MA New York University– Gallatin School of Individualized Study May 2018

Thesis: “Playing to Create Ourselves: Exploring Larp and Visual Autoethnographic Practice as a Tool of Self Liberation for Marginalized Identities”

Advisor: Stephen Duncombe

e. Frances White Award Recipient

BA Williams College, Fine Arts May 2007

Specialization: Fine Photography, Printmaking, Costumes as Liberatory Praxis, Theater

Awards and Recognition

Nebula Award for Best Game Writing– 2022 Thirsty Sword Lesbians

e. Frances White Award- Given by the faculty to a student whose scholarly or artistic work or practice has impact or significance beyond the academy, particularly in the areas of African History, African American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Feminist Studies.

Current Positions

Lead Game Designer –Player Programmed Partner Game for Low Resource Learners 2019-

-Lead Game Designer on a successful NSF funded project which engages in co-designed co-robotic games in OST (out of school time) spaces.

-Led and engaged in co-design sessions that resulted in 4 unique digital games, and 1 upcoming analog game

-Interpreted research data and integrated it into game design

-Liaised with new and current partners to expand reach of the program

-Wrote publications, design games-based research, and conducted games-based research

Freelance Game and Narrative Designer 2016-

-Nebula Award Winning Game Writer

-Interdisciplinary game designer specializing in transformational and embodied games, detailed world building, and interactive theater.

– Experienced and in demand speaker on the topics of embodied roleplaying, transformational games, horror, world building, and intersectionality.

-Experienced international game runner, with the ability to run concurrent storylines among an extensive player base

Selected Panels, Workshops

Keynotes and Invited Guest Speaking Engagements

Phipps Conservatory– Pittsburgh, PA

Invited Speaker, Panelist

A World to Play In: Games as a Transformational Tool to Engage in Our Environment

Solmukhota– Nordic Larp Design Conference

Keynote Speaker

Building on Our Own Ashes: Larp as a Decolonization Tool

Immersive Homecoming Design Summit

Invited Speaker

The Smoke Larp Festival– London, UK

In Defense of Larp Anarchy

Living Games Conference -Boston, MA

Keynote Speaker

Destroying the Mythical Norm: A Call for Intersectional Larp Design and Play

Invited Lectures, Seminars and Panels –

Play, Make, Learn- Madison, WI

Real Recognizes Real: Towards Eliminating Children’s Generative Barriers in Codesign

Big Bad Con-Oakland, CA

Immersive Implications– Panel

Intersection of Games and Education

Big Bad Con-Oakland, CA

Invited Guest/ Panelist

Playing Role-Playing Games with Children

Nordic Larp Talks-Malmö, Sweden

Invited Speaker

The Good, The Bad, and the Internalized


People We’ve Been and People We Are: Autoethnographic Techniques for Roleplayers and Larpers

Theater of the Oppressed Techniques for Liberative Steering in Larp

Beyond Make-believe: Larp in the Early Childhood Classroom

Playing for Keeps- Roleplaying and Transference

The Selves We’ve Been and the Selves We Can Become: Using Roleplaying as Liberation

Game Writing /Design

For a list of Games Work Please Contact Me for a full CV


Papers and Publications

Judith Odili Uchidiuno, Jaemarie Solyst, Jonaya Kemper, Erik Harpstead, Ross Higashi, and Jessica Hammer. 2021. Negotiating Systemic Racial and Gender Bias as a Minoritized Adult Design Researcher. In Extended Abstracts of the 2021 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY ’21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 203–208.

Kemper, Jonaya, et al. “Steering for Survival.” What Do We Do When We Play?, edited by Eleanor Saitta, Solmukohta, Helsinki, Finland, 2020, pp. 49–52.

Kemper, Jonaya. “Larping The Pain of Others: What The Quota Can Teach Us About Political Larp in the Face of Crisis.” The Book of The Quota, Avalon Larp Studios, London, 2019.

Kemper, Jonaya, Jones, Kat, Holkar, Mo. “Designing for Intersectional Identities.” Larp Design: Creating Role-Play Experiences, Bifrost, 2019, pp. 167–173.

Kemper, Jonaya. “A Seat at the Feasting Table: A Call for Inclusivity in International Larp.” SHUFFLING THE DECK: the Knutpunkt 2018 Printed Companion, edited by Johannes Axner and Annika Waern, Carnegie Mellon University ETC Press, 2018.

Kemper, Jonaya. “The Battle of Primrose Park: Playing for Emancipatory Bleed in Fortune & Felicity.” Nordic Larp, 21 June 2017, for-emancipatory-bleed-in-fortune-felicity/.


The One Shot Podcast

Visual Art

Gallatin Arts Festival- Eastwick Ummah