Emergency Appeal: Save the National Videogame Museum

The BGI charity is launching an urgent appeal to the public to protect the future of the National Videogame Museum, following its closure last week to protect visitors and staff.

 

The National Videogame Museum is the only museum in the UK solely dedicated to the collection and preservation of videogame culture, and one of the world’s leading institutions in this field.

Operated by the BGI, the educational charity dedicated to educating the public about videogames, the NVM hosted over 40,000 visitors in 2019, including thousands of schoolchildren and scores of school visits. The Museum recently enjoyed its busiest week ever and had been planning an ambitious programme celebrating games studios and games culture in 2020/21, including Key Stage workshops, an international videogames preservation network and new exhibitions including Great British Studios.

Ian Livingstone CBE, Chair of the BGI and NVM founding patron, said “Coronavirus threatens the very existence of this unique place. The UK’s only museum dedicated to videogames is now under threat. As a new charity which uses videogames to inspire the next generation, we have no safety net to help the Museum weather the storm. We’ve had the support of some patrons and companies, without visitors the museum is in grave danger. If you care about videogames, please donate in any way you can”

Companies are urged to contact the charity to become permanent patrons of the Museum.

National Videogame Museum closes to protect visitors and staff 

Museum shuts temporarily as Coronavirus outbreak worsens

Sheffield 1200 16/03/2020: The BGI, which operates the National Videogame Museum, announced it was temporarily closing the Museum with immediate effect in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Ian Livingstone CBE, Chair of the BGI and NVM founder patron, said: “We are immensely proud to run one of the most interactive museums in the country and we take great care over hygiene standards, but we owe a duty of care to our visitors and staff during the current Coronavirus outbreak. Before the Museum records its first case, the charity’s trustees have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close the National Videogame Museum to protect our community and our people. The National Videogame Museum is now under threat. As a new charity, we have no safety net of public funding to support us through the Coronavirus outbreak. We call on the government to help support at-risk organisations like ours now.”

The National Videogame Museum hosted over 40,000 visitors including scores of schools in 2019. It runs exhibitions, events, workshops and other school sessions linked to the national curriculum. Its mission statement is to create unique playable exhibitions about videogames; inspire children about what games mean and how they are made; reveal career paths into the UK’s fastest growing creative industry; and encourage everyone, whatever their background, to play, understand and make games.

The BGI’s Director of Culture Iain Simons said “Our decision to suspend the Museum will protect our visitor community and our staff until it’s safe to reopen. This is a particularly difficult decision for us, coming just after a record half term with over 2,500 visitors in 10 days and before a full programme of events, workshops and new exhibitions rolling into the Summer”.

The NVM is the only museum in the UK solely dedicated to the collection and preservation of videogame culture and is one of the leading institutions in the world in this field. The charity is mostly funded by visitor ticket sales, with additional patronage from some games companies and individuals, and grants from private trusts and foundations. It currently receives no public funding for running the Museum.

“Like many independent museums, our funding has always been tight, so we are hugely grateful to those individuals, companies and trusts that have stepped up and supported us as we launched our Museum in Sheffield. Despite videogames being one of the most loved and consumed cultural forms in the world, public funding to support them is minimal. The BGI, an educational charity, is working to change that through the NVM and other programmes, but the risk with Coronavirus is that a whole class of cultural institutions like ours could disappear if funding is prioritised towards bigger, better known and already well-funded organisations.” said Rick Gibson, BGI CEO.

The charity announced the decision as other organisations voluntarily suspended public spaces. The charity hopes to raise sufficient funds to re-open after the Coronavirus has peaked later this year.

Notes to Editors
A press pack including images and video of the galleries is available here.

Interviews

If you would like to interview BGI trustees and staff, please contact Conor Clarke on conor@thenvm.org or 07939 465667.

