M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Amy Hondsmerk

Cultural and Museum Studies, Nottingham Trent University

Thesis title:

Engagement, Learning and Creative Interpretation: The Videogame in the Museum Sector

Working Title: Playing With Interpretation: The Videogame in the Museum and Heritage Sector

My thesis will critically examine the prospective role of videogames in the museum and heritage sector, focussing specifically on their potential as a medium for active and participatory interpretative practice. It will explore how videogames and museum interpretation interact with ideas of narrative/storytelling, emotion/affect, and persuasive/procedural rhetoric in order to study how videogame affordances might be able to respond to modern museum interpretive needs and innovate interpretative practice.

Research Aims:

In particular, the research will explore the following:

  • How is interpretation understood and variously undertaken within the museum and heritage sector?
  • What are the affordances of the videogame medium that could address issues in museum interpretation?
  • In which ways can videogames contribute to the museum and heritage sector’s development and design of digital tools for interpretation?

This thesis will argue:

  • That academic conceptualisations of interpretation within a museum context are limited, and that its ability to accommodate the increasing diversity of interpretative media and participatory practices is also limited.
  • That videogames and game studies has the potential to contribute significantly to a re-conceptualisation of contemporary interpretation practice.

Research Area

  • Cultural and Museum Studies
  • Heritage Management



  • All it Takes is Staff Time: A Lightning Round of Low-to-No Budget Projects - Panellist
    Museum Computer Network Conference 2021 (Upcoming - October/November 2021)
  • From Crosswords to Animal Crossing: Museum Interpretation and Digital Games During the Pandemic and Beyond
    MUŻE.X Shaping Museum Futures (Upcoming - October 2021)
  • Smocks and Simulators in Lockdown
    Midlands Network of Popular Culture Annual Forum (19/08/2021)
  • It's Super Effective! Crafting Interpretative Games for Museums
    M4C Research Festival (07-10/06/2021)
  • Videogames and Museums: Fields in Convergence
    Museums+Tech 2020, Breakout Room (9-10/12/2020)
  • Videogames: An Interpretative Tool for Museums
    Interactive Pasts Conference Online 2 (5-6/11/2020)
  • The Sum of its Parts - Twine Game and Poster
    M4C Research Festival (13-14/07/2020)
  • Playing with Interpretation: Videogames in the Museums and Heritage Sector
    NTU Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference, Poster Presentation (02/12/2019)
  • Playing with Interpretation: Videogames in the Museums and Heritage Sector
    EmDoc 2019, Poster Presentation awarded highly commended in the best poster category (11/09/2019)
  • Playing with Interpretation: Videogames in the Museums and Heritage Sector
    2nd Global Heritage Conference, Poster Presentation (04/07/2019)
Other Talks:
  • The Sum of its Parts
    Recorded talk for the NTU MA History course as part of a mini-module, 'Digital Humanities' (10/03/2021)
  • Videogames: An Interpretative Tool for Museums
    NTU Work in Progress Seminar Series (22/10/2020)
  • 'Nour is Busy': Procedural and Persuasive Rhetoric in Museum Interpretation
    NTU Work in Progress Seminar Series (01/07/2020)
  • Assassins Creed Origins: Discovery Tour
    DCRN Retreat 'Show and Tell' Session (10/07/2019)
  • Playing with Interpretation: The Videogame in the Museum and Heritage Sector
    NTU History and Heritage Research Seminar (20/03/2019)

Public Engagement & Impact

Placement with The National Justice Museum (Jan-Jul 2021)
  • Collaboratively designed a short videogame as part of the creative response to the museum's collection for the #NJMIngenuity project and accompanying exhibition planned for 2023!
  • Produced and ran training in the Twine software (in which the game was made) for museum staff to upskill and enable them to update / make their own games in future.
  • Working on a workshop combining elements of play / game mechanics with a physical activity for a 'Make It Yours' workshop in collaboration with the National Justice Museum, planned for September 2021.
  • Digital Participation and Interaction: Games and Play
    Guest speaker as part of the NTU MA Museum and Heritage Development module 'Interpretation 2: Contemporary Narratives' 17/02/2021
Other Engagement:
  • GLAMi Pool Juror for the MuseWeb 2021 Conference
  • Member of the organising team for the online M4C Research Festival 2020
  • Fieldwork with Nottingham Castle game projects (postponed due to COVID-19)

Conferences/Workshops Attended:

  • Interrogating Audiences by the Institute for Screen Industries Research, University of Nottingham (09/07/2021)
  • Midlands Network of Popular Culture Talk: 'Teachers as Game Designers... Seriously?' with Prof. Sylvester Arnab (16/02/2021)
  • Museums and Digital Culture after the Pandemic (11/12/2020)
  • Museums + Tech 2020: Museums in a Crisis (9-10/12/2020)
  • Interactive Pasts Conference Online 2 (5-6/11/2020)
  • Midlands Network of Popular Culture Inaugural Forum (13/08/2020)
  • M4C Research Festival 2020 (13-14/07/2020)
  • The Present and Future of Games and History (28/02/2020)
  • NTU History Postgraduate Conference (13/11/19)
  • DCRN Retreat 2019 (09-12/07/19) 
  • Museums Association: Museum Tech 2019 (27/06/19)
  • M4C Research Festival 2019 (23/05/19)
  • NTU Doctoral Students' Research Festival (29/03/19)
  • Engaging with Nottingham Castle Future: Virtual Platforms & Public Engagement with Nottingham Castle User Groups Workshop (13/02/19)
CDF Involvement:
  • Prince2 Project Management Training 2021 (co-applicant) - in progress
  • Connecting the Pipeline (co-applicant) - successful
  • Digital Culture 2020 Conference (co-applicant) - successful
  • DCRN Academic Retreat (co-applicant) - successful

Other Research Interests

  • Playful/informal learning
  • Creative practice as research
  • Videogames
  • Digital cultures


Professional Training and Development

  • AHRC/ESRC Careers Workshop: Beyond the PhD (18/06/2021)
  • 'Writing for a Public Audience' training by The Conversation (28/04/2021)
  • PGR Career Management for Researchers at NTU (8-29/03/2021)
  • M4C Student Advisory Forum representative for NTU (2019/2020)
  • Evaluation Training Day with Nottingham Castle for upcoming prototype testing (07/02/2020)
  • Teacher Training at NTU (27/11/19 - 17/12/2019)
  • Lifting the Lid on the Creative and Cultural Industries (16/10/2019)

The Sum of its Parts

A Twine game created to test out some of the priniciples for design emerging from my research. Presented at the M4C Research Festival 2020.

Play it on itch.io.

M4C Research Festival Poster.Screenshot 1.pngScreenshot 2.pngScreenshot 4.png

Screenshot 3.png

Misplaced - MA Twine Game

My MA research project game, based on Newstead Abbey.

Try it here!