ISS mission and history

10th Anniversary of ISAGA Summerschool

By Paola Rizzi and Willy Kriz, January 2013

Founding and history of the ISAGA Summerschool

We (Prof. Dr. Paola Rizzi and Prof. Dr. Willy Kriz) founded the annual international Summerschool in Gaming & Simulation officially in 2004. First concepts and ideas were developed from 1998. In the beginning we had to face difficulties to setup the school. ISAGA (as organization) was not much interested. Some members were fortunately encouraging us and our idea and offering advice and support. Others opposed the idea, the majority of steering committee members at that time stayed without opinion and followed a wait and see approach. With the decision of the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA) Steering Committee 2003 the proposal of us was accepted and in 2003 we became directors of the ISAGA Summerschool. From 2004 we organized (or currently organizing) 10 annual summerschools. In 2013, after 10 successful years of serving as directors, we retreat from this function. ISAGA executive board is currently developing a plan for continuing this event in the future with a new team of heads. About our retirement ISAGA EB was informed in 2012. We also offered support and advice for a transition. Only recently in February 2013 we have been approached by ISAGA EB. We hope that the summerschool we established will somehow continue in the future.

Herewith we want to report some facts about the ISAGA summerschool. We will also create a DVD with results, designed game artifacts and documented contributions from the 10 summerschools. This DVD will be freely distributed at ISAGA 2014 conference to participants, as well as to past Summerschool teachers, hosts and participants. A copy will be also given officially to ISAGA EB.

One of the main reasons to establish ISAGA Summerschool was to bring new young professionals into ISAGA as an organization and also to educate participants (especially the next generation) in the domain of Gaming & Simulation. We valued the ISAGA Conferences, however conferences were traditionally mainly focusing on scientific papers and some workshops with game play.  We were convinced that we must find a way to let participants experience also the core process of game design and game facilitation.

When we established the Summerschool ISAGA itself had not yet a legal registered office. Therefore we use until 2013 SAGSAGA (Swiss Austrian German Simulation and Gaming Association) for legal reasons and to handle registration and financial processes. SAGSAGA treasurers keep until 2013 the balances and make necessary transactions and tax procedures.

We registered und use the domain: The webpage is hosted on the SAGSAGA server. Webservice and costs for the domain are being paid until 2013 by Willy Kriz.

We founded ISAGA Summerschool as a non-profit activity. To keep participation fees as low as possible (and often waiving fees for some participants from developing nations) directors and teachers always contributed their time and efforts free of charge. Although we never paid any salary to directors and teachers we tried to fund their travel and accommodation cost. Often even those costs were partially covered by directors and teachers themselves because the income from the fees was not enough to cover all costs. Sometimes we were able to receive some sponsorship funds. From 2007 also ISAGA decided to give a grant up to 500 Euro per year if needed to balance the budget.  This opportunity was used twice.

In the first four years (2004-2007) we acted also as local organizer/hosts at our own universities. Later we received support from other local organizers/hosts. Also local organizers contributed their work without being paid for it.

We deeply appreciate the great support and engagement from teachers and local organizes. Without their expertise, wisdom, and generous commitment the ISAGA summerschool would not have been possible.

OFFICINA” – concept and philosophy of the ISAGA Summerschool

When we thought to establish an ISAGA Summerschool suddenly the metaphor of the renaissance “officina” came to our mind. Officina was a place where masters and students could exchange experience, share knowledge and embark on their own voyage of discovery. It was a place where apprentices were the active element of the evolution of their knowledge; a place where it was possible to find co-teaching and co-learning at the same time. It was such a place like officina which brought about innovation and diffusion of knowledge. Our aim is to bring together “masters” from different areas of GS, as well as students and professionals who want to use GS in a place where each master could transmit visions of the theoretical founds of GS to the learners, and guide students through the learning experience. The intention to train participants within a leaning community defined our main purpose: to educate in a non-profit activity about design, facilitation and debriefing of games under perspectives of science, art and craft.

Students, Teachers and local hosts/organizers of ISAGA Summerschool

From 2004 to 2012 ISAGA Summerschool was held 9 times. We had about 260 students from 21 nations participating and contributing to a fruitful event; participants came from Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Suriname, Switzerland, Thailand, Russia, United Kingdom, United States of America.

We feel happy about the fact that participants often came in contact with ISAGA for the first time though attending the school. Some of them are now actively serving in different functions in ISAGA and have organized conferences, hosted Summerschools etc. In this way we were successful in bringing at least some next generation of professionals into ISAGA and into Gaming.

Past and present teachers form an advisory committee of the Summerschool, they are (stating also the number of times they were teachers):

Dr. Tanja Congiu, Italy (1)

Prof. Dr. Dick Duke, USA (1)

Prof. Dr. Hideiko Kanegae, Japan (2)

Prof. Dr. Dmitri Kavtaradze, Russia (1)

Prof. Dr. Jan Klabbers, The Netherlands (5)

Prof. Dr. Elyssebeth Leigh, Australia (8)

Ivar Männamaa, Estonia (1)

Prof. Dr. Dennis Meadows, USA (1)

Prof. Mieko Nakamura, Japan (2)

Dr. Vincent Peters, The Netherlands (1)

Prof. Dr. Richard Powers, USA (1)

Prof. Dr. Dick Teach, USA (8)

Prof. Joan Teach, USA (6), local host

Dr. Markus Ulrich, Switzerland (2)

Pieter van der Hijden MSc., The Netherlands (2)

Anne Villems MSc., Estonia (2)

Prof. Dr. Ivo Wenzler, The Netherlands (1)

Joanna Wosniackiewicz, Poland (1)

Venues, local hosts/organizers and main themes of ISAGA Summerschool


LMU Ludwig Maximilians University, Department of Psychology, Munich, Germany; Willy Kriz; Theme: „The Art and Science of Gaming and Simulation Design“.


Uniwersytet Jagiellonski, Center of European Studies, Krakow, Poland; Paola Rizzi; Theme: „Faciliation and Debriefing of Gaming and Simulation“.


University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg, Dornbirn, Austria; Willy Kriz; Theme: „The Art and Science of Gaming and Simulation Design


University Venezia IUAV, Faculty of Urban Planning, Venezia, Italy; Paola Rizzi; Theme: „Design of Gaming and Simulation for Urban Management and Urban Planning


IILM University – Institute for Integrated Learning in Management, Delhi, Gurgaon Campus, India; Kailash Tuli; Theme: „Design and Facilitation of Gaming and Simulation for Business and Management


University Babes-Bolyai, Faculty of Psychology and education Sciences, Cluj-Napoca, Romania; Catalina and George Otoiu; Theme: „Design and Facilitation of Gaming and Simulation for Education & Training


FHR Lim A Po Institute for Social Studies, Paramaribo, Suriname; Pieter van der Hijden; Theme: „Designing Policy Exercises, Business Simulations and Experiential Learning Games“


Vilijandi Culture Academy, University of Tartu, Estonia; Anzori Barkalaja & Margot Must; Theme: „Designing Simulation Games for Education and Training“


Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USA; Dick and Joan Teach; Theme: „Designing Simulation Games for Sustainability“


Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, Japan; Hideiko Kanegae; Theme:Gaming Simulation on Disaster Mitigation