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Game On: Concordia professor Jonathan Lessard is the new Behaviour Interactive Research Chair in Game Design

The position will advance scholarly innovation and facilitate industry-academia exchange
February 8, 2024
Profile of a young man standing on an outdoor patio, with long, dark blond hair, wearing dark-framed glasses and a burgundy sweater.
Jonathan Lessard: “This research chair will give us the means to take risks and explore new dimensions of what games can be, mean and do.”

Jonathan Lessard, associate professor and researcher in Concordia’s Department of Design and Computation Arts, has been appointed as the university’s inaugural Behaviour Interactive Research Chair in Game Design.

His appointment marks a significant stride in the university's commitment to advancing the highest-quality game and interactive design.

The role is made possible through substantial support from Behaviour Interactive, a key player in the global gaming industry.

“Our collaboration with Behaviour Interactive, a powerhouse in the gaming industry, strengthens Concordia's dedication and position as a global leader in art and design education,” says Annie Gérin, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts.

“Jonathan is a perfect fit to play this pivotal role in fostering the lively community of game developers in Montreal and propel our city's gaming ecosystem.”

Best known for the hugely popular multiplayer game Dead by Daylight, Behaviour Interactive is a giant in the gaming world. Co-founded by CEO and executive producer Rémi Racine, the studio also collaborates with prominent companies like Microsoft, Sony, EA, Warner, Netflix and Take-Two.

"We are confident Concordia's research chair in video game design will deliver the results we envisioned, namely empowering the next generation of video game designers and advancing Quebec's global reputation as a powerhouse of gaming talent," says Racine.

“We look forward to seeing how Jonathan interprets and delivers on the chair's exciting mandate.”

From indie game maker to the peak of gaming scholarship

Lessard brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Formerly a game designer and indie game maker, he holds a PhD in cinema studies from the Université de Montréal. Lessard's academic journey has given him a unique perspective on game design and history.

His leadership at LabLabLab, a research-creation lab delving into innovative game design, interactive storytelling and emergent narratives, positions him as a catalyst for the evolution of game-related scholarship.

As the chairholder, Lessard will offer supervision to graduate and undergraduate students involved in their research as coders and game-makers. In alignment with Concordia’s commitment to diversity, he will also be tasked with supporting scholarships to assist students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in game design.

“This research chair will give us the means to take risks and explore new dimensions of what games can be, mean and do,” notes Lessard, who will serve as chair until December 2027.

"Concordia represents a perfect ecosystem to host this chair, particularly thanks to the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) center, which, for more than a decade, has been supporting and encouraging bold research-creation in the field of games and emerging technologies", adds Lessard.

Alongside supervising research, Lessard will also contribute to building industry connections, enhancing the student experience, and actively engaging with the Montreal video game community. This involvement may include sharing best practices, organizing and promoting events, and facilitating meetups to foster idea exchange between academia and the industry.

Find out more about
Concordia’s Department of Design and Computation Arts and TAG.



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