhD researcher in Sociology at York St John University. Her research interests include the social value of video games, spatial structure of digital spaces, online identity, and digital culture. She initially joined the research group in June 2021 as a Research Assistant after completing her MA (by Research) at the University of York.