UMF New Commons presents RPG cultural icon Dungeons & Dragons as next featured topic

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FARMINGTON, ME  (February 11, 2021)Dungeons & Dragons, a cultural icon of the role-playing game industry, is the next featured topic of the University of Maine at Farmington’s New Commons Project.

Dungeons and Dragons role playing game

First published in 1974, D&D was the first of its kind, and has remained the best-known, most successful and sometimes controversial fantasy RPG on the market. The game has been translated into many languages and in 2017 had 12-15 million players in North American alone.

Originally designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the game allows each player to design their own characters and embark upon an imaginary adventure where they interact with the setting’s inhabitants and each other. While it has been cited as encouraging socializing and teaching problem-solving skills, it has also received negative publicity for cultural insensitivity and the practice of magic.

The UMF New Commons events featuring Dungeons & Dragons are free and will run between Feb. 17 to March 5, 2021:


Due to Covid-19 precautions, the following Open to the Public events are all remote. RSVP forms or links to events are included in each event.

“What’s Your RPG Fantasy?: Let’s Talk Blackness, Politics, and Gaming
Online Video Keynote by Grace Gipson
“Black Lives Matter” is not just a phrase or way of thinking as it relates to police brutality and racist violence towards Black life, but also necessary in the fantasy and gaming realm. Much like any other art form or popular medium, the world of gaming and fantasy must be open to having a talk about its history of racial and cultural insensitivity, regardless of the pushback. Grace D. Gipson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Vir. As a Black future feminist/pop culture scholar, Dr. Gipson’s area of research interest centers on black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books, Afrofuturism, and race and new media.
Prerecorded Video available at Vimeo Link between Wednesday, Feb. 24 and March 3. Open to the Public.

Grace Gipson

Grace D. Gipson presents New Commons Project online video keynote,
“What’s Your RPG Fantasy?: Let’s Talk Blackness, Politics, and Gaming”

Online live discussion with Grace Gipson

Join Gipson for a live online discussion of blackness, politics, gaming and fantasy.
Wednesday, March 3, 7 p.m. Open to the Public, Zoom Link

Online D&D Campaign for Beginners with Ian Mooney
Fridays Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 5. 6-8 p.m., Open to the Public, RSVP FormZoom Link


Due to Covid-19 precautions, the following live events are open to a limited number of UMF Community Only members. Social distancing and mask-wearing are required. Those interested in attending must sign up using the corresponding RSVP form. See links below. Individuals who have registered for attendance can check-in at the registration table at event location the day of the event.

D&D Miniature Painting Workshop
Whether you are just curious about Dungeons and Dragons or a life-long expert, painting miniatures is an exciting way to get into the world-building phenomenon of fantasy roleplaying. In this painting workshop, Blair Fenning will guide you through the basics of painting minis, as well as advanced tips and tricks. Beginners and experienced players/painters are welcome to join. All materials will be provided free of cost.
Wednesday, Feb. 17, 5-8 p.m., Rm. 101, Roberts Learning Center, UMF Community Only RSVP Form

“The Monster at the End of This Talk”
Faculty Talk by Bryce Cundick with Introduction by Paul Riddell
Friday, Feb. 19, 11:45 a.m., Lincoln Auditorium, Roberts Learning Center. UMF Community Only. RSVP Form

In-Person D&D Campaign for Beginners with Miles Stevens
Saturdays, Feb. 20, Feb. 27 and March 6. 6 pm, The Landing, Olsen Student Center, UMF Community Only. RSVP Form

In-Person D&D Campaign for Experienced Players
with Paul Gies
Fridays, Feb. 19, Feb. 26 and March 5. 6-8 p.m. The Landing, Olsen Student Center, UMF Community Only.

The UMF New Commons program provides a rich offering of free events including expert talks, discussions, films and more, many online, for the education and enjoyment of people in Maine and beyond. Nominated by individuals throughout Maine, the selection of New Commons works have the common thread of representing many of the principles and cultural values that inspire and fascinate Maine residents.

The New Commons Project is a public humanities initiative of the University of Maine at Farmington, Maine’s public liberal arts college, in partnership with the Maine Humanities Council. It is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

To learn more about the New Commons Project, and to view many of the events for the first 12 topics, visit the website at:

More on University of Maine at Farmington

A nationally-recognized liberal arts college known for its commitment to student success, UMF provides a challenging yet supportive environment to prepare students for both careers and further study. Rooted in a tradition of teacher preparation, UMF offers top quality programs in the arts and sciences, teacher preparation, and pre-professional studies. Located in the heart of Maine’s four-season outdoor recreational region, UMF is a welcoming, close-knit academic community that prepares students for engaged citizenship, enriching professional careers and an enduring love of learning.

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Media Contact: Kristen Case, associate professor of English, 207-778-7239,

EDITOR’S NOTE: Link to image on WordPress:

EDITOR’S NOTE: Link to image on WordPress:
Photo Caption: Grace D. Gipson
Photo Credit: Submitted Image

April Mulherin
UMF Associate Director for Media Relations
office: 207-778-7081
cell: 207-491-0064

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