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School of Arts and Media

Juan Hiriart

Lecturer in Computer and Videogames


After my graduation as a designer in 1994, I worked in a broad range of creative industries, acquiring experience in illustration, animation, motion graphics, and interactive design. From 2000 to 2002 I worked as a Lead Multimedia Developer within the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, where I had the opportunity to work closely with one of the biggest Television broadcasters in Chile. In 2003, I directed a Centre of Research and Development of Learning Resources within the same institution, where I had the opportunity to lead a multidisciplinary team of educators, psychologists, and designers joining efforts to produce innovative learning materials for pre-scholar, primary and adult’s education. In 2008 I decided to specialise in Games design and development, doing a MSc in Creative Games at Salford University. Upon finishing this course, I worked for several years in the games industry, developing casual, mobile and serious games. In 2015, I came back to academia, lecturing in the School of Arts and Media at Salford University.


I have taught across a range of HE programmes in design, multimedia, and games development. Currently, my teaching concentrates in the BSc(Hons) Computer and Videogames programme, where I deliver courses on games design and production across all levels.

  • Design Theory Fundamentals (level 4, semester 1)
  • Design Practice Fundamentals (level 4, semester 2)
  • Game Design Planning (level 5, semester 1)
  • Game Design Prototyping (level 5, semester 2)
  • Creative Artefact Production Planning (level 6, semester 1)
  • Practice Based Dissertation (level 6, semester 2)

Research Interests

As a researcher, I am mostly interested in the potential and significance of games beyond their use as pure entertainment. My current Ph.D. research seeks to explore the suitability of games as a media form for the representation of historical knowledge and the ways in which ludic and virtual technologies can be used to foster its meaningful understanding both in formal and informal contexts.

Qualifications and Memberships


  • Ph.D. (c) in Games and Digital History. University of Salford, School of Arts and Media. Dissertation: Gaming the Past: Designing and Using Video Games as Historical Learning Contexts.
  • M.Sc. in Creative Games, University of Salford, School of Media, Art and Design (2008)
  • B.A. in Design, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, School of Art and Design (1994)

Other education

  • Doctoral Course. Historical Representation on Games. University of Gothenburg (2014)


  • Member: Games and Learning, an association for Learning Technologies Special Interest Group.


Conference papers and publications

  • Hiriart, Juan (2018). “Bringing Things to Life: Understanding Everyday Life Through the Procedural Representation of Material Culture in Historical ”, PLAY/PAUSE Symposium, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
  • Hiriart, Juan (2018). “The Game of Making an Archaeological Game: Proposing a Design Framework for Historical Game Design”, Computer Applications and Quantitive Methods in Archaeology (CAA) International Conference. Tübingen. Germany.
  • Hiriart, Juan (2017). “Designing and Using Digital Games as Historical Learning Contexts for Primary School Classrooms”. In Proceedings of Historia Ludens. A one day conference on history and gaming. University of Huddersfield. Huddersfield.
  • Hiriart, Juan (2017). “Playing with Taskscapes: Representing Medieval Life Through Video Games Technologies”. The Middle Ages in the Modern World Conference. Manchester.
  • Hiriart, Juan (2017). “Designing and Using Game Environments as Historical Learning Contexts”. Computer Applications and Quantitive Methods in Archaeology (CAA) International Conference. Atlanta.
  • Hiriart, Juan (2017). “Exploring, Living and Imagining the Past: Studying the Role of Spatial Representation in Game-based Historical Learning”. DIGRA UK Conference. Salford, UK.
  • Hiriart, Juan (2016). “Surviving the Middle Ages: Notes on Crafting Gameplay for a Digital Historical Game.” The SAA Archaeological Record. Vol 16, No. 5.
  • Hiriart, Juan (2016). “Can We Build It ?: Using Experimental Prototyping and Iterative Development for Historical Game Design.” In Proceedings of Playing with History 2016 DiGRA/FDG Workshop on Playing with History: Games, Antiquity and History. Dundee.