BGI launches Christmas appeal with new strategy

National Videogame Museum announces Christmas appeal with BGI’s new strategy to transform lives with games

Sheffield, 0900 23/11/21: The charity that runs the National Videogame Museum has launched a Christmas appeal to help families from deprived communities visit the museum, and announced its new strategy to promote the social impact of videogames.

The appeal, fronted by Claire Boissiere and Ian Livingstone CBE, aims to bring hundreds of children from the most deprived neighbourhoods of Sheffield and the surrounding region into the Museum. The appeal is raising funds to support the museum to give free visits for disadvantaged families to play games and learn how they’re made.

The charity’s new mission – transforming lives with games – reflects a raft of social programmes BGI has launched this year serving disadvantaged communities. They include Biome working with Sheffield’s refugee communities to create games art about their folklore; an online National Videogame Gallery to celebrate the art and animation of diverse games developers; an LGBTQ+ young producers club; a 2 year programme to train teachers from schools in deprived areas how to use games in the classroom; and a programme to train women and LGBTQ+ people of colour how to make games using Crayta. The National Videogame Museum is also part of this month’s BBC Children in Need campaign and is one of the co-founders of Games Careers Week, a public education campaign which encourages diverse candidates to consider games careers that reached nearly 40,000 people this year.

Claire Boissiere, the BGI’s Chair, said: “Videogames are performing a new role in society, giving skills, connections and enjoyment to people isolated and set back by the pandemic. The National Videogame Museum and our multi award winning programmes work with vulnerable communities to harness the unique power of videogames. We inspire, teach and open doors to new opportunities for everyone, no matter their background. Whether through play, community, learning, careers or games culture, our charity’s bold new mission is to transform lives with games.”

Rick Gibson, the charity’s CEO, said “During the pandemic, with amazing support from games companies, we refocused our programmes to help disadvantaged and under-represented people, working with the Arts Council, Children in Need, Esmee Fairbairn Trust, English Heritage and Ufi VocTech on multiple ambitious social programmes. The National Videogame Museum is the only UK museum dedicated to celebrating and interpreting videogames, investigating why they matter, and preserving our sector’s precious heritage for future generations. This Christmas we hope you will join our amazing games sector patrons to support our work with disadvantaged children.”

The NVM’s Christmas appeal can be found at

BGI announces new Creative Director


Sheffield 0900 22/11/2021: BGI announced the appointment of John O’Shea as its new Creative Director. John  will lead the Programming, Collections and Learning teams, overseeing the National Videogame Museum, the GameCity Festival and other BGI projects.

John was Associate Director (Creative) for Science Gallery London, King’s College London’s flagship public-facing facility connecting art, science and health to foster innovation in the heart of the city since September 2018. He worked with over 200 artists and researchers, on ambitious multi-arts programming spanning art, science, design, videogames and performance.

As Senior Exhibitions Manager at National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, John  spearheaded Supersenses, a major exhibition at the relaunched National Science and Media Museum, comprising a suite of artist-led interactive and immersive sensory experiences, each complemented by signature display objects from the Science Museum Group Collection. He also curated and produced the timely “hot-topic” exhibition, Fake News: What Lies Behind the Truth; having previously been at the National Football Museum in Manchester, where he curated Pitch to Pixel, a major exhibition looking at how videogames influence the world beyond the game.

The BGI educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of videogames through the National Videogame Museum and its Collection, its award-winning learning programme and its new Vocational programme which includes the Games Education Summit and Games Careers Week.

BGI CEO Rick Gibson said: “John has an outstanding track record in developing exhibitions and running multi-strand museum and learning programmes. He has a deep appreciation of the new role that the National Videogame Museum and our charity can play in the arts world and wider society. We hope he will challenge our young charity and help us deliver our ambitious programme.”

John O’Shea said: “The rapid evolution of videogaming (and associated technologies, such as computer graphics, the Internet, virtual reality, A.I. etc) has been astonishing: I feel, this is an exciting moment both to reflect on the importance of videogaming, and to explore the future of gaming, and its influence in the world.”

John will take up his position in January 2022.

The new Creative Director will build on the work of Iain Simons, co-founder of the National Videogame Arcade and GameCity, and the BGI’s previous Creative Director. Iain stepped down from the role in summer ‘21 to develop new projects, but will continue to be involved as the museum’s Curator at Large, advising the charity, sitting on the museum’s advisory board and contributing to curation.

Notes to Editors

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


If you would like to interview BGI staff, please contact Conor Clarke on or 07939 465667.

