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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 tools for interpretation. 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 resolve issues in modern museum interpretive techniques.

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



  • NTU Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference: 'Playing with Interpretation' Poster Presentation 2 Dec 2019
  • EmDoc 2019 'Playing with Interpretation: Videogames in the Museums and Heritage Sector' Poster Presentation 11 Sep 2019 (poster awarded highly commended in the best poster category)
  • 2nd Global Heritage Conference 'Playing with Interpretation: Videogames in the Museums and Heritage Sector' Poster Presentation 4 Jul 2019

Public Engagement & Impact

  • Six month research placement with the National Justice Museum (Jan-Jul 2021)
  • The Sum of its Parts
    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 10/07/19
  • Playing with Interpretation: The Videogame in the Museum and Heritage Sector
    NTU History and Heritage Research Seminar 20/03/19
  • 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:
  • 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:

  • 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:
  • 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

  • M4C Student Advisory Forum representative for NTU (2019/2020)
  • Lifting the Lid on the Creative and Cultural Industries (16/10/19)
  • Teacher Training at NTU (27/11/19 - 17/12/19)
  • Evaluation Training Day with Nottingham Castle for upcoming prototype testing (07/02/20)

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!