– Speakers –
We’re delighted to welcome over 30 fantastic speakers, including:
Alan is the Lecturer of Games Business and Production at Staffordshire University. Alan has worked in games for over 15 years in management, business development, publishing and strategy roles.
Head of Design, TT Games
An industry veteran designer with over 20 years at TT Games working with amazing people on games like LEGO Marvel, LEGO Batman, LEGO Harry Potter and many others.
Aurore studied at two Universities in the UK to achieve a DipHE and a BA in Computer Games.
Over the last 7 years at Unity, she has built her career from her role as a Community Manager developing relationships, strategies and communications for the millions of Unity’s users.
From building Unity’s first community team, Aurore led the Content Team as a Producer, developing demos and learning material.
Now as the Head of Learn Content Production, she leads the strategy for Unity’s free learning with a team of developers and instructional designers to produce learning material, games & examples.
Principal Academic in Games Technology, Bournemouth University
Dr Charlie Hargood is a Principal Academic in Creative Technology at BU specialising in narrative systems, hypertext, and games design.
Dr Christopher Lowthorpe
Project Manager/Lead Academic, Games Fusion Project
Associate Lecturer, BA Game Design
London College of Communication
A playful provocateur and award-winning educator, thinker and practitioner, Chris has over a decade of game education experience. He is co-author ofPunk Playthings: Provocations for 21st Century Gamemakers for Taylor Francis, and co-founder of PlayHaus, a strategic skunkworks for games education.
Christopher Dring is a business media veteran of more than 12 years. He
currently leads the global business website GamesIndustry.biz and
its associated events.
Declan Cassidy is the co-founder and CEO of Into Games, a non-profit
with a mission to make the games industry the most accessible technology sector in the UK.
Talent Manager and Legacy Project Lead, Creative Assembly
Next Gen Skills Employer Steering Group Member
From playground to industry, the Legacy Project, lead by Emma, is the studio’s commitment to educating, inspiring and supporting the games development talent of tomorrow and promoting games as a power for good.
Games Curriculum Leader, Confetti
Geoff has a Fine Art background and now works within creative digital education in Games Production and Games Art.
Dr Hatana El-Jarn
Dr Hatana El-Jarn is a lecturer & Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in Digital and Social Media at Leeds Trinity University, and programme leader for the Digital Media (Game Art and Design & Visual Effects) degree.
She has over 15 years of teaching experience in higher education; preceding this was an Art Director for one of the largest game fanzines in the UK, and still maintains her own design practice.
Her research interests are wide, based on an interdisciplinary approach including: aesthetics in user interface design (UX), computer mediated communication, and how us as a society as well as human beings are acknowledging social technologies. Her current projects include Virtual Reality and Learning, the Veiled Selfie and Bare Feet Pashtana; the realisation of non-fictional narratives as work of art from a cultural and global perspective.
Owner of Ardvark Swift and Founder of Grads in Games
As owner of Aardvark Swift & founder of Grads in Games Ian has an insight into the games industry from both a studio & an academic perspective.
Dr Jacob Habgood
Director of Education Partnerships, Sumo Group
Jake’s career straddles the games industry and education, having cut his cut his development teeth as a PlayStation programmer for Gremlin Interactive in the 90’s. He spent ten years in academia, and was Reader in Game Development at Sheffield Hallam University where he was the founder and director of The Steel Minions Game Studio. He has a PhD in the psychology of learning, having published a range of academic papers in the field of serious games and has written two hobbyist books on game programming. Jake is now back in the games industry applying his passion for the industry’s talent pipeline as Director of Education Partnerships for the Sumo Digital Group.
Junior Programmer at Sumo Digital
Jordan obtained an undergraduate degree in Computer Science at Coventry University and worked as a web developer before joining Sheffield Hallam University’s MSc Games Software Development course in 2017. His implemented his dissertation project on fluid-simulation for the PlayStation 4 in the Steel Minions game studio and he joined Sumo-Digital to work on an undisclosed AAA title in 2019.
Creative Industries Manager, AIM Qualifications and Assessment Group
Karen is a creative industries education specialist with extensive experience of curriculum and qualification design and development, teaching, learning, and assessment, Karen has a specialist interest in the games industry.
Global Talent Acquisition Manager, Sumo Group
Kieran leads Sumo Group’s recruiting teams who successfully recruited over 200 people through 2019, helping the Sumo Group grow to over 780 talented artists and developers. Prior to this, Kieran has lead recruitment teams across the globe for companies including Amazon and BP, he is so excited to have entered the gaming industry and is looking forward to continue sharing his experience with the Sumo Group.
Passionate about diversity and recruiting from a wide range of backgrounds, Kieran often works with locals schools and colleges to build cultures of aspiration in the classrooms and inspiring our next
generation of talent.
Larra is Dean of Screen at London College of Communication, University
of the Arts London. An award-winning filmmaker – cinematographer and
producer/ director for film and television.
Programmer at Sumo Digital
Lee graduated from Sheffield Hallam University’s MComp Games Software Development degree in 2012, having spent his final year as the gameplay programmer on a PSP title in the Steel Minions game studio. This game won him an internship at RockStar before taking a permanent role at Distinctive Developments in Sheffield. Lee came to Sumo’s Sheffield HQ four years ago and can already include Disney Infinity, Crackdown and Hitman on his CV!