About the BGI

The BGI is a registered charity number 1183530 that educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of videogames. The BGI runs the National Videogame Museum, Pixelheads, Games Education Summit and is co-founder (alongside Into Games and Grads in Games) of Games Careers Week, a festival promoting games careers to diverse candidates that launched in 2021 and reached 37,000 people and partnered with over 120 games companies, universities, schools and non-profits. For more details about the BGI, please visit:

About the National Videogame Museum

The NVM celebrates and interrogates videogame culture and allows the public to play most of its exhibits, which include nearly 100 games consoles, arcade machines and other interactive experiences, including games designed exclusively for the Museum. The Museum holds one of the UK’s largest collections of 5,000 videogame objects including arcade machines, technology, game memorabilia and ephemera. Formerly the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham, the Museum has welcomed over 200,000 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:


BGI’s Curator at Large Iain Simons talks to Wireframe Magazine about videogame perservation


This piece is reproduced from Wireframe. Full article here.

Recently, Iain Simons spoke to Wireframe Magazine about The BGI and the National Videogame Museum’s efforts to preserve gaming history, via our Videogame Heritage Society.

Since 1662, a copy of every published book has been deposited at the British Library. It’s a legal requirement that preserves the works of authors for future generations, and Iain Simons would be happy if there were a similar system created for video games.

“There’s no systemic, structured way for games to be preserved – none at all,” laments the co-founder and creative director of the National Videogame Museum (NVM) in Sheffield. “Unlike books, there’s no legal deposit, so I could release a game today and no official structure would ever know about it.”

This isn’t a unique situation. There’s no legal requirement for movie-makers to deposit their films nor musicians to hand over a copy of their every composition. Still, many people interested in video games are still keen to retain as much of its past as possible. “This magazine will be lodged with the British Library and my words during this interview will probably survive longer than the things I’m talking about,” Simons continues. Yet rather than call for a single vault of software and hardware, he and others believe the answer may lie elsewhere.

Step forward, then, the Videogame Heritage Society, or VHS for short. Led by the NVM, it aims to bring together organisations and private collectors involved in preservation to discuss the best way forward.

“No one can collect everything,” says Simons. “It just doesn’t make sense for the NVM, or frankly any museum, to put its arms around huge amounts of items and put it all in one place. Today, there are towns and cities across the UK which have museums, exhibitions, and collections of their own heritage that plot individual local stories. So the answer perhaps lies in a national collection that’s shared across a bunch of institutions rather than one trying to get everything, and what we’re now starting to think about is how we might coordinate a distributed collection.”

Iain Simons, co-founder and creative director at the National Videogame Museum, worries that we’re still in danger of losing gaming’s link to the past.Iain Simons, co-founder and creative director at the National Videogame Museum, worries that we’re still in danger of losing gaming’s link to the past.

Manic rush

In many ways, this is a different approach from one Simons pursued in the past – primarily with the National Videogame Archive (NVA), which he helped spearhead in 2008…

Many thanks to Wireframe Magazine for featuring the Videogame Heritage Society in their November issue. Read the full article here.

BGI joins ScreenSkills to discuss games careers in Leamington Spa

Watch BGI CEO Rick Gibson and BGI Trustee Marcia Deakin from NextGen Skills Academy at a ScreenSkills masterclass in Leamington Spa. The session on Pathways into the Games industry: Jobs, skills and CVs included Kathleen Brice from Codemasters, Marcia Deakin from NextGen, Chris McCarthy from Third Kind Games and Chris Sayers from Mediatonic.  The panel shared their own career journeys and gave advice and tips on CV’s, approaching employers and what to put in a portfolio.

You can watch other sessions on games careers here.

BGI launches GameCity Adventures festival in Sheffield

GameCity Adventures is a free, outdoor pop-up Adventure Trail happening 23-24 October in Sheffield City Centre.

On Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th October, BGI is hosting a range of family-friendly games and activities in museums, public spaces, cafes and independent retailers across the City, including the BGI’s National Videogame Museum. The festival is an accessible experience for visitors to move through the City Centre discovering new experiences to play in different venues and locations. Players will collect a ‘play pack’ from a mix of outdoor central locations and indoor venues, which encourages them to visit and search specific areas and then play a variety of activities.

There will be over a dozen individual game sites, each with a different activity ranging from accessible analogue games, collection of clues to physical games. Some activities are self-led while others will be facilitated by volunteers or National Videogame Museum crew. Each play/visit earns a stamp which will be redeemable at the end for goods or discounts at the Museum and our partner venues.

In order to take part in the festival, players are asked to sign up on Eventbrite and access details on how to get started with the festival, including where they can pick up their free game map and play pack during the weekend.

This event is supported by the Sheffield City Council as a part of the Economy Recovery Fund.