Interviewees

Ian Livingstone CBE
Ian is one of the founding fathers of the UK games industry and has a long track record of working to support the growth of the sector. He co-founded iconic games company Games Workshop in 1975, and co-created the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks in 1982 which have sold over 17 million copies to date. He designed Eureka, the first computer game published by Domark in 1984, and joined the company in 1992 as a major investor and director, overseeing a merger that created Eidos plc in 1995, where he served as Executive Chairman until 2002. At Eidos he launched major franchises including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. He co-authored the Next Gen review in 2011 published by Nesta, recommending changes in ICT education policy to bring computer science into the national curriculum as an essential discipline. He is a serial angel investor in multiple UK games studios, chair of Playdemic and PlayMob, and Member of the Creative Industries Council and Creative Industries Federation. He was appointed OBE in 2006, and has also received a BAFTA Special Award, a British Inspiration Award, the Develop Legend Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Arts by Bournemouth University and an Honorary Doctorate of Technology by Abertay University, Dundee for his contribution to the UK computer and video games industry. He was appointed CBE in the 2013 New Year Honours list.

Iain Simons, Culture Director, the BGI
Iain co-founded the National Videogame Archive of the UK in 2008, directs the GameCity festival, which he founded in 2006, and founded the National Videogame Arcade which became the National Videogame Museum and moved to Sheffield in 2018. As well as developing curatorial and interpretive strategies for the BGI and the National Videogame Museum, he speaks about videogame culture internationally for a wide variety of audiences and has written for both the popular and academic press, as well as several books including Difficult Questions About Videogames (Suppose, 2004), Inside Game Design (Lawrence King, 2007) and a History of Videogames (Carlton, 2018) with Professor James Newman.

Rick Gibson, Founder and CEO, The BGI
A games strategist for 20 years, Rick founded 2 pan-industry campaigns: Games Up?, which successfully campaigned for the introduction of Video Games Tax Relief (VGTR), a relief that has paid out over £500m to UK games companies since it began in 2014; and for the foundation of the BGI itself, which won the support of over 560 games and cultural organisations and he founded in 2019.

 

About the National Videogame Museum
The NVM is run by the BGI, a registered charity number 1183530 that educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of videogames. The NVM celebrates videogame culture and allows the public to play most of its exhibits, which include games consoles, arcade machines and other interactive experiences, including games designed exclusively for the Museum. The Museum displays the UK’s only permanently accessible collection of over 100 videogames as well as a large collection of game memorabilia and ephemera. Formerly the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, the Museum has welcomed over 120,000 visitors, including hundreds of school visits, since it opened in 2016. The Museum presents a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions that are scheduled up to 2 years in advance, some of which tour the UK. For more details about the NVM, please visit: http://www.thenvm.org

Hutch Games become new patrons of the National Videogame Museum

The BGI is super excited to announce Hutch Games as the newest patrons of the National Videogame Museum. Hutch Games are one of the most innovative british game developers over the past decade, and have worked on mobile titles such as F1 Manager, Rebel Racing and Top Drives. 

Hutch Games join other patrons such as Andy Payne OBE, Carl Cavers, Ian Livingstone CBE and developers such as Sumo Digital, Rebellion and many more. Just last month, the NVM welcomed SuperSonic Software as new patrons to help the National Videogame Museum grow

The National Videogame Museum is a museum ran by the charity the BGI that is leading the preservation of British videogames history and culture. It recently celebrated its first event of 2020, with a February celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog. This event saw record numbers visit the museum, including over 350 students and schoolchildren engaging with educational activities such as workshops and training. Last year, the museum welcomed 40,000 visitors to its central Sheffield location.

The NVM recently launched the UK Collection, an initiative to preserve the heritage of British games studios. This was launched alongside Rebellion Developments, who will be the first studio to share their history in the Great British Studios exhibition in the Spring.

For more information, visit www.thenvm.org.

Games Education Summit moves to September

The BGI announced today that the GamesEd20 Summit is moving back to September 7th and 8th at the same venue in Sheffield Hallam University. The Coronavirus has impacted the availability of delegates and key contributors to attend in April, and therefore the charity and the Summit’s steering committee has taken the difficult decision to move the Summit to later in the year.

Tickets are still available at gamesed20.eventbrite.com/.

The BGI wins significant grant from Ian Livingstone Foundation to further Education Programmes

Sheffield, 06/03/20: The BGI has won a significant grant from the Ian Livingstone Foundation to augment its learning programme, which has been piloted in public and school workshops at the National Videogame Museum and in its Pixelheads clubs in Nottingham and Sheffield. 

