University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

honour water

Singuistics, a mobile game that passes on Indigenous language through singing, involved Indigenous contributors in the creation of art, selection of songs, and translations, thus including community members during production.


This collaborative aims to bring together expertise in game design, critical insights into games and culture, and rhetorical studies to study and promote inclusive game design across UMN campuses and the communities that surround them.

Get Involved

If you are interested in becoming involved in this collaborative, check out the event schedule below, or send an email to David Beard (Duluth Campus, or Nic VanMeerten (Twin Cities Campus, The energy and vision for this collaborative comes from Elizabeth LaPensée, now at Michigan State University and returning to join us at our November event.


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Inclusive Game Design I: Charles McGregor in conversation with Nic VanMeerten, and Ed Downs
Martin Library Rotunda, UMD Campus
3:30pm; Webcast to UMTC—streaming link TBD.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Inclusive Game Design II: Janelle Pewapsconias of Neeched Up Games in Conversation with Elizabeth LaPensée, Michigan State University
Humanities 403, Duluth Campus

Events are sponsored with funds from the Institute for Advanced Study. Additional support is provided by the Program in Writing Studies in the Department of English, Linguistics and Writing Studies at UMD.


Elizabeth LaPensée

Assistant Professor, Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures, Michigan State University, formerly Postdoctoral Associate, Research for Indigenous Community Health Center, University of Minnesota

Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. expresses herself through writing, design, and art in games, transmedia, comics, and animation. She is Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish, living near the Great Lakes as an Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures at Michigan State University. Most recently, she designed and created art for Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing game for healing the water. She designed and programmed Invaders (2015), a remix of the arcade classic Space Invaders inspired by art from Steven Paul Judd. She also designed The Gift of Food (2014), a board game for the Northwest Indian College about Northwest Native traditional foods. Her work speaks to collaborative game development directly and creatively involving communities in the process.

David Beard

David is Associate Professor of Rhetoric in the Department of Writing Studies at UMD. For more info, visit or email

Nicolaas VanMeerten

nic vanmeertenHe is a third year Ph.D. student in the Educational Psychology program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Nic is a data scientist by trade and his research focuses on studying how people learn in complex multiplayer video game environments. Nic is also the Co-founder and Senior Programs Director at GLITCH.