Liz Prince is the Business Manager at award-winning recruitment
specialist Amiqus. She is also founder of G Into Gaming, an initiative
to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces in games.
Marie-Claire Isaaman is CEO of Women in Games (WIGJ) a not for profit working to address gender diversity and inclusion in the game industries. She engages with a wide range of businesses and organizations as a consultant and researcher. Women in Games was awarded the TIGA (UK Trade Body for Games Developers & Digital Publishers) Games Industry Diversity Award 2017 and as collaborators with London College of Communication, the TIGA University Initiative Award 2019 for the ‘Fusion Project’. As CEO she was presented with a Special Award at GameRome 2018 for diversity work in the sector. She is named in the GamesIndustry.Biz 100 most influential people in Video Games list 2019. Recently engaged as an ‘Industry Fellow’ for InGame part of the Creative Industries Cluster Programme, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council and UKRI. She is a Trustee for OCA [Open College of the Arts] – Orto Stella, [a Norfolk based Charity Empowering Women Lives After Domestic Abuse] and the BGI [Championing British Games Culture]
Educational Advisor to TIGA, game developer for 21 years (starting 1981), Mark set up and ran university games courses for 16 years (starting 2003), and has been an advisor to TIGA on education since 2007.
Matt Wilson has worked in education for 12 years teaching in primary, secondary and sixth form education. Matt is currently Course Leader for Game Design at Priestley College where he has created a successful Level 3 Internships into the Games Industry.
EMEA Education Partner Manager
Mark started his professional life as an architect in Ireland, in the last Millenium. His interest in art and technology led him on a winding career path.Returning to study animation, he moved to the UK to work with Codemasters games. A move to Australia led from a role as a Technical Art Manger with Transmission Games, then becoming a lecturer in Melbourne’s leading universities including RMIT, Kangan, NMT, and Victoria University. A meeting at GDC inspired him to become an industry trainer. In recent years he has contributed materials to Pixar’s RenderMan group and Pluralsight. He moved to Vancouver as a trainer with DNeg, on projects such as Bladerunner 2049. Then back to the UK for a similar role in ILM, on projects including Star Wars and Marvel Franchises. His Education Partner Manager role at Epic allows him to bring together his previous experience in empowering educators to prepare their students for the future of interactive media.
Dr Neil Dansey
Dr Neil Dansey is a Principal Lecturer in the School of Creative
Technologies, University of Portsmouth. His experience includes teaching
undergraduate games programming and running successful Game Jams at the
Resource Manager, Playground Games
Nick Duncombe heads the Recruitment function at Playground Games, a Microsoft first-party studio and one of the UK’s most pre-eminent AAA developers. Nick joined Playground in 2015 during the development of Forza Horizon 3 and has helped the studio grow to over 200 employees.
Nick Dixon is a games industry veteran with over 20 years’ experience in game design, writing, creative direction and pitching. Nick has 11 published games across 12 different platforms and has written the screenplay for four of those titles.
Nick has worked for Software Creations, Acclaim, Blitz Games Studios, Frontier and Supermassive Games and has created successful concepts for high profile franchises, including Star Wars, Stargate and Doctor Who and has worked with BBC Studios, Universal, Laika Studios, MGM and Warner Bros and these concepts have signed to generate over £30 million of development business for the studios that he has worked with. Nick was the Head of Falmouth’s Launchpad programme, an entrepreneurial incubation and acceleration programme funded by ERDF, Cornwall Council and Falmouth University to create high growth, high-value digital businesses in Cornwall.
Nick joins the Games Academy as Senior Lecturer in Game Development to align passion, experience, education and strategic vision to help students graduate to develop innovative, market-led games and interactive narratives that challenge audiences and create lasting, commercially successful experiences.
Dr Peter Howell
Senior Lecturer in Game Design, University of Portsmouth
I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Technologies at the University of Portsmouth, teaching physical and digital prototyping, as well as game studies and psychological theory for game design. Previously I have taught game design and development at both Further and Higher Education level.
Professor Sharon Tolani-Sage
Associate Professor and Women in Games Ambassador, Norwich University of the Arts
Sharon Tolaini-Sage specialises in lecturing on the cultural, contextual and storytelling aspects of digital games.
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) and the BGI itself, which won the support of over 560 orgainsations. Rick has long campaigned for government recognition of and support for the games industry.
Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Ukie
I joined the Ukie team as Head of Policy and Public Affairs in March 2017. Prior to this I spent twelve years in the UK Civil Service leading on Creative Industries and tech policy in the Cabinet Office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport where I was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Video Games Tax Relief and the NextGen skills report.
Senior Concept Artist at Rare Ltd.
Victoria graduated from Sheffield Hallam University’s MArt Game Design degree in 2014, having already been credited on two different published console games. She created the artwork for a PSP minis game in her very first year at university, and spent a placement year at Tick Tock games as the Lead Artist on SuperFrog HD for the PlayStation Vita. In 2015 she joined Rare’s Twycross studio working as a Concept Artist on the Sea of Thieves franchise, and is now a Senior Concept Artist on the recently announced Everwild project.