‘How do you want to do this?’: table-top role-playing games and academic identity

Helen Woodley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper aims to explore the intersection of academia and Table-Top Role-Playing Games (TTRPG) with the development of identity through both character creation and maps; these two features are key features within TTRPG games, adding depth and richness to the world of play. The author suggests that TTRPGs provide a unique space for introspective academic inquiry and potential personal growth, as players are able to explore and experiment with different identities and roles within a collaborative storytelling framework. Used as a reflective process, academics can explore how their academic working lives look, and their experience of living them, and consider the impact on their actions including areas which they may need to develop or how to best utilise their academic identity for the varying aspects of their work. This may include a deeper undertanding of both who they are and how they interact with others they meet in their professional lives. Through an autoethnographic reflection on both TTRPGs and academic identity, the author proposes that the two worlds have much to offer each other in terms of personal development. Specifically, how the creation of a character based on the academic’s identity can be ‘played’ within a map representing the reality of their academic working life to enhance their personal and professional development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPRACTICE: Contemporary Issues in Practitioner Education
Early online date31 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2024

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