BGI recruits for 3 new roles, including Creative Director of the National Videogame Museum

The charity is hiring 3 new roles

  • Creative Director, The NVM [NOW FILLED]
  • Vocational Learning Manager, The BGI [NOW FILLED]
  • Workshop Facilitator, Next Level Programme [NOW CLOSED]

BGI is hiring an experienced curator with a track record of delivering exhibitions with significant digital components to be its new Creative Director. They will drive the creative vision for the Curatorial, Collections and Learning Programme at the National Videogame Museum as well as other BGI projects and festivals. They will define the Museum’s exhibition programme, complete museum accreditation and report directly to the CEO.

BGI is also seeking an experienced training manager to become our new Vocational Learning Manager. In this exciting new part-time role reporting directly to the CEO you will be responsible for supporting and growing our vocational learning programme, with a focus on the Ufi-funded Next Level programme.

BGI wants to recruit an experienced games (or similar software) developer to facilitate a workshop programme for BAME females and non-binary people in Sheffield. The facilitator will help develop the programme in 2021, then deliver and evaluate a series of 36 workshops through 2022.

Information on how to apply and application deadlines for all three roles is available here.

Working at the BGI

We’re a growing, committed and diverse team working to create an innovative programme including our museum, multiple events and festivals, our award-winning learning programme and our new Vocational programme. We craft fun and educational experiences that change our different communities’ lives. We’re passionate about our art form but knowledge of videogames is not essential.  We’re committed to creating a diverse and flexible working environment. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, disability, gender or sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief. We can provide materials in alternate formats on request. Our offices are wheelchair accessible.





BGI wins Ufi VocTech Seed Fund grant to train women and non-binary people of colour how to make games

Sheffield 1400 11/08/2021: The BGI has won a grant from Ufi VocTech to train a cohort of young women and non-binary people from Sheffield’s minority ethnic communities in games development. BGI aims to build an inspirational course that starts participants on the pathway towards careers in creative industries such as games.

Ufi VocTech Trust is a UK charity working to scale up the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology. The grant was awarded from the Seed Fund for the BGI’s Next Level project, which will develop and pilot a women and non-binary-led course for young women and non-binary people introducing them to videogame creation and careers. Using accessible technology, participants will learn art and animation skills, narrative development, and basic coding.

BGI will use the Crayta platform, developed by Unit 2 Games using Unreal Engine. BGI chose this platform because of its accessibility to people with low or no foundation of games development skills, its ability to publish assets and games, and its mobile-friendly interfaces.

The charity, which runs the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield, will utilise the museum’s workshop, which usually hosts workshops from visiting schools, to run evening classes that provide learners from disadvantaged communities in Sheffield with technology and a safe place to learn.

BGI CEO Rick Gibson said “This grant is a key moment in our charity’s development. It crystallises our vision of videogames inspiring people to change their lives and it targets the members of our local community who have been most impacted by Covid-19. We will co-design the course with our participants, recruiting new staff to pilot the course, methodology and technology before we roll it out nationally. We are delighted to join the Seed Fund cohort and are already benefiting from the high levels of development support provided by Ufi.” 

Ufi VocTech Trust is the UK’s leading charity for championing the power of technology to improve skills for work. VocTech’s Seed Fund is focused on supporting the development and deployment of new digital solutions to developing vocational skills. Rebecca Garrod-Waters, Ufi CEO, commented: “I am really pleased we are able to offer this funding to organisations focussed on the UK adult vocational sector – this is a critical time for UK skills and it is vital that we develop the right approach to digital tech. At Ufi VocTech Trust we champion the power of technology to improve skills for work and deliver better outcomes for all. VocTech Seed is our innovation fund, where we support organisations who looking at the best ways to support learners and get better outcomes for all. I am delighted that we’ve made offers to 15 organisations with ambitious ideas using digital to transform vocational learning who will now be able to develop these ideas in the supportive funding environment that Ufi provides”.

BGI is hiring a new Vocational Learning Manager to run this project and help deliver with the wider Vocational Programme. Job details are available here.

BGI is also hiring a Workshop Facilitator to deliver the training. Job details are available here.

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

If you would like to interview BGI staff, please contact Conor Clarke on or 07939 465667.

About the BGI
The BGI is a registered charity number 1183530 that educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of videogames. The BGI runs the National Videogame Museum, Pixelheads, Games Education Summit and is co-founder (alongside Into Games and Grads in Games) of Games Careers Week, a festival promoting games careers to diverse candidates that launched in 2021 and reached 37,000 people and partnered with over 120 games companies, universities, schools and non-profits. For more details about the BGI, please visit:

National Videogame Museum wins UKRI/AHRC grant and announces community-led game making project with Biome Collective

Sheffield 1400 30/07/2021: The BGI has won a grant from Museums Association funded by UK Research and Innovation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with Biome Collective and under-represented groups in Sheffield to create a game about folklore.

