The Games Education Summit delivers again

GamesEd 20 ran last week as a virtual conference with 40 speakers covering a wide range of games education topics including the impact of Covid and Brexit. Industry leaders from Unity, Epic Games, Creative Assembly, Sumo Digital, Codemasters, Aardvark Swift and Playground Games joined courses leaders, Deans and Heads of School from Norwich University of the Arts, and Sheffield Hallam, Staffordshire, Bournemouth and Portsmouth Universities, amongst many others. Third sector trailblazers such as Ukie, Digital SchoolHouse, TIGA, Into Games, G into Gaming and Gayming Magazine were convened by the BGI for another exciting  conference, this time joined by a diverse group of students and interns who shared their experiences of their journeys towards games careers.

You can read coverage on the Summit on GamesIndustry.biz.

A Discord channel has been set up to maintain the conversation between this Covid-delayed Summit in September and the next Summit in the Spring of 2021. The channel is now open to anyone interested in the subject.

The sessions were recorded and are now available to watch for those unable to attend:

You can watch all the sessions on the BGI’s YouTube channel.

 

The National Videogame Museum to Reopen to Visitors

Saturday August 22nd will be the first day it’s been open since March 15th

Sheffield 19/08/2020: The National Videogame Museum (NVM) has announced that it will be reopening to the public on Saturday 22nd August, after adapting its gallery space and having staged a trial opening with an invited audience. The museum had previously closed on the 16th March 2020, ahead of the UK lockdown, to keep its visitors and community safe.

The Museum has developed many new safety procedures to keep the museum as safe as possible for visitors to explore and enjoy. This includes an increased cleaning regime, redesigned galleries to create safe social distancing, and a clear hand sanitising guide to enable visitors to fully enjoy the museum’s exhibits. A full breakdown of the new safety procedures that have been put in place can be found on their website.

Iain Simons, Director of Culture for the NVM, said “We’re tentatively excited to be welcoming our visitors back to this new NVM experience, which is possible thanks to the dedication and imagination of our amazing team. Our community of patrons and friends have kept us going through lockdown with extraordinary levels of support. Like everyone else, we’re only just discovering what post-lockdown operation will be, so whilst we’re nervously excited – we’re also delighted to be welcoming people back to the NVM.”

Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI, also, said “This has been an extraordinarily difficult time for our new charity. We have been buoyed by the support from the public and games companies but we are a long way from out of the woods. We really don’t know how our community will react or whether they will return. We are delighted to be able to reopen in this limited way to understand how we can operate in this radically different environment.

Since lockdown, the NVM also delivered a popular  online programme, that saw its learning activities made freely available for those at home. These accessible outreach activities made their programmes available to more people than ever, and are shortlisted for the Kids in Museum’s Family Friendly Museum Award from Home. The NVM recently relaunched an online Saturday club, Pixelheads, that is running throughout the Summer Holidays.

Notes to Editors

A press pack including images and video of the NVM is available here.

If you would like to arrange an interview with the team, please contact Conor using conor@thenvm.org.

The National Videogame Museum wins award to collect lockdown histories in new project, “The Animal Crossing Diaries”

The National Videogame Museum (NVM) has been awarded a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Museum Association to collect histories of those who have been playing and living with Nintendo’s hit videogame ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ during the lockdown period.

This new collection will focus on the cultural phenomenon that followed the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch in March 2020, just as the world was transformed by the pandemic. This videogame rapidly became an international sensation in which millions of players have been creating and managing their own tropical island along with a cast of talkative animal neighbours. The game became an important social and creative outlet for people unable to socialise in person during lockdown. 

This innovative online exhibition  will open up new ways of collecting, archiving and collecting videogame histories, and record for the first time a highly meaningful but ephemeral and intangible experience through the perspective of its players. 

Iain Simons, Director of Culture for the NVM, said “Animal Crossing is the perfect experience for a lockdown. The coincidental timing of its release provided a welcome relief for millions of people who wanted to go outdoors but couldn’t, who wanted to meet friends but weren’t allowed. It’s no surprise that this incredibly creative, social space became a safe haven for millions during this turbulent year. ”

“With the fantastic support of Esmee Fairbairn, we want to explore the different ways in which videogames touch our audience’s lives.”

Since lockdown in March 2020, the NVM launched a fundraising campaign to keep its Sheffield venue alive. Its lockdown activities have been well received, and its livestreamed training and web activities were shortlisted for the Kids in Museum’s Family Friendly Museum Award from Home. The NVM recently announced that it was relaunching its online Saturday club, Pixelheads, that is running throughout the Summer Holidays.

GamesEd20 Returns September 8th as Virtual Summit

Sheffield, 05/08/2020: GamesEd20, the ground-breaking conference returns on September 8th with a virtual format to tackle games education and recruitment during Covid and Brexit.

