China to Leeds – This week at the BGI

Ningbo-Nottingham Cultural and Creative Industries Forum

A lot has happened at the BGI over the last couple of weeks! With an exciting announcement, a trip to China and a top secret project in the works, things have been moving fast. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

The New Advisory Board

We were delighted to announce our expanded board of advisors. We’re excited to have such a diverse range of stakeholders from across the sector involved and now we’re calling on people to put themselves forward to join steering groups for the BGI’s programmes. Find out more and see the full release here if you missed it.

An image of the BGI Board

Ahead of Friday’s board meeting, BGI CEO Rick Gibson was optimistic:

“The Board has some big strategic decisions to make today. Depending how they vote, we will be making several big announcements to make over the coming few weeks that put some stakes in the ground for the BGI, our planned merger with the National Videogame Arcade and what we are already delivering together.”

Ningbo-Nottingham Cultural and Creative Industries Forum

We visited Ningbo, China with BGI Culture Director Iain Simons attending the 2018 Ningbo-Nottingham Cultural and Creative Industries Forum. Nottingham and Ningbo have been sister cities since 2005, with the two cities collaborating in a range of fields over the past decade.

“We attended both the Creative Industries event and the Ningbo-Nottingham forum at the invitation of both Nottingham City Council and the Ningbo Cultural Exec, with a group of other Nottingham creative companies.

Having not spent a lot of time on China previously, the whole trip was a real education for me in terms of learning about videogame culture over there and, in particular, how games fit (and don’t) into broader society.
I think it’s fair to say that there’s a deep societal suspicion of games, particularly as a driver for addictive behaviour, which I hope our work did at least something to defuse.

I delivered a keynote at the forum, expanding on our work interpreting games for others and spent a lot of the rest of the week playing with families and Makey Makey’s on our stand.

For the BGI, learning about the nuances of how games culture operates in China was fascinating and eye-opening. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. “

Continue: Leeds

Soon after coming back from China, we traveled to Leeds Digital Festival for the first in a series of regional Continue events for 2018. Continue is an initiative driven by the BGI that connects ‘videogame’ and ‘culture’ people. It brings together those who commission work in cultural spaces with independent videogame developers interested in producing work for display.

Thanks to all our delegates and speakers on the day, who not only unveiled unexpected new uses for games in cultural settings, prompting plenty of grown-up discussions, but also shared their insights into how the Continue network can be shaped to inspire more innovative new projects.

If you’re interested in getting involved next time, keep your eyes on the BGI site and twitter. More Continue dates will be announced in other cities around the UK soon.

What’s next?

Rick has been so closed lipped about this that we can’t refer to it than anything other than “The Top Secret Bid”What we can tell you is that he’s been busy convening the bid team which includes one of the largest arts institutions in the UK and 2 leading universities, and has been meeting a range of giant technology and games companies. Here’s what Rick had to say:

“I can’t wait to unveil this project but must keep it under wraps as the proposition and partners comes together. I am delighted to welcome Jamie Macdonald as Programme Director for the project. Jamie founded SCEE’s London Studio, then ran all games development for SCE London and Cambridge studios as VP Worldwide Studios Europe. At Codemasters, he was responsible for all games development. More recently, Jamie’s developed a location-based mobile title as part of a major Innovate-funded project, a VR product and other apps, as well as mentoring multiple studios. He’s delivered multiple AAA Bafta-winning games and his depth of experience is a huge boost to the BGI’s bid.”

Thanks for reading and we’ll keep you updated on what happens next. If you are a member of the games sector who would like to have a hand in the BGI’s work, we’d love for you to register your interest in helping govern the BGI’s programmes. Click here to find out more.

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