The grant will be used to expand the charity’s Learning Programmes, assist in the creation of Key Stage workshops, and develop workshops for more visiting schools.

Ian Livingstone CBE said: “The Foundation is delighted to provide this grant towards the important work that the BGI is doing at the National Videogame Museum and further afield. The NVM is a unique asset not just for the UK games sector but for the country as a whole. We want to see the learning programme flourish and encourage the wider industry to assist with patronage and support.”

Vice-Chair of the BGI, Claire Boissiere, said “We are so grateful to the Livingstone Foundation for this generous grant, which will enable our Learning Programme to reach and educate thousands more young people. We’re finding new ways to help young people access the skills they need to thrive in this rapidly changing world. We’re opening new windows onto the artistic, design and technical skills used to make games, making these skills fun and easy for anyone to access.”

The BGI is a new educational charity that, alongside a number of training and research programmes, aims to teach young people STEM and Arts skills through our National Videogame Museum (NVM) in Sheffield. The BGI aims to use videogames as a way to unlock the creative computing potential of children across the UK. At the NVM, we create unique playable exhibitions for 40,000 annual visitors about videogames, inspire families and schoolchildren about what games mean and how they are made, reveal career paths into the UK’s fastest growing creative industry and encourage everyone, whatever their background, to play, understand and make games.

Later this year sees the BGI hold its annual Games Education Summit, which brings together leading games studios and universities to discuss the future of UK games education. Continue reading “The BGI wins significant grant from Ian Livingstone Foundation to further Education Programmes”

National Videogame Museum Launches Videogames Preservation Network

Before It’s Too Late: Saving Videogames.

National Videogame Museum Launches Videogames Preservation Network

 Sheffield, 25/02/2020: The National Videogame Museum is launching a new initiative today at BFI Southbank, leading a network of museums and independent collectors who are engaged in videogame preservation. The Videogame Heritage Society (VHS) includes the Science and Media Museum, Bath Spa University, British Library and Museum of London as well as many independent collectors. It will develop best practice and share knowledge across the museum sector and beyond about preserving and exhibiting videogames.

Ian Livingstone, chair of the BGI (the charity which governs the NVM) commented, “This group is for anyone who cares about or works in videogame preservation. We recognise that in the UK and around the world, the expertise in this field isn’t just locked inside museums and heritage institutions, but also inside a wide range of dedicated and passionate private collectors. The VHS will bring everyone together to preserve the important heritage of videogames in our country.”

The event today will also mark the launch of a new White Paper: ‘Time Extend’, on video game history, heritage and preservation. There will also be a special address from legendary Nintendo console designer Masayuki Uemura. The National Videogame Museum has worked closely alongside Uemura, who is a professor at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto and is giving a talk at the NVM on 26th February.

The NVM preserves the history of UK development through its UK Collection, a special collection within the Museum that focuses on the story of British videogames creation. This was recently launched with Rebellion, the first studio to formally collaborate with the NVM on the project.

Gina Jackson, Trustee for the BGI, said “In order to develop as an art form, to become more diverse and reflect all kinds of areas of our lives, and to build a cultural confidence that is sometimes absent, we need to be able to learn about videogames. In order to learn about them, we need to be able to access them and make sense of them. The work we’re doing at the NVM and BGI isn’t out of nostalgia. It’s out of a concern for the future. We want to be able to inspire and educate new kinds of game-makers to make new kinds of games.”

Notes to Editors

Interviews

If you would like to interview BGI trustees or NVM staff, please contact Conor Clarke on conor@thenvm.org or 0114 321 0299.

About the National Videogame Museum

The NVM is a museum in Sheffield run by the charity the BGI that educates the public on the art, science, history and technology of videogames. The NVM celebrates videogame culture and allows the public to play most of its exhibits, which include games consoles, arcade machines and other interactive experiences, including games designed exclusively for the Museum. The Museum displays the UK’s only permanently accessible collection of videogames as well as a large collection of game memorabilia and ephemera. Formerly the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, the Museum has welcomed over 140,000 visitors, including hundreds of school visits, since it opened in 2016. The Museum presents a mixture of permanent and temporary exhibitions, some of which tour the UK. For more details about the NVM, please visit: http://www.thenvm.org

SuperSonic Software Become Patrons of the National Videogame Museum

The BGI is thrilled to announce that SuperSonic Software have become the latest patron of the National Videogame Museum. SuperSonic are a longstanding British game developer based in Royal Leamington Spa, who have worked on high profile titles such as the Micro Machines series.