Influential games course leaders from further and higher education, leaders from prominent studios and technology companies, recruiters, 3rd sector organisations and students will start an emergency debate about how the games industry and games educators are tackling the significant threats, changes and opportunities of Covid-19 and Brexit.

You can sign up for discounted price tickets here.

The Games Education Summit 20 is produced by the BGI, with a platinum sponsorship from Unity Technologies, and will be held online using Zoom and Discord on 8th September 2020.

Innovative educators, studios and 3rd sector organisations will share how they are handling the pandemic, and will discuss from many angles how Covid-19 and Brexit could impact deep-rooted challenges with employability, diversity, skills, apprenticeships and work placements within the industry.

Keynotes will be delivered by Aurore Dimopoulos, Head of Learn Content Production at Unity Technologies Emma Smith from Creative Assembly and Mike Gamble from Epic Games. 

The Summit will spotlight students themselves, hearing from current and past students about how they bridged the gap between study and work.

Unity is the Platinum Sponsor of the Summit, which is also sponsored by Unreal Engine, Aardvark Swift, and AIM Awards. The Summit’s media partner is Gamesindustry.biz. Reduced price tickets at £30 can be purchased at http://thebgi.uk/gamesed20/.

The Summit will feature talks and panels by over 30 speakers from Staffordshire University, Aardvark Swift, Portsmouth University, Sumo Digital, Bournemouth University, Digital Schoolhouse, GameDragons, Birmingham City University, Ukie, Codemasters, the BGI, Leeds Trinity College, AIM, Rockstar, Rare, Priestley College, TT Games, NextGen Skills Academy, London College of Communications, Women in Games, Playground Games, TIGA and Falmouth University.

Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI, said: “Last year, the Summit brought together studios and educators for the first time to discuss some challenging subjects like diversity, internships, lack of industry engagement with education and quality of graduates in some cracking debates. Covid forced us to move and then redesign this year’s Summit, to focus on the key challenges of Covid and Brexit and the strategies innovative studios and institutions are employing”.

“With Unity’s roots in the gaming industry, it’s important for us to have a strong presence at events that bridge the gap between the gaming industry and education,” said Aurore Dimopoulos, Head of Learn Content Production at Unity Technologies. “Being the technology partner in the conversations between these two sectors is critical, given Unity’s ability to equip learners with the development tools necessary to advance their careers.”

Find more information on GamesEd20 here.

The National Videogame Museum shortlisted for Kids in Museums Award

Create Your Own Pixel Character livestream selected as one of UK’s best lockdown activities.

Sheffield 22/07/2020: The National Videogame Museum (NVM) has been shortlisted for the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award From Home, it was announced today.

Kids in Museums has run a prestigious annual award for the past 15 years, recognising the most family friendly heritage sites in the UK. This year, the charity asked families and museums to vote for what they thought was the best online activity for families during lockdown. A panel of museum experts whittled down over 400 nominations to a shortlist of 26 museums. 

The National Videogame Museum was recognised for its NVM At Home activities, which included livestreamed workshops such as ‘Create Your Own Pixel Art Character’. The activities are all still available to download on the NVM’s website, and are designed for kids aged 7 – 14. They were supported by live streamed tutorials, that have been watched by hundreds of young people.

The National Videogame Museum recently announced that it was launching an online Saturday club, Pixelheads, that will run throughout the Summer Holidays. It is hoped that hundreds more young people join the live streams, so that they can learn all about videogames.

Leah Dungay, Learning Officer at the NVM said “We are delighted to be recognised by Kids in Museums for our activities. We started our NVM At Home activities to give parents and kids a chance to learn skills around videogames whilst they were in lockdown. We’re glad our audiences have enjoyed them and we’re really excited for our online Pixelheads clubs this summer!”

The NVM is vying against four other museums in the Best Website Activity Category.

Over the summer holidays, family judges will try out all the activities and their feedback will decide a winner and highly commended award for each category. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

Follow the Family Friendly Museum Award From Home on Twitter by following @kidsinmuseums and #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.

The Family Friendly Museum Award From Home has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.

National Videogame Museum is recruiting a new Director of Visitor Experience

The BGI’s National Videogame Museum is looking for a Director of Visitor Experience to lead the Visitor Experience team, ensure a high quality visitor experience and support the charity’s strategic development. The new role will provide strong leadership in day-to-day operations and commercial development of the Museum, working alongside the Culture Director and the Curatorial team. This role will sit on the Exec Board of the charity, report directly to the CEO and attend trustee board meetings.

Read the full job description and application process here.

[Please note this recruitment process is now closed]

Paul Wedgwood joins stellar list of videogames leaders and companies helping the National Videogame Museum survive

We’re delighted to announce that Paul Wedgwood has become the latest patron of the National Videogame Museum.When making his donation, Paul wrote:

This is a great cultural cause – we’re way behind the film industry in this. The NVM deserves far more support from those of us that have done so well within the British games industry.

