Promoting inclusion and diversity in the games industry has been a guiding principle throughout Linn-Marie Edlund’s career. She has worked for an industry that welcomes women, new Swedes, and people with different disabilities, both in northern Sweden and nationally. Today, she is awarded the Elisabeth Tegner Scholarship of the year.
Linn-Marie is a gamer at heart and currently works at Amplifier Game Invest with investments in younger and more established game studios. She is also actively involved in the gaming industry in northern Sweden through the Nordsken game festival in Skellefteå, and previously also as a project manager at Arctic Game. Inclusion and diversity are themes that permeate all the projects she is involved in, also making her a Women in Games ambassador.
“Today, the games industry is one of Sweden’s largest exports, so the industry bears a great responsibility,” says Linn-Marie Edlund.
“It is important that we work sustainably and dare to ask the difficult questions to achieve change. The industry is young but, on the rise, which gives us the opportunity to create something good together now.”
During her upbringing, games and technology were always present at home. She grew up with five siblings in Luleå / Boden, all of whom shared the family’s great interest in games and popular culture.
Linn-Marie became a gamer and competed in CS in the early 2000s. It was then that she realized how exclusive the gaming world was for women and girls. She later experienced the same exclusion within the gaming industry when she started working.
“The gaming industry has historically been built by men, so not many women have felt an urge to seek out this industry. Diversity is always important, regardless of which part of society we are talking about. It is important to create and show the real world, not least for game studios that reach out globally with their games.”
Since 2016, Linn-Marie has been active on the board and has served as project manager for the Nordsken game festival. Nordsken began in a basement in Skellefteå but has since grown into a popular festival where gaming culture is at the center.
“With Nordsken, we want to create a meeting place where gaming has as low thresholds as possible and where everyone can participate and show what they have created – regardless of who you are and where you come from. It should be an experience for all visitors and a natural forum for studios and players to meet. Inclusion and diversity have always been an important value.”
Linn-Marie’s responsibility at the festival has been to work with horizontal recruitment – with a focus on how the gaming industry can be broadened through representation. She describes it as a good platform to start working from, where both her experience as a player and as a woman played a role.
Linn-Marie has always had an interest in promoting the gaming industry in northern Sweden. Even today, when she works for Amplifier Game Invest whose headquarters are in Stockholm, she chooses to maintain her base in Västerbotten.
“There is so much talent up here. For me, if we talk about culture in the industry, we are really a united Norrland, in a magical way. People have started to seek out this place from different parts of the world. And then we create a meeting place that welcomes everyone, from students to smaller and larger studios, women and new Swedes.”
At Amplifier Game Invest, where Linn-Marie has been working since 2020, there is a clear diversity and inclusion perspective, which comes from both Amplifier and the larger umbrella of belonging to the Embracer group. Contributing to an inclusive mindset is an important part of the work approach.
“At Amplifier, we are very invested in our studios, not just in terms of money but also in how they work. It’s cool to work with investments where we meet many young studios, and I’m often pleasantly surprised by how they work very clearly with a sustainability mindset.”
However, Linn-Marie believes that the work on inclusion and diversity is something that we will never be done with. Everyone working in the gaming industry will actively need to work on the issue going forward. But she also sees that we are moving towards a better climate.
“I think we need to work harder with representation. We need to have more women and non-binary people in higher positions to make real change. It’s one thing to discuss representation of characters in a game, but it also needs to be reflected in what it looks like in game studios. It shouldn’t be a game about women created only by men,” says Linn-Marie and continues:
“As a studio, you can’t talk about being good at inclusion just because you have some female game developers. If you don’t also have them in leadership positions, then you’re not taking your own goal and responsibility seriously.”
Today, on International Women’s Day 2023, Linn-Marie is awarded the Elisabeth Tegner Scholarship. A scholarship established in 2017 by Changemaker Educations and Futuregames to highlight female role models in the tech and gaming world, with the ambition to inspire more women to choose a career in tech.
The jury agrees that Linn-Marie Edlund is a worthy recipient, with the motivation that she has long worked for a more inclusive industry in everything she has taken on, while contributing to a more vibrant gaming industry in northern Sweden. She is a true role model for female gamers as well as those who operate or aspire to join the industry, and also works towards sustainable investments with an inclusion mindset in her role at Amplifier Game Invest, which will impact tomorrow’s industry.
“I am so moved. Many thanks to the jury and to the person who nominated me. There are so many fantastic women to look up to in this industry, and it is very important that we support each other. I hope that through this award, I can continue to influence the industry, now with a little extra muscle, to try to make it a little better.”
The jury behind this year’s Elisabeth Tegner Scholarship consisted of Mehrnaz Amanat Bari at Frostbite, Susanne Fuglsang at AI Sweden, Anna Norrevik at DICE, Emelie Fågelstedt at Changemaker Educations, and Elisabeth Tegner, founder of Neohouse. The scholarship was handed out at Girls in Tech Nordics one year anniversary event as a NGO.
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