Tanwen Ward BSocSci(Hons), PhD Candidate (she/her)

Tanwen Ward BSocSci(Hons), PhD Candidate (she/her)

Qualitative critical autism researcher, Dungeon Mom and TRPG enthusiast

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About this Presenter

I am currently undertaking PhD research at the University of Otago, New Zealand, focusing on a qualitative exploration of the experiences of autistic adults who play tabletop role-playing games. I expect to complete my research and submit my thesis by March 2022.


I have been lucky enough to be involved with the autism community for most of my life, but began working with autistic people in 2018 where I developed and ran youth social support groups as well as providing one-to-one mentoring for autistic teenagers and young adults. Since then, I have travelled New Zealand providing professional development training on autism to people working in the health and disability field, and also got the amazing opportunity to develop a Dungeons & Dragons service for autistic teens. I have recently decided to take a break from practice to focus on my PhD research.


TRPG-wise, I have been playing TRPGs (starting with D&D5e) officially for the last six years after being a single-player cRPG fan for most of my life. I, like many others, fell in love with the medium and subsequently let it take over my life. Today, I am the Guildmaster for the Waikato Role-Playing Guild, an incorporated society that focuses on raising awareness of, and sharing the love for tabletop role-playing games in my community and I have discovered my true passion lies in GMing and meticulously world-building down to the minute details that my players will never ask about.

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