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.”

The NVM celebrates its first anniversary in Sheffield, by looking back at Year 1 achievements

This Friday we celebrated the first birthday of the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield. It was a fantastic event, in which we packed out the museum to celebrate our achievements and look forward to the future.

We were particularly pleased to welcome Chris Kinglsey OBE and Jason Kingsley OBE to the event, where we announced our partnership with Rebellion to launch the UK Collection – a long term collection initiative that will preserve and exhibit UK gaming history. This was particularly exciting, as Chris and Jason also announced their acquisition of the Bitmap Brothers, which will also take a large place in the UK collection.

Please find a slideshow below that outlines just some of the things we’ve been up to over the past 12 months, and also some of the things we have planned for the future.

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Islamic Relief Launches New Game at the National Videogame Museum

On the 17th October 2017, Islamic Relief UK, the world leading humanitarian relief charity, launched a new videogame at the National Videogame Museum in Sheffield. The game, ‘Virtue Reality’, is based on real international development projects run by Islamic Relief in more than 40 countries across the world, from Pakistan to Mali. The game, developed in partnership with Ultimatum Games, aims to teach young people how international aid works, whilst also combating negative perceptions of Muslims in videogames.

Local school children traveled from across Sheffield to attend the launch of the event, and were amongst the first to try out the game. It is currently available on iOS, and will be released for Google Play Store soon. The launch also ties in with Charity Week, a fundraising campaign among Muslim students in the UK.

The BGI is incredibly pleased to have played a part in the development of Virtue Reality, and of subsequently hosting the launch event at the National Videogame Museum. The event was hugely successful, with local school children engaging greatly with the game. The event was also covered by BBC Look North, BBC Online, Charity Digital News, Islam Channel, GEO News.

Please find a gallery of pictures from the event below:

BGI completes charity registration, sets out strategy

Sheffield, 27th May, 2019: The BGI is now an educational charity and has revealed its mission and programmes.

The new charity’s goals are to educate the public about the art, science, history and technology of games through the National Videogame Museum, educational programmes and formal research. The BGI is the first charity dedicated to games culture in the UK.

The National Videogame Museum lies at the heart of the BGI’s plans in Sheffield. This includes a busy summer schedule of exhibitions and events at the galleries, before Japanese games luminaries including Masayuki Uemura, former head of R&D at Nintendo, visit to give talks at the Museum. The Pixelheads education programme is also expanding into Yorkshire with the help of the Arts Council of England, Learn Sheffield and Sheffield City Council.

Following the launch of the Games Education Summit in April, the BGI is launching its first FutureLearn course, How to Start your Career in Games Development, developed with assistance from Sumo Digital, Square Enix and Aardvark Swift.

BGI has also opened offices at the University of Nottingham. The Nottingham team will work on educational and cultural initiatives, develop games festivals and other cultural events around the country and extend its formal research into games culture. The team’s ninth publication on games heritage preservation and curation is expected to be published late in 2019.

Ian Livingstone CBE, Chair of BGI Trustees, said: “We’re delighted that the unique work conducted by BGI programmes such as the National Videogame Museum and Pixelheads has been recognised by the Charity Commission. This is timely validation for all the hard work in championing games culture that our small but growing team has been doing in the Museum. I invite anyone who cares about the cultural life of video games to join us and support this amazing project with content, evangelism and funding to help expand the programme in the years to come.”

Claire Boissiere, Vice Chair of BGI Trustees, said: “This is a really exciting time for the BGI. Successfully registering as a charity enables us to grow our range of programmes and partner with a much wider group of organisations interested in culture, skills, diversity and sustainability.”