Dr Lawrence May

BA(Hons), PhD


I am a game studies, digital learning and digital cultures researcher and teacher. My research typically seeks to understand the relationships between users, stories and spaces within videogames and new media. I am also interested in digital pedagogies, twenty-first century learning spaces and learning design. My teaching experience encompasses digital games, interactive narrative, media and communications theory and practice, and creative software development.

In my role as Curriculum Development Manager I provide curriculum development and digital learning leadership in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. Between 2017-2020, I led the Digital Learning Team, a team of creative Learning Designers driving the adoption of digital pedagogies. I have spent a number of years providing leadership, project management and pedagogical guidance for projects that enhance teaching and learning with educational technologies. 

Research | Current

My research interests include:

  • Game studies
  • New media narratology
  • Digital pedagogies
  • Learning design
  • Playful learning
  • Technology-enhanced learning spaces

Co-primary investigator: Effective transition to online learning - COVID-19, Universitas 21 Researcher Resilience Fund. Project team: University of Queensland (Project Lead), University of Edinburgh, University of Auckland, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, University of Johannesburg, University of Connecticut, Hong Kong University. 2020 – present

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

I have convened Special Topic: Persuasion and Power and Video Games: Theory and Culture at the University of Auckland, and guest lectured in a range of undergraduate and postgraduate media studies, communication and education papers.

Outside the University, I have developed and delivered Bachelors level courses for animators and game developers related to interactive narrative, academic and professional practice, and media theory. 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


  • 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
  • Matthew Allan: Game Over: Analysing Control in Dystopian and Apocalyptic Video Games (PhD, 2020 - present)
    Primary supervisor: Allan Cameron
  • Kathryn Eltringham: Self-regulated Learning and Digital Technologies (EdD, 2019 - present)
    ​Co-supervisor: Dawn Garbett
  • Cynthia Orr: Analysing the professional discourse of Secondary ITE English students (MEd, 2020 - present)
    Co-supervisor: Aaron Wilson
  • Chipo Fumhanda: A responsive digital game-based teaching heuristic (gamigitech) that enhances agentive-learning and fosters 21st- century competencies (EdD, 2020 - present)
    Co-supervisor: Stuart McNaughton


  • Farhat Jehan: Potential Effects of Mobile Jigsaw II Activities on Teamwork, Language Performance and Language Anxiety (PhD, 2019* - 2020)
    Co-supervisor: Mohamed Alansari
  • Jiansheng Cui: Using Mobile Technologies to Support Informal Learning: Theories, Adoption, and Perceived Learning Outcomes (PhD, 2019* - 2020)
    Primary supervisor: Cathy Gunn
  • Maxwell Coombes: Future-focused Learning Spaces: Exploring Space, Technology and Pedagogy
    (UoA Summer Scholarship, 2019-2020)

*        Inidicates date I began supervising.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • McKissack, F., & May, L. (2020). Running With the Dead: Speedruns and Generative Rupture in Left 4 Dead 1 and 2. Games and Culture, 15 (5), 544-564. 10.1177/1555412018821528
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/46052
  • May, L. (2020). 100-Yen Apocalypse: Sensorial Experiences of Zombie Play in Japanese Game Centers. Replaying Japan, 2, 83-93. 10.34382/00013365
  • 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.
  • 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
    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.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/35735
  • May, L. T. (2017). Exquisite corpses: Narrative emergence in multiplayer zombie video games The University of Auckland. ResearchSpace@Auckland.

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 2, Room 204
New Zealand

Social links