Sonia Fizek is a digital wanderer and a ludic thinker; on a more formal note, a digital games and media theorist. She is also an associate editor of the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, a leading international journal publishing academic work in the field of game studies.
Education and Professional Experience
Sonia Fizek studied English Literature and Linguistics at the University of Lodz (Poland), graduating with an M.A. thesis on the rise of cyber fiction and the impact of digital technology on literature. She then pursued her academic path as a doctoral candidate at Bangor University (UK) where she completed her PhD in media and game studies.
Over the last decade she has gained ample experience as an educator and researcher at various higher education institutions across Europe. In 2019 she held a professorship at media Akademie – Hochschule Stuttgart and prior to that a lectureship in game studies and design at the School of Informatics and Design at Abertay University in Dundee (Scotland). In the years 2013-2015 she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University Lüneburg. She also worked as a film festival coordinator, team leader, freelance blogger and translator with over 10 years of experience in the fields of technology, film and dental medicine.
Fizek is an active member of the research community as an associate editor of the Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, and a board member for multiple initiatives and journals, such as: Digital Culture and Society Journal, Digital Games Research Association (British DiGRA), Replay. The Polish Journal of Game Studies, and Journal of the Philosophy of Games. She is also a co-founder of “GREETA: Green Production Assistant”, an early stage start-up concept for green film shooting and production.
Sonia Fizek has been teaching at various international higher education institutions in the UK, Germany, and Poland, amongst others: Bangor University, Abertay University, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Goethe University of Frankfurt, Design Akademie Berlin and University of Lodz. This experience has allowed her to develop a rich didactic repertoir. At the Cologne Game Lab, she offers seminars for B.A. and M.A. students in Media and Game Studies with a focus on digital play theory and critical player research.
Fizek’s current work explores media aesthetic of digital play through the lens of: interpassivity, automation, ambience, spectacle and intra-action. Her other research interests include: media theory and media archaeology of play, interferences between work and play, cultural significance of gamification, as well as green gaming, sustainability and material infrastructures of play.
Current Research Projects
In preparation: Monography, Videogames to Dis-Play: Media Aesthetics of Digital Play. Accepted for publication by The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
GREETA: Green Production Assistant (www.greeta.eu), a start-up project in its early research phase, focusing on sustainability within the context of film and video production
Selected list of publications (more can be found at https://th-koeln.academia.edu/SoniaFizek)
Fizek, S. (2021, in preparation). Videogames to Dis-Play: Media Aesthetics of Digital Play. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Abend, P., Fizek, S., Fuchs, M., Wenz, K. (2020). Digital Culture and Society, vol. 9 and 11. Special Issues: Work and Play (vol. 9: Labourious Play; vol. 11: Playful Labour). Bielefeld: Transcript.
Fizek, S. & Dippel, A. (2020). Gamification of Terror. Power Games as Liminal Spaces. In Games and Ethics – Theoretical and empirical approaches to ethical questions in digital gaming culture. Springer Verlag.
Fizek, S., Rautzenberg, M. (2018). Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, vol. 10.3. Special Issue: Autoplay – Gaming in the Age of Automation. Bristol: Intellect.
Fizek, S. (2018). Automation of Play. Theorizing Self-Playing Games and Post-Human Ludic Agents. Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, vol. 10.3. Special Issue: Autoplay – Gaming in the Age of Automation. Bristol: Intellect.
Fizek, S. (2018). Automated State of Play. Rethinking Anthropocentric Rules of the Game. Digital Culture and Society, vol. 6. Special Issue: Rethinking AI. Bielefeld: Transcript.
Fizek, S. (2018). Interpassivity and the joy of delegated play in idle games. Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association, April 2018, vol. 3 no. 3, pp 137-163: http://todigra.org/index.php/todigra/article/view/81/129.
Fizek, S. & Dippel, A. (2018). Laborious Playgrounds: Citizen science games as new modes of work/play in the digital age. In The Playful Citizen: Civic Engagement in a Mediatized Culture. René Glas, Sybille Lammes, Michiel de Lange, Joost Raessens, and Imar de Vries, eds. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
Fizek, S. & Dippel, A. (2017). Ludification of culture. The significance of play and games in everyday practices of the digital age. In Digitalisation. Theories and concepts for the empirical cultural research. Gertraud Koch (ed.). London, New York: Routledge. Fizek, S. (2016). All work and no play. Are computer games becoming the factories of the future? First Person Scholar. The Games Institute. University of Waterloo.
Fizek, S., Fuchs, M., Schrape, N. & Ruffino, P. (2014). Rethinking Gamification, (eds.). Leuphana University Lüneburg, meson press.