SuperSonic join other patrons such as Andy Payne OBE, Carl Cavers, Ian Livingstone CBE and developers such as Sumo Digital, Rebellion and many more.

The National Videogame Museum is a museum ran by the charity the BGI that is leading the preservation of British videogames history and culture. It recently celebrated its first event of 2020, with a February celebration of Sonic the Hedgehog. This event saw record numbers visit the museum, including over 350 students and schoolchildren engaging with educational activities such as workshops and training. Last year, the museum welcomed 40,000 visitors to its central Sheffield location.

The NVM recently launched the UK Collection, an initiative to preserve the heritage of British games studios. This was launched alongside Rebellion Developments, who will be the first studio to share their history in the Great British Studios exhibition in the Spring.

For more information, visit www.thenvm.org.

Games Education Summit returns in 2020

Sheffield, 12/12/2019: Ground-breaking conference bridging the gap between games educators and the games industry returns in April with an inspiring line-up to explore much-needed solutions to deep-rooted problems.

Influential games course leaders from further and higher education, leaders from prominent studios, recruiters and 3rd sector organisations and students will continue last year’s animated debate about how the games industry and games educators could collaborate. 

The Games Education Summit 20 is produced by the BGI, with a platinum sponsorship from Unity Technologies, and will be held at Sheffield Hallam University and the iconic National Videogame Museum in Sheffield from Thursday 16th to Friday 17th April 2020.

Innovative educators, studios and 3rd sector organisations will share how they are tackling deep-rooted challenges with employability, diversity, skills, apprenticeships and work placements within the industry. This year’s theme focuses on developing practical and actionable solutions to many of those challenges, and will showcase inspirational examples and innovative programmes from across the UK.

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

Workshops moderated by Dr Chris Lowthorpe from InGAME will allow delegates to share their ideas to solve endemic problems facing these two sectors. The Summit will also 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 Sheffield Hallam University, Unreal Engine, Aardvark Swift, Staffordshire University and AIM Awards. The Summit’s media partner is Gamesindustry.biz.

Tickets can be purchased here, and more information on the summit can be found here.

The Summit will feature talks and panels by over 30 speakers from InGAME, Staffordshire University, Aardvark Swift, Portsmouth University, Sumo Digital, Bournemouth University, Digital Schoolhouse, GameDragons, Birmingham City University, Ukie, the BGI, Leeds Trinity College, AIM, 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. This year, we’re focusing on solutions to those challenges. We’ll feature more interactive workshops and debates and will showcase innovative collaborations between studios and institutions”.

“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.” 

Dr Paul Parry, Subject Group Leader, Games and AI, Department of Computing, Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Sheffield Hallam University is delighted to sponsor and host GamesEd 2020. 2020’s summit themes of industry engagement and connectivity, equipping students with the right skills and promoting inclusivity are very much at the forefront of our thinking at Sheffield Hallam. GamesEd provides an exciting opportunity for educators and industry to join, share and discuss these and other critical and challenging issues.”

Continue reading “Games Education Summit returns in 2020”

BGI welcomes new trustees

The BGI is delighted to announce that we have appointed 4 new trustees, Helen Kennedy, Catriona Mary Wilson, Ben Pearce and Andy Payne, to assist with the governance and running of the charity. We are confident that these new fantastic personnel will continue to guide the BGI in achieving its mission of educating the public on the science, art, history and technology of videogames.

Please find profiles below with more information on our new trustees. You can also view profiles of the rest of our trustee board here.

Helen Kennedy

Profile picture of Helen KennedyHelen is Professor of Creative and Cultural Industries at Nottingham University. Helen’s career has been characterised by her passion for the integration of research, innovative curriculum development with collaborative and creative partnerships. She has an international reputation for her research and advocacy work in Game Studies and for her leadership in the development of the field.

