Special guests


Every year we invite special guests to talk and present at The Smoke, and 2020 is no exception! We look for people who have interesting and valuable things to say about larp – and this year we are very grateful to the wonderful guests who will be joining us!

Laura Mitchell


(photo: Maria Tod Photography / Seriously Learned)

Laura Mitchell started LARPing at Lancaster University in 2002 and hasn’t stopped since. She is currently in role as a scholar and consultant.

She writes horror LARP and has been a member of one or another LARP organising team since 2005. She is currently writing LARP events for training purposes, and has published in scholarly journals about the organisation of LARP events.

Her current projects include Reality Checkpoint LRP’s Before the End, and the website UKLARP.org which offers a shared online space for reflection by all participants in UK larping activities. She hopes one day to run her full-scale Regency LARP events, but keeps getting distracted.

Laura will be giving a talk entitled ‘Rulebooks versus Design Documents: why game mechanics are important to player agency’. UK larps have in the past often relied on guidebooks or rulebooks to inform players how the game will be played, often with explicit rules or game mechanics. This talk will argue that these texts are not only about criteria for ‘winning or losing’ in conflict, but aim to ensure player consent and agency is preserved in the game, in order to establish a shared play culture that is both safe and fair.

Robin Tynan


(photo: Oliver Facey)

Robin Tynan (they/them) is the person behind Access:LARP, a site designed to make LARP more accessible for disabled people.

Robin has been LARPing for over 10 years and disabled for over 7 and has combined their experience to provide guides, videos and workshops helping LARP organisers to create more accessible games.

They also provide advice and guidance for disabled players, encouraging peer-to-peer support, to help people get the most out of games.

Unfortunately Robin was not able to attend The Smoke 2020.

Martine Svanevik


(photo: Andreas Bretteville)

Martine Svanevik is the CEO of Avalon Larp Studio. Her writing and design has featured in both computer games, museum exhibits and interactive experiences. She is interested in how larp allows you to experience the stories of others and gives you an opportunity to see the world from a different perspective. She has been playing and making larps since 1999.

Kat Jones


(photo: Kat Jones)

Kat Jones (she/they) is a queer Latina game designer, organizer, and scholar of Sociology; Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; and Game Design. Kat’s games tend to focus on identity, community, and playful social commentary. Their entry to the Queer Gaymes anthology, Glitter Pits, involves glitter, stickers, and setting oppressive beauty norms on fire.

Kat organizes live-action events in a variety of locations, including an academic conference on the Occult. She was on the organizing team for the US run of Just a Little Lovin’ in 2017. Who do you think you are?, their game about fame and identity (and the Spice Girls), received an honorable mention in the 2018 Golden Cobra Challenge.

Kat wasn’t able to attend the festival, but she sent a video of her talk, which we played to the audience. You can see it here: https://youtu.be/E6LpSVkfM1c and here is the accompanying PowerPoint: The-Smoke-Talk_silly-sensual-awkward