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.

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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.’

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Games Careers Week Reaches 37,000 people

June 8th 2021: The organisers of the inaugural Games Careers Week festival – the BGI, Into Games and Grads in Games – announced that 120 games studios, universities, non-profits, schools and grassroots organisations ran or supported 32 online events including conferences, talks and advice sessions.

37,000 parents, learners, teachers and job-seekers attended the online sessions. The festival had over 2.5m engagements on social media and over 50 publications, radio stations and sites with aggregate monthly audiences of over 75m covered the event.

The Games Careers Week festival is a free annual event to inspire people from every background to discover careers in the UK’s fastest growing creative industry – video games. Founded in December 2020 and launched in March 2021, the festival provides careers advice to people from all backgrounds, showcases the many inspirational schemes offered by the games sector year round and highlights key issues of education and diversity.

Games companies, educators and parents are invited to help shape GCW 2022 by attending a town hall event at 4pm on 8th July to:

  • Highlight successes from this year’s inaugural event
  • Get organisers ready to take part
  • Provide more information on how to get involved in 2022
  • Help spark ideas for what organisers might do during the week
  • Connect organisers to others looking to take part
  • Give organisers, educators and parents a say in how it runs

Sign up to the free Town Hall event here.

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Games Careers Week to inspire diverse young people, parents and teachers to discover careers in games

Pan-industry group invites industry to showcase career pathways with online events

 

14/01/2021: Games Careers Week is launching on 26 March 2021 with online events aimed at reaching millions of parents, learners, teachers and job-seekers. Existing events such as the Games Education Summit and Grads in Games Awards will be joined by many new online events such as Into Games Masterclasses, Microsoft’s DigiGirlz day, careers talks and other events from studios like Sumo Digital, Fabrik Games and Playground Games, events at universities like Staffordshire and Bournemouth, a new online careers fair, as well as an exhibition and career talks at the National Videogame Museum.

The new event was created by Into Games, Grads in Games and the BGI, with support from Ukie, NextGen Skills Academy, TIGA and Gamesindustry.biz. Organisers are issuing an open call to industry and academia for careers events from games and educational organisations across the country and will run a town hall meeting on 28 January to share more about the Week and how to join in.

Games Careers Week is designed to tackle two deep-rooted and related problems – workforce diversity and low public recognition of career opportunities in games. Although the games sector has made good progress towards diversifying its workforce in recent years, it is still much less diverse than either the population and the players. In part this is because most parents, young people and career-changers don’t know the UK supports over 25,000 well-paid, creative tech jobs in the rapidly growing games sector. These problems are particularly acute for diverse people and women, who can find starting, restarting or transferring into careers in games difficult.

The Week’s goal is to inspire schoolchildren to choose and study the creative tech skills needed to thrive in the modern world. Parents will be encouraged to challenge gender stereotypes and guide children towards well-paid creative careers. Educators will be guided towards existing resources, accessible games tools so they can teach more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) skills in classrooms. Job-seekers of all ages will find material to help them prepare to start, maintain and restart careers in games. Games studios will get resource packs to run events and work with schools and universities to share their career opportunities.

27 organisations are already involved but organisers hope that over 50 games organisations will  support events across the country and online during the week, with a website – gamescareersweek.org – signposting careers information provided by the organisers and many others during the week and year round. The campaign is being supported by media company Shift6 and is funded by the BGI, IntoGames and Grads in Games.

Claire Boissiere, Vice Chair of the BGI: “There’s such a rich diversity of games training and career programmes across the games industry, but it can be difficult for the public to find them. This Games Careers Week will convene, signpost and promote all those amazing programmes to young people, parents, educators and anyone thinking of a change in career, so they’re easier to find and more accessible to people from any background in the UK”.

Declan Cassidy, CEO of Into Games: “We want Games Careers Week to inspire, delight and surprise, but the event also carries an important and hopeful message that a rewarding job in games is possible no matter your background. A big part of this is providing support and guidance for teachers, careers advisors, and parents, and we hope that in 5-years time when mum and dads are asked what they want their kids to be when they grow up, they might just say, ‘doctor, scientist, lawyer….game developer!’ ” 

Andy Driver, Operations Manager of Grads in Games: “There are so many incredible people and organisations offering support when it comes to getting a job in the games industry and Games Careers Week is going to be a fantastic resource to get access to this. By collaborating together, it is the students, children, parents and job seekers who benefit the most and I hope we can inspire the next generation of game developers.

To get involved with Games Careers Week, register at gamescareersweek.org to receive information about the Week and the Town Hall Meeting.

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Jingle Jam 2020 goes live

The BGI is delighted and grateful to be supported by Jingle Jam 2020. The charity fundraising event is delivered by Yogscast, with support from Twitch and Tiltify.