The trustees and staff send a massive thank you to Paul for his generosity.

National Videogame Museum wins Art Fund support to develop Videogame Heritage Society

Sheffield 1200 05/06/2020: The National Videogame Museum is proud to announce it has won support from Art Fund to support the development of its new subject specialist network – the Videogame Heritage Society.

The Videogame Heritage Society (VHS) launched in February 2020 at an event held at BFI Southbank. The society coordinates approaches to the challenges of collecting and preserving videogames, and brings together both leading institutions and private collectors to help share knowledge and develop best practice. The Art Fund support will directly enable the  creation of new ‘explainer’ resources, short-form pieces aimed at simply bringing the ideas and challenges of videogame collection to a broader audience. In addition to the explainers, the VHS will also launch a series of online seminars, leading to an international conference. 

The VHS has already drawn interest and membership from over 20 leading heritage institutions and museums such as Science Museum Group, British Library, Museum  of London, Centre for Computing History, Bath Spa University and, importantly, a host of independent collectors and specialists.  

Iain Simons, NVM said- “On behalf of our staff, trustees and partners, I’d like to thank Art Fund for this important grant that recognises the need for the UK’s first digital Subject Specialist Network. We have gathered an amazing group of institutions and individual collectors to share knowledge in a field  of great interest to the public, many institutions and collectors, but which has so far not won much art funding. It’s important to recognise the role of private collectors. So much specialist knowledge is held within the private, enthusiast community which reaches institutional collectors indirectly. The VHS is a really exciting opportunity for us to help build bridges and learn from each other, so we are delighted to win this funding”.

Industry steps up as National Videogame Museum fights for survival

Sheffield 1000 28/04/2020: After launching a fundraising campaign when lockdown began, games companies joined members of the public to help save the National Videogame Museum (NVM). The fundraising campaign is still open but this gives renewed hope that the museum can re-open beyond the global pandemic.

Rockstar Games, Boneloaf, Jagex, Fusebox, THQ Nordic/Embracer Group, Ukie, Sumo, Craig Fletcher, Kelly Sumner and Thumbfood and others have stepped in to help the charity outlast lockdown. The Museum is now safe until July, although it may face further challenges if it cannot re-open in the summer.

Ian Livingstone, Chair of the BGI: “We are so grateful to some of our finest games companies and industry leaders for helping us in our hour of need. With no end to the lockdown in sight and without significant public funding, every donation gets us closer to securing our future in these uncertain times”.

The BGI launched an emergency appeal to save its museum in Sheffield a week after closing to safeguard the public and their staff from Coronavirus in mid-March. The NVM was facing permanent closure following the complete loss of income from the visiting public. The BGI’s trustees decided to ask the public and the industry for help in an emergency appeal that has so far raised over £130,000. 

As the pandemic continues, and the museum anticipates further delays to reopening, the museum is continuing to fundraise while launching online services and workshops, such as its successful NVM At Home programme, which is teaching children the basics in videogame development and helping parents choose educational videogames.

Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games, said: “It’s so important that this unique and wonderful Museum, the only one in the UK dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse culture of videogames, should be able to continue to excite and educate visitors, whilst hopefully inspiring future generations of talented game makers.”

Boneloaf said: “Boneloaf backed the NVM’s JustGiving campaign to support the museum’s work: engaging new audiences with fun, playful, and informative content spanning the history and culture of arcade, Alt.Ctrl, computer and console games; game interfaces and hardware (and because we want to play more Vib Ribbon when we can visit the museum safely).”

Phil Mansell, Jagex CEO said: “For the past four years, the National Videogame Museum has been a living celebration of the UK’s videogame heritage and culture. Even through the current pandemic, when its doors are closed to the public, they’ve continued online engagement thanks to the Play The Museum at Home initiative which is great to see. However, we all want the museum’s doors to be open again – that’s why Jagex, as one of the UK’s longest-standing developers and publishers of living games, is very proud to support its fundraising and become patrons to ensure it can continue its important cultural and educational work.”

NVM launches livestreaming service for families during lockdown

Following the BGI trustees’ decision to temporarily close the National Videogame Museum to protect the public and staff from Coronavirus, the charity is launching a new series of livestreams and materials for families to access at home.

The NVM will begin livestreaming workshops and programmes on YouTube and Twitch in mid-April, bringing a range of the NVM’s popular workshops to the public, as well as a new range of magazine shows.

In a series of weekly livestreams, museum staff will start teaching families how to create art and games narratives using free software packages such as Piskel, Twine and Scratch. Staff will also review and play through educational games sites, conduct live discussions with games studios near Sheffield, and start sharing its expertise in videogame perservation and curation in a forthcoming series designed for museums and enthusiasts in its recent Videogame Heritage Society.

The charity’s initiative was triggered by thousands of requests for materials on its NVM at Home page, which it launched in March in response to its closure.