Sustaining intangible heritage through video game storytelling: the case of the Sami Game Jam

Outi Laiti, Sabine Harrer, Satu Uusiautti, Annakaisa Kultima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
375 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores how game jams, a rapid collaborative game production format, can work to support the revitalisation of Indigenous self-narratives in the context of Sámi culture. The study focuses on the Sami Game Jam, an event designed and carried out in the Northern Finish Sámi community in Utsjoki, in February 2018. Using an ethnographic method including participatory observation, video interviews with Sámi participants, and textual video game analysis, the study first discusses the event design, and how the creation of Sámi themes and priorities created constraints for game design. The variety of themes selected for the jam reflects the diversity of concerns present in contemporary Sámi society, and the need to reflect them in media. Secondly, we address the process of collaborative game development to explore current Sámi experience in a dialogic, open-ended way. Finally, we discuss the games created during the game jam, and how their design translate Sámi themes into playable artefacts. Based on the findings, we conclude how game jamming as a cultural practice can be appropriated for the purpose of sustaining intangible cultural heritage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2020
MoEC publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • game jam
  • Indigenous studies
  • intangible heritage
  • revitalisation
  • Sámi
  • videogames
  • Sami

Field of science

  • Other humanities
  • Visual arts and design
  • Media and communications
  • Computer and information sciences


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