Helen was co-organiser of the first UK International conference on games – Game Cultures – in 2001, and spent the following eight years inaugurating and developing the Play Research Group and the Digital Cultures Research Centre as key international nodes in the field of Game Studies. During this period she published widely and collaboratively with other members of this network and in the process established a distinctly British Game Studies approach to the examination of computer games, everyday technologies of play and the wider ludification of culture. Her current research interests are feminist interventions into games culture, experience design and cultural evaluation. She is a Principal Investigator on an international equity project aimed at the transformation of games culture and the games industry. Recently she has been awarded further significant UK Research Council funding to investigate new technologies and new creative practices in immersive experience design.

Catriona Mary Wilson

Profile picture of Mary Catriona WilsonCatriona Wilson has worked in the UK heritage sector for nearly 20 years in independent, local authority and university museums. She is currently Head of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology at UCL, having previously been Collections Manager and joint Heritage Manager at Guildford Heritage Service where she developed a keen interest in the preservation of Videogame heritage. Before that, Catriona established a new museum of medical history at the University of Worcester – The Infirmary. She has fundraised around £2m in project funding to date, which has created numerous permanent and project-based jobs and traineeships.

Catriona advocates for fairer and more ethical heritage jobs with the grassroots campaign Fair Museum Jobs, and is a committee member for the Society for Museum Archaeology. She has been mentor to numerous members of staff and volunteers, is a UCL Wellbeing Champion, and a Clore leader.

Ben Pearce

Profile picture of Ben PearceBen works with the charity’s Board of Trustees to lead on vision and strategy, developing new national partnerships, funding opportunities and initiatives to ensure ‘PiH’ continues to inspire better health and wellbeing through the visual arts. Ben was previously Project Director at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), developing and leading the Lottery-funded Reveal, Celebrate, Explore programme, and overseeing the first stage of the redevelopment of Burlington Gardens into a new centre for artistic learning. Prior to this, Ben led a London 2012 Olympic host-borough project (High Street 2012) in the East End, which included a historic building conservation scheme, and a heritage, culture and community grants programme. Ben is also a Trustee of GEM (the voice of heritage learning); a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Vice Chair of the Better Bankside Corporate Responsibility Group, which helps businesses across this part of London support local community, charity and cultural initiatives.

Andy Payne

Profile picture of Andy PayneAndy is an experienced video games entrepreneur of 33 years and has worked with many of the world’s top studios & publishers, running Mastertronic from 1988 – 2015. He chaired trade body Ukie from 2005-2015 and is still a board member. He is a board advisor at games developer Bossa Studios and a founder of games industry charity, GamesAid, where he is now a Patron, as well as working closely with BAFTA to develop their presence in games. Andy founded mobile & tablet specialist AppyNation and Gambitious, now renamed Good Shepherd, which is the world’s first equity based crowdfunding platform for games and movies. Andy was founder of simulation specialists Just Flight and a VP of games charity, Special Effect. Andy also sits on the Creative Industries Council, which reports directly to DCMS and BEIS, as well as being a founder of the UK Crowdfunding Association. Andy is chair of The British Esports Association and a board adviser to the world’s biggest esports company, ESL.

UKie backs BGI and NVM, calls for industry support

We are delighted to see Ukie’s announcement this morning that its board voted unanimously to support our charity and called for industry to help fund our programmes in games culture.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said: “Games have a cultural significance and the NVM has a role to play in preserving and presenting this to the public. Supporting it shows our long term commitment to celebrating our industry culture and we hope it goes from strength to strength”

Stuart Dinsey, Chair of the Ukie Board, said: “We encourage companies and individuals to visit Sheffield and support our industry’s heritage as patrons or sponsors. While we continue to fight for public funding for games culture through our Next Level manifesto, the sector can make a valuable contribution to preserving heritage in the coming years”

Claire Boissiere, Vice Chair of the BGI Trustees: “I’m super excited about the possibilities this deeper collaboration between Ukie and BGI opens up and I’m looking forward to working together on future initiatives.”