Recipients to develop Mobile Games Unit for Game Changer Chicago Design Lab

April 1, 2014

The Arts|Science Initiative has awarded the 2014 Faculty Collaboration Grant to Dr. Melissa Gilliam, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Pediatrics, and Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor, Department of English, to develop a new Mobile Games Unit for their Game Changer Chicago Design Lab (GCC). Co-founded in 2013 by Gilliam and Jagoda, GCC is an initiative in which youth collaborate with faculty and university students to create digital stories and games to explore health and social issues. GCC uses gameplay and game design to create youth-directed, problem-based, and collaborative learning opportunities and outcomes. GCC programs and workshops help youth hone skills in media literacy, critical inquiry, storytelling techniques and game design.

The funding provided by the Arts|Science Initiative will help launch GCC’s Mobile Games Unit. This specific game unit will draw upon new media aesthetics, emerging genres, and popular art forms to create mobile game applications for high school-aged youth that explore many of GCC’s central themes: health disparities, networks and disease spread, effectiveness of contraceptive methods, vaccine mechanisms, intimacy and interpersonal communication, and sexual decision-making. Development of applications will employ human centered design, which incorporates the end users of the game into the design process, and each game will focus on a single research question or gap in educational resources for the intended community. The Arts|Science Initiative will support Gilliam and Jagoda in the creation of one game ready for download, as well as prototypes for future game development, and the research and data collection that accompanies such work.

These grants aim to cultivate transdisciplinary research through collaborative projects involving faculty from the arts, social sciences, psychology, and the physical or biological sciences. The Initiative recognizes that breaking new ground and probing complex questions requires travel across disciplines and adventure into unfamiliar territories beyond or around academic conventions. its aim is to provide opportunities to deepen the collaborative exchange between artistic practices and scientific investigations and to provide an environment in which these explorations can thrive. The initiative’s priority is to fund faculty research that pursues fresh connections in research and teaching, that fosters the emergence of research which engages practices central to the arts, and that could lead to the development of new teaching environments and/or instructional resources.


For more information contact: Julie Marie Lemon,

Visit the Arts|Science Initiative website and the Game Changer Changer Chicago Design Lab website to learn more.

For more information contact: Julie Marie Lemon,


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