The grant from the Digital Innovation and Engagement Fund was awarded to the charity for the National Videogame Museum’s new project: Playing with Power. The community-led project will work with Biome Collective as artist in residence and a group of 40 local co-producers to explore, document and share their experiences and feelings about identity and representation via a co-created videogame and videogame assets.

Playing with Power will explore what happens when you shine a light on the folktales from under-represented cultures within Sheffield and re-imagine them as a videogame. During the 12-month residency project, a group of local people will collaborate with Biome to co-create a body of work to be shared online. The resulting content will become part of the Museum’s permanent collection and the creative process documented online. The residency will engage audiences interactively throughout, integrating their responses to make this project part of the wider community both during and after its creation.

Veteran developer Malath Abbas from the Biome Collective said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Biome Collective to co-create videogames with diverse people from across Sheffield. We look forward to exploring the creative process behind videogames in accessible and fun interactive workshop sessions. By focusing on unrepresented voices we will unlock great potential and connect audiences to untold stories that will enrich their lives.”

NVM Programme Manager Claire Mead said “Playing with Power aims to harness the collaborative power of videogames using a community-led approach within the NVM. Working with Biome Collective and local Sheffield producers will provide new ways for the museum to support creative co-production within the museum and support local and UK-wide creatives. This project will empower new audiences to use videogames as a way to tell their own stories and have these stories collected and displayed both within the museum gallery and online.” 

The Digital Innovation and Engagement Fund aims to bring diverse, under-represented voices into museums and bring new perspectives and audiences into 14 museums across the UK. Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI, said: “Museums play a vital role in bringing communities together; they help us to understand our  past and imagine a better future. This investment will bring diverse, underrepresented voices into museums to share their  experiences, so that new audiences benefit from our outstanding museums and museums  benefit from different perspectives. Coming together as a society to learn and discover new things is a key part of our cultural lives,  and the recipients of this funding will help to facilitate this in novel and exciting ways.

Find more information on the Digital Innovation and Engagement fund here.

Continue reading “National Videogame Museum wins UKRI/AHRC grant and announces community-led game making project with Biome Collective”

World Builders: The BGI and National Videogame Museum working with University of Sheffield to develop the game designers of the future.

Ambitious new project supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

The World Builders project is part of the University’s Maker{Futures} programme, an ambitious scheme driven by the University’s School of Education and the Literacies Research Cluster. MakerFutures aims to promote maker education and develop digital literacies in schools, libraries and museums.

A consortium of Yorkshire schools, The School of Education and MakerFutures Project at The University of Sheffield and The National Videogame Museum have been awarded funding for a two-year action research programme, which will see children taking on the role of videogame designers and artists.

The project will be launched on the 20th July when the six schools will see the world premiere of a new animation created to introduce the key concepts of digital literacies.

Teachers in six Yorkshire schools will undertake professional development working with videogame designers to develop activities for their classes to try out.

The National Videogame Museum in Sheffield, run by the charity the BGI, will share their expertise in games based learning and their connections with local games development companies. Dr Becky Parry, University of Sheffield, said:
‘It’s an important opportunity to work with the National Videogame Museum because they share our own commitment to social justice. We all know there needs to be new voices and ideas in the videogames industry and this project will ensure children develop digital skills and story-telling aspirations to meet the challenges of the future.’

Rebecca Timperly, Headteacher from the lead school for the project, Northfield Junior School, said:
‘We want to ensure our staff, our children and our community are confident in using digital technologies to be creative rather than only consumers of videogames. This is an exciting opportunity to reimagine how we teach technology and the arts together – STEAM!’

Dr Alison Buxton, of the Maker{Futures} programme, said:
‘Our MakerFutures programme advocates the use of ‘maker-mindsets’ so that children gain confidence in bringing ideas to life with digital and physical tools. These skills will be key to future videogames designers but also to many other industry sectors.’

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation states that:
‘The purpose of the Teacher Development Fund is to support delivery of effective arts-based teaching and learning opportunities in the primary classroom, and to embed learning through the arts in the curriculum. It aims to do this through supporting teachers and school leaders to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, confidence and experience.’

Leah Dungay, Learning Officer at the National Videogame Museum, said:
‘The National Videogame Museum has long experience in combining videogames with learning to build valuable STEAM skills for young people and educators. We’re excited to be working with our partners, schools and organisations to work with teachers in the classroom, and build their confidence in engaging with digital technologies, videogames and the arts.’

Continue reading “World Builders: The BGI and National Videogame Museum working with University of Sheffield to develop the game designers of the future.”