Dr Lawrence May

BA(Hons), PhD

Profile Image
Professional Teaching Fellow


I am a game studies, digital learning and digital cultures researcher and teacher. My research typically seeks to understand the relationships between players, stories and spaces within videogames and new media, and my teaching expertise encompasses digital games, media and communications theory and practice, and learning design.

Between 2017-2020, I led the Digital Learning Team, a team of creative Learning Designers driving the adoption of digital pedagogies in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. I have spent a number of years providing leadership, project management, pedagogical advice, technology implementation and professional development for projects that enhance teaching and learning with educational technologies. I have also designed and delivered curricula related to videogames, interactive narrative, critical media theory and creative software development.

Research | Current

My research interests, and the topics I am able to provide postgraduate co-supervision for, include:

  • Game studies
  • Narrative emergence
  • Player communities
  • New media narratology
  • Playful learning
  • Technology-enhanced learning spaces

PhD: Exquisite Corpses: Narrative Emergence in Multiplayer Zombie Video Games (awarded May 2018).
Placed on the Dean’s List in recognition of excellence achieved in a PhD at The University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Teaching | Current

In 2020 I am convening the special topic COMMS 206: Persuasion and Power. Previously, I have taught on the following courses at the University of Auckland:


Guest lecturer

Graduate teaching assistant

And outside the University, developed or delivered Bachelors level courses for animators and game developers related to interactive narrative, academic and professional practice, and critical contexts related to interactive media and games. I have also designed and managed the delivery of a diploma-to-degree bridging programme, and worked as part of a small degree development team to develop and take a Bachelor of Creative Software to approval.

Postgraduate supervision

As co-supervisor:

  • Farhat Jehan: Potential Effects of Mobile Jigsaw II Activities on Teamwork, Language Performance and Language Anxiety
    PhD (2019 - present)
    Primary supervisor: Mohamed Alansari
  • Kathryn Eltringham: Self-regulated Learning and Digital Technologies
    EdD (2019 - present)
    Primary supervisor: Dawn Garbett
  • Ben Hall: Potential Ludic Space and Experience in Videogames: a Spatiosonic Examination of Visible and Invisible Videogame Environments
    PhD (2020 - present)
    Primary supervisor: Allan Cameron
  • Jiansheng Cui: Using Mobile Technologies to Support Informal Learning: Theories, Adoption, and Perceived Learning Outcomes
    PhD (2019 - present)
    Primary supervisor: Cathy Gunn

Summer scholarships:

  • Maxwell Coombes: Future-focused Learning Spaces: Exploring Space, Technology and Pedagogy

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • May, L. (2019). Getting Hands-on with Virtual Spaces: An Approach to Students’ Unequal Prior Experiences of Digital Media. Films for the Feminist Classroom, 9 (1). Related URL.
  • McKissack, F., & May, L. (2019). Running With the Dead: Speedruns and Generative Rupture in Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. Games and Culture10.1177/1555412018821528
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46052
  • Mei, B., & May, L. T. (2018). Reflective renovation: Insights from a collaborative and active learning space project evaluation. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34 (6), 17-26. 10.14742/ajet.4476
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46080
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Bing Mei
  • May, L., & McKissack, F. (2017). Queering Stories and Selves: Gamer Poop and Subversive Narrative Emergence. Intensities: the journal of cult media (9), 1-17.
  • May, L. T. (2017). Exquisite corpses: Narrative emergence in multiplayer zombie video games The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/36871
  • May, L. T. (2017). Book Review: Zombies: A Cultural History. Cultural Sociology, 11 (1), 139-141. 10.1177/1749975516689520f
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33464

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 204
New Zealand

Social links