The National Videogame Museum shortlisted for Kids in Museums Award

Create Your Own Pixel Character livestream selected as one of UK’s best lockdown activities.

Sheffield 22/07/2020: The National Videogame Museum (NVM) has been shortlisted for the Kids in Museums Family Friendly Museum Award From Home, it was announced today.

Kids in Museums has run a prestigious annual award for the past 15 years, recognising the most family friendly heritage sites in the UK. This year, the charity asked families and museums to vote for what they thought was the best online activity for families during lockdown. A panel of museum experts whittled down over 400 nominations to a shortlist of 26 museums. 

The National Videogame Museum was recognised for its NVM At Home activities, which included livestreamed workshops such as ‘Create Your Own Pixel Art Character’. The activities are all still available to download on the NVM’s website, and are designed for kids aged 7 – 14. They were supported by live streamed tutorials, that have been watched by hundreds of young people.

The National Videogame Museum recently announced that it was launching an online Saturday club, Pixelheads, that will run throughout the Summer Holidays. It is hoped that hundreds more young people join the live streams, so that they can learn all about videogames.

Leah Dungay, Learning Officer at the NVM said “We are delighted to be recognised by Kids in Museums for our activities. We started our NVM At Home activities to give parents and kids a chance to learn skills around videogames whilst they were in lockdown. We’re glad our audiences have enjoyed them and we’re really excited for our online Pixelheads clubs this summer!”

The NVM is vying against four other museums in the Best Website Activity Category.

Over the summer holidays, family judges will try out all the activities and their feedback will decide a winner and highly commended award for each category. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in October.

Follow the Family Friendly Museum Award From Home on Twitter by following @kidsinmuseums and #FamilyFriendlyMuseum.

The Family Friendly Museum Award From Home has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England.

National Videogame Museum wins Art Fund support to develop Videogame Heritage Society

Sheffield 1200 05/06/2020: The National Videogame Museum is proud to announce it has won support from Art Fund to support the development of its new subject specialist network – the Videogame Heritage Society.

The Videogame Heritage Society (VHS) launched in February 2020 at an event held at BFI Southbank. The society coordinates approaches to the challenges of collecting and preserving videogames, and brings together both leading institutions and private collectors to help share knowledge and develop best practice. The Art Fund support will directly enable the  creation of new ‘explainer’ resources, short-form pieces aimed at simply bringing the ideas and challenges of videogame collection to a broader audience. In addition to the explainers, the VHS will also launch a series of online seminars, leading to an international conference. 

The VHS has already drawn interest and membership from over 20 leading heritage institutions and museums such as Science Museum Group, British Library, Museum  of London, Centre for Computing History, Bath Spa University and, importantly, a host of independent collectors and specialists.  

Iain Simons, NVM said- “On behalf of our staff, trustees and partners, I’d like to thank Art Fund for this important grant that recognises the need for the UK’s first digital Subject Specialist Network. We have gathered an amazing group of institutions and individual collectors to share knowledge in a field  of great interest to the public, many institutions and collectors, but which has so far not won much art funding. It’s important to recognise the role of private collectors. So much specialist knowledge is held within the private, enthusiast community which reaches institutional collectors indirectly. The VHS is a really exciting opportunity for us to help build bridges and learn from each other, so we are delighted to win this funding”.

Industry steps up as National Videogame Museum fights for survival

Sheffield 1000 28/04/2020: After launching a fundraising campaign when lockdown began, games companies joined members of the public to help save the National Videogame Museum (NVM). The fundraising campaign is still open but this gives renewed hope that the museum can re-open beyond the global pandemic.

Rockstar Games, Boneloaf, Jagex, Fusebox, THQ Nordic/Embracer Group, Ukie, Sumo, Craig Fletcher, Kelly Sumner and Thumbfood and others have stepped in to help the charity outlast lockdown. The Museum is now safe until July, although it may face further challenges if it cannot re-open in the summer.

Ian Livingstone, Chair of the BGI: “We are so grateful to some of our finest games companies and industry leaders for helping us in our hour of need. With no end to the lockdown in sight and without significant public funding, every donation gets us closer to securing our future in these uncertain times”.

The BGI launched an emergency appeal to save its museum in Sheffield a week after closing to safeguard the public and their staff from Coronavirus in mid-March. The NVM was facing permanent closure following the complete loss of income from the visiting public. The BGI’s trustees decided to ask the public and the industry for help in an emergency appeal that has so far raised over £130,000. 

As the pandemic continues, and the museum anticipates further delays to reopening, the museum is continuing to fundraise while launching online services and workshops, such as its successful NVM At Home programme, which is teaching children the basics in videogame development and helping parents choose educational videogames.

Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games, said: “It’s so important that this unique and wonderful Museum, the only one in the UK dedicated to celebrating the rich and diverse culture of videogames, should be able to continue to excite and educate visitors, whilst hopefully inspiring future generations of talented game makers.”

Boneloaf said: “Boneloaf backed the NVM’s JustGiving campaign to support the museum’s work: engaging new audiences with fun, playful, and informative content spanning the history and culture of arcade, Alt.Ctrl, computer and console games; game interfaces and hardware (and because we want to play more Vib Ribbon when we can visit the museum safely).”

Phil Mansell, Jagex CEO said: “For the past four years, the National Videogame Museum has been a living celebration of the UK’s videogame heritage and culture. Even through the current pandemic, when its doors are closed to the public, they’ve continued online engagement thanks to the Play The Museum at Home initiative which is great to see. However, we all want the museum’s doors to be open again – that’s why Jagex, as one of the UK’s longest-standing developers and publishers of living games, is very proud to support its fundraising and become patrons to ensure it can continue its important cultural and educational work.”

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.

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.

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”

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.”