Associate Professor of Games and Learning
John Sharp is a designer, art historian, curator and educator with thirty years of involvement in the creation and study of art and design. John's current design work focuses on cultural games, artgames and non-digital games. His current research addresses game and play aesthetics, the processes of creativity, and the intersections of aesthetics and ethics. He is an associate professor at Parsons The New School for Design. Along with Colleen Macklin, John co-directs PETLab (Prototyping, Education and Technology Lab), a research group focused on games and their design as a form of social discourse.
His writing includes Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Games and Art (The MIT Press, 2015), Games, Design, and Play: A Detailed Approach to Iterative Game Design (co-author Colleen Macklin, Addison-Wesley, 2016), Fun, Taste, & Games: An Aesthetics for the Idle, Unproductive, and Otherwise Playful (co-author David Thomas, The MIT Press, March 2019), and Iterate: Ten Lessons on Design and Failure (co-author Colleen Macklin, The MIT Press, April 2019).
John is also a member of the game design collective Local No. 12 along with Colleen Macklin (Associate Professor, Design & Technology, Parsons School of Design at The New School) and Eric Zimmerman (Arts Professor, New York University Game Center), a company focused on finding play in cultural practices. Local No. 12’s games include Backchatter (2009-10), The Metagame (2011-15), and Losswords (2019).
John was the curator of "Spacewar!: Videogames Blast Off” (2012-13) and “A Whole Different Ball Game: Playing Through 60 Years of Sports Video Games” (2018-19, co-curator Jason Eppink) at the Museum of the Moving Image, co-curator of "XYZ: Alternative Voices in Game Design" (2013) at the Museum of Design-Atlanta, and co-curator of "The Art History of Games" (2010) at Kai Lin Gallery in Atlanta, GA.
PhD Art History, Indiana University (2005) MA Art History, Indiana University (1995) BA Art History, University of Georgia (1990)
Major Studio 2
Game Design as Play Design