The BGI is fundraising to train thousands of young people how to make videogames, with a special focus on disadvantaged schoolchildren worst affected by Coronavirus.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, all schoolchildren have fallen months behind in their studies, but children from the most deprived areas are now years behind.

With this funding we will inspire students to make games in our award-winning courses, rekindle their self-confidence and re-engage with their studies.

The Jingle Jam is a festive charity stream on Twitch, which can be watched here (parental advisory warning). Members of the Yogscast are streaming 12 hours a day every day from the 1st to the 14th December to raise funds for 12 charitable causes including the National Videogame Museum.

If you would like to donate to the Jingle Jam cause, please go to jinglejam.tiltify.com. Donating more than £25 will also see you receive a huge bundle of games, from developers such as Innersloth, Chucklefish and Jackbox games.

Since it started in 2011, Jingle Jam has raised an astounding $17.6 million for over 80 different charitable causes. We are so proud to be involved this year.

National Videogame Museum supported by Jingle Jam 2020

We are proud and excited to announce that the National Videogame Museum’s education programme has been chosen as one of the charities that Jingle Jam will support in 2020.

Spanning the two weeks from 1-14 December, this year’s Jingle Jam charity gaming event will see streamers across the globe raise funds for 12 non-profit causes via The Jingle Jam 2020 Games Bundle and other activities.

As of 3rd December 2020, JingleJam has already raised over £1,000,000.

Those who donate more than £25 will be eligible for a reward, which includes over 40 games, generously donated by developers such as Innersloth, Chucklefish and Jackbox games. You can find more information about the reward here: https://jinglejam.tiltify.com/

The charity is so grateful for this support and send a massive thank you to the team at Yogscast, Honest PR and all of the games companies that are getting involved.

We intend to focus any funds raised on our award-winning educational programmes, especially on those focused on helping disadvantaged children left behind during the pandemic to catch up with their studies.

Find out more about our educational programme here and Jingle Jam here.

 

National Videogame Museum wins lifesaving grant from Culture Recovery Fund

Grant helps the UK’s only museum dedicated to videogames to outlast next phase of pandemic

Sheffield 12/10/2020:  The BGI charity has won critical support from the Arts Council of England’s Culture Recovery Fund. The grant will ensure the National Videogame Museum can keep operating through these unprecedented times until the Spring.

The fund was created by the Arts Council of England following the Government’s pivotal decision to provide £1.57 billion towards the arts and cultural sectors. The National Videogame Museum sits alongside a wide range of arts venues, theatres, museums and cultural organisations which have received over £250m in funding.

Ian Livingstone CBE, Chair of the BGI, said: “We were delighted to hear this news and would like to express our sincere gratitude to Arts Council, DCMS and the Culture Secretary for supporting the cultural sector during its hour of need. The generous funding for the nation’s cultural organisations including the UK’s only museum dedicated to videogames is very much appreciated. It was a great relief to learn that our educational and cultural programmes will be able to continue in Sheffield for the foreseeable future. Our mission is to preserve, celebrate and promote videogames culture for years to come in this exceptional and unique museum”.

Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI, said: “This is a huge moment for our young charity. We’ve fought hard to keep going and have been astonished by the generosity of our community and the games industry in our darkest hours at the start of the first lockdown. As the second lockdown looms, our backs were against the wall so I want to thank the Arts Council and DCMS for this timely intervention. But most importantly I want to recognise our staff whose commitment, expertise and passion for our important art form has been recognised as culturally important on a national scale.”

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The National Videogame Museum wins Art Fund award to create the online National Videogame Gallery

The National Videogame Museum has received an Art Fund ‘Respond and Reimagine’ grant to launch The National Videogame Gallery, an online platform that will explore the visual arts in videogames.

Drawing on fine art practice both traditional and digital, the project will look at game art in new ways, illuminating its role in game development as more than simply a graphical asset. Conceptual artwork, character design and studies, illustration and of course animation – the visual arts within videogames encompasses a wide range of form and skills. 

Each exhibition in the new National Videogame Gallery will explore the process of a different type of artwork, creating a diverse collection that will cover a range of artistic processes. The project will also document the approaches and biographies of a diverse group of artists themselves. Who they are and how their work is created will be explored with full interviews, and newly commissioned writing from high profile players and critics. Over the next 12 months, these exhibitions will be hosted on the National Videogame Museum’s website: thenvm.org.

Art Fund’s Respond and Reimagine grants offer flexible and responsive funding designed to meet immediate challenges connected to the Covid-19 crisis and reimagine future ways of working. In the first round, 18 grants were given, from a total of 114 applications. Developed in consultation with museums and galleries, the grants meet needs in four priority areas of collections, audiences, digital, and workforce. 

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 reopened to the public with very reduced capacity, and can now be visited with limited availability every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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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.