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Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of TampereFaculty of Communication Sciences
Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds Conference

Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds

Tampere, Finland, May 21st and 22nd 2013

University of Tampere, Linna and Pinni B buildings



This international and interdisciplinary conference discusses and tests narratological theories of world and mind construction in different media, ranging from literature to digital games, classroom interaction to corporate communication. The program consists of two keynote speakers, Marie-Laure Ryan and Jarmila Mildorf, as well as 42 presentations from Europe and the US.

The conference is free and open for all.

Keynote speakers

Marie-Laure Ryan (author of Possible Worlds, Artificial Intelligence and Narrative Theory [1991], Narrative as Virtual Reality [2001] and Avatars of Story [2006]; editor of Cyberspace Textuality [1999] and Narrative across Media [2004])

Jarmila Mildorf (author of Storying Domestic Violence [2007]; editor of Magic, Science, Technology, and Literature [2006] and Imaginary Dialogues in English [2011])



The postclassical turn in narratology has led to 1) a new emphasis on minds, both fictional and interpretative, and 2) the theoretical discovery of storyworlds. These ideas come together in cognitive-theoretically informed narratology, which is well on its way to getting to grips with the processes of immersion and readerly orientation within the storyworld, and also with perceptual positioning on the levels of storyworld, narration and the actual reading process. This conference discusses, applies and tests narratological theories of world and mind construction in different media, ranging from literature to digital games, classroom interaction and corporate communication.  

Bringing together research on different narrative and quasi-narrative media will reveal both the medium-specific and the transmedial dynamics between inner and outer worlds in narrative sense-making. For instance, the narratological notions of fictional mind construction have lately been informed by theories of spatial and temporal situatedness and its effect on the reading process. The situation of game players immersed in a virtual world involves both interesting similarities with as well as differences to more prototypically narrative environments, particularly in its prioritisation of navigation and problem-solving over empathetic identification. Furthermore, the use of shared storyworlds as foundations for transmedial franchises suggests that worlds may, indeed, be translatable.

This conference is inspired by interdisciplinary and transmedial studies of narrative as pursued by, among others, our keynote speakers Jarmila Mildorf and Marie-Laure Ryan. Conference topics include, but are not limited to

  • medial and intermedial construction of minds and worlds in literature and the everyday
  • adapting storyworlds from one medium to another
  • socially distributed minds in everyday conversation, narration and life stories
  • the role of fiction and narration in digital games
  • misreading virtual minds in fiction
  • fictional worlds in picture books and graphic novels
  • virtual worlds and fictional minds as tools for teaching
  • game worlds between real action and imaginary spaces
  • narrative and ludic agency in game playing
  • narrative, material and visual dimensions of organisational sense-making
  • “Theories of Mind” in different media
  • attributing minds and representing worlds in historical narratives
  • exceptional minds and bodies in fiction and the everyday
  • dream narratives as virtual worlds
  • narrative embodiment in illness narratives
  • the function of stories in marketing and brand development


The conference is organised by

Mari Hatavara, professor of Finnish literature at the University of Tampere School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies

Matti Hyvärinen, professor of Sociology at the University of Tampere School of Social Sciences and Humanities

Frans Mäyrä, professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media at the University of Tampere School of Information Sciences


Additional information
Conference secretary Iida Pöllänen,

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Last update: 15.5.2013 8.29 Muokkaa

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