Einblick in die Welt einer Game Designerin – Interview mit Heather Kelley

by Kathrin, 9. January 2014, 1 comment

Heather Kelley ist Game Designerin, Digital Artist und Medienkuratorin. Sie ist Mitgründerin von Kokoromi, einem experimentellen Game Kollektiv und war im Herbst 2009 Artist in Residence im quartier21 in Wien, wo sie SUGAR, ein Cross Media Collaborative Event, kreierte. Weitere Infos zu ihrer Person lest ihr am besten direkt auf Ihrer Website nach.

Erst kürzlich wurde sie vom Inc. Magazin zu einer der einflussreichsten Frauen in der Gaming Branche gekürt; 2011 war sie in Fast Company‘s Liste der 30 einflussreichsten Frauen in der Tech Szene zu finden.

Mit uns hat sie über ihren Werdegang, die Gaming Szene und den besten Karrieretipp, den sie je bekommen hat, gesprochen.


Heather Kelley

Source: Wikipedia


Can you give us some insight into your job? What do you do? What do you enjoy about it? What are the challenges 

I’m a designer – of games, exhibitions, interaction, experiences, apps, words…I use different media based on the needs of a particular project.  My biggest challenge is self-marketing.  Every one of these design areas has its own professional groups and networks, and since I’m not a specialist in any one of them I have a hard time communicating what I do to potential collaborators and business partners.  Most of my work comes through personal recommendations or after people see particular projects I’ve done before.

Which experiences, workwise or personal, have influenced your career the most? 

Early on in my design career I was also a game producer.  I had leadership responsibility on my projects in addition to design responsibility, so I had to make sure the project stayed on schedule and on budget.   It wasn’t easy, but that experience has made me extremely sensitive to the financial and production realities of the projects I work on, including creative projects with my game collective Kokoromi, and my personal artwork.

 What was the best career advice you’ve ever received? 

My husband once gave me the advice “Reine Behauptung.”  The way that I interpret this advice is “fake it til you make it” – which does not mean that one should create something false.  It means that in the face of self-doubt (which is common for any new, risky, dangerous, or adventurous enterprise), you should nevertheless give out the impression of confidence in your creation.  Because if you don’t believe (or seem to believe) in your own work, why should anyone else?   Genuinely good artists are sometimes too humble about their own work, and while it may seem better to be humble in this way than be falsely proud, it’s not productive.  As long as the work itself is good, then downplaying it is simply the manifestation of your fear of rejection.

Have you ever felt an an advantage or disadvantage as a woman in your field? 

Having spent many years in games, it can be both a blessing and a curse to be a female creator.  You do get a bit of extra attention for simply being out of the ordinary, and that publicity doesn’t hurt.  But on the other hand, it would be preferable to be recognized not for your gender but for your work.  As much as I wish it were true, I don’t think there is such thing as a true meritocracy however.  The world’s perception of your work is always going to be filtered through the lens of culture.  And so it’s important to change that culture, to do everything in one’s power to realign perceptions.  To fight patriarchy, basically.

Thank you for your time!


Heather Kelley hat vor 2 Jahren auf der TedXVienna gesprochen. Ihr Talk mit dem Titel “Play Along – The public future of games” ist sehr zu empfehlen:

1 Kommentar

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