Since DiGRAA’s founding in 2014, we are proud to be internationally recognised as “the local DiGRA chapter to model” and to be known as the “friendliest conference” and “most welcoming and supportive research community.” We believe we have only earned this reputation due to the contributions of core community members like Dr April Tyack. Dr April Tyack served as DiGRAA’s Vice President from 2018 to 2021 and epitomised the type of dedication to academic discourse and community-building efforts focused on improving diversity and inclusivity in games studies, which we strive to uphold as a group. Though Dr April Tyack’s bright academic career was far too short, her impact will be felt for many years to come.
The April Tyack’s DiGRAA Distinguished Scholars are named in honour of DiGRAA’s former Vice President Dr April Tyack, who made our community better.
These accolades serve to celebrate Dr April Tyack’s life and her lasting contributions to Antipodean game studies, as well as formally recognise the indispensable but often invisible advocacy and mentorship that defines DiGRAA—what makes, sustains, and grows our community. To be eligible for selection, the academic must be a DiGRA Australia member whose ongoing support has helped cultivate our local game studies talent.
|Inaugural Class (2024)
|Dr Marcus Carter is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Associate Professor in Digital Cultures at The University of Sydney. He is also currently director of the Sydney Games and Play Lab. His research focuses on digital games and emerging mixed reality technologies, and he is the author of several books including Treacherous Play (2022) and Fantasies of Virtual Reality (2024). Marcus co-founded DiGRA Australia in 2014, and has served as Treasurer (2014-2015), President (2015-2018) and as a board member (2018-2021, 2023-Present).
|A/Prof Dan Golding (he/him) is Interim Chair of the Department of Media and Communication at Swinburne University, and the author of two books, including Game Changers with Leena van Deventer. He also created the soundtrack for the BAFTA, DICE, and GDCA winning Untitled Goose Game (2019), as well as Mars First Logistics (2023), and the Frog Detective series. Dan helped host DiGRA International when it came to Australia in 2017, and was co-chair of DiGRA Australia in 2016. Before that, Dan wrote games journalism and was director of the Freeplay Independent Games Festival (2014-2017).
|Dr Brendan Keogh (he/him) is a senior lecturer in the School of Communication and a chief investigator of the Digital Media Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology. He is the co-author of The Unity Game Engine and The Circuits of Cultural Software (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019; with Benjamin Nicoll), and is the author of The Videogame Industry Does Not Exist (MIT Press, 2023) A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames (MIT Press, 2018) and Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops The Line (Stolen Projects, 2012). He has written extensively about the cultures and development practices of videogames in journals such as Games and Culture, Creative Industries, and Convergence, and for outlets such as Overland, The Conversation, Polygon, Edge, and Vice. He served as President of DiGRA Australia from 2018 – 2022, and chaired DiGRA Australia’s 2020 National Conference.
Awarded Distinguished Scholars are presented with an engraved plaque. On the plaques, a duck image was chosen to represent Dr Tyack’s beloved signature duck backpack.
Award Committee 2024
Each year, the Distinguished Scholars will be judged by the four executive members of the DiGRAA board. Academics already recognised with this honour will also be invited to participate in the selection committee for future years.
The inaugural 2024 Distinguished Scholars have been decided by DiGRAA President Mahli-Ann Butt, Vice President Erin Maclean, Secretary Stephanie Harkin, and Treasurer Madeleine Antonellos.
For future iterations of the April Tyack’s Distinguished Scholar award, we will invite DiGRAA members to nominate their peers and mentors who they believe have contributed to our DiGRAA game studies community in this way and should be recognised by this award. These nominations will help inform our decisions to ensure that deserving recognitions are not overlooked.
Ultimately, the Distinguished Scholars are named in the spirit of Dr April Tyack; those who we believe do not embody this spirit—or Dr April Tyack would not wish to recognise—are not eligible for the award, even if their contributions are significant.
If you believe an awarded or nominated Distinguished Scholar does not represent Dr April Tyack’s legacy, you can submit your concern to the current president for review:
- Mahli-Ann Butt (firstname.lastname@example.org)
You can also submit a complaint to the DiGRA Ombuds-team (email@example.com), who can then submit an anonymous complaint on your behalf.
~ About Dr April Tyack ~
Please see Dan Golding’s thoughtful obituary ‘In Memory of April Tyack’ to learn more about Dr April Tyack’s legacy.