A lot has happened at the BGI over the last couple of weeks! With an exciting announcement, a trip to China and a top secret project in the works, things have been moving fast. Here’s what we’ve been up to:
BGI announces new Board members and calls for the sector to help govern its programmes
Nottingham, 20 April: The BGI has expanded its board to include a diverse range of stakeholders from across the sector and is calling on industry stakeholders to help govern its programmes.
An expanded board of advisors was announced, comprising Shahid Ahmad (Ultimatum Games), Samira Ahmed (BBC), Katherine Bidwell (State of Play), Carl Cavers (Sumo Digital PLC), Marcia Deakin (NextGen Skills Academy), Iain Dodgeon (Wellcome Trust), Paul Gardner (Wiggin), Katie Goode (Triangular Pixels), Ian Hetherington (Midoki/Wrld), Marie-Claire Isaaman (Women in Games), Tanya Laird (Digital Jam), Andy Payne (Appynation / Just Flight / British eSports Association), Rebellion (Jason/Chris Kingsley/Philip Oliver), Timea Tabori (Rockstar North), Paul Kilduff-Taylor (Mode7), Mark Turpin (Yogscast), Chris White (former Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Games), Richard Wilson (TIGA). Ian Livingstone is Chair.
The new agency also announced its intention to reach a 50/50 gender balance and appropriate BAME representation on the board by summer 2018. The board will propose and vote for new members in late April.
The BGI is also calling on people from across the sector to put themselves forward to join steering groups for the BGI’s programmes. The Steering Groups, focused on Finance, Culture, Skills and Diversity, will open up to new members in the Summer. The BGI encourages a wide range of stakeholders from across the sector to put themselves forward for consideration. Applicants can apply here.
Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI, said: “By appointing such a wide range of diverse stakeholders from right across the sector to our board and by announcing our goal of achieving an even gender split and good BAME representation in the near future, we’re making a strong statement about the BGI as an organisation, but also our vision for a more diverse sector in future. We are building diversity and inclusion into everything we do and our advisory board will be ensuring that diversity and inclusion remain a focus for all our programmes. With a range of new programmes coming, we need the sector’s help to ensure that what the BGI delivers is fit for purpose for our sector, so we are inviting people to register their interest in joining steering groups to govern the BGI’s programmes.
We’re delighted to announce our first 2018 Continue event, at Headrow House Leeds on 27th April 2018 from 1.00pm – 6.00pm.
Continue brings together those who commission work in cultural spaces with independent videogame developers interested in producing work for display. It is your chance to hear about other people’s experience working on collaborative projects of this type, and get their advice on how to plan your own.
Continue Leeds will feature talks from local developers and commissioners, uncovering their experiences of Cultural Game projects.
Highlights include :
Alex Chisholm, Director of contemporary theatre company Freedom Studios, delves into the world of Virtual Reality, reflecting on her experience of working with York-based developer Beta Jester to capture the renovation of Bradford Odeon.
Director of Reflex Arc and three times BAFTA nominee, Richard England, who unveils his experiences responding to a commission for Leeds Light Night.
Charlotte Gore chat about her project ‘Yorkshire Gubbins’ and what it means to make a really local game…
Continue is about creating understanding and videogame literacy in the culture sector and vice-versa, always to end of getting things done. That’s why our events are accompanied by an online network, keeping you up to date on the latest news and developments.
Can’t make it to Leeds? Don’t worry, more dates around the UK will be announced very soon…
A great piece on the merger is featured in the Guardian today, after Keith Stuart interviewed Rick Gibson.
You can read a long interview with Rick Gibson, BGI CEO, and Iain Simons, BGI Culture Director, by James Batchelor from Gamesindustry.biz
Nottingham, 21 February: The National Videogame Foundation, including the National Videogame Arcade, is merging with the BGI.
The BGI is a new national games agency supported by games trade bodies TIGA and Ukie, and over 500 games, investment, arts and education organisations. The BGI has been designed to raise new funds for games initiatives from public and private sources to achieve four key objectives:
- To encourage the development of the art, science and technology of games throughout the UK;
- To research and promote games’ impact on and reflection of British culture;
- To gather and share the artistic, technical and commercial expertise in games production;
- To promote and increase diversity and inclusion in the UK games sector.
The combined organisation will continue to deliver the Foundation’s existing programme of games cultural projects, including the Arcade, its research, its educational and other projects, within the BGI’s Culture Programme. The NVF’s Iain Simons will become the BGI’s Culture Director, working with the BGI’s CEO Rick Gibson. The BGI will be headquartered inside the National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham.
The BGI works in collaboration with a wide range of partners to put the UK games sector at the heart of Britain’s cultural and digital agenda. The NVF is a non-profit organisation funded by the public and receives grants from the Arts Council of England, the British Council, British Academy and Creative Scotland amongst other public funding sources. The BGI is independently governed and will not be funded by company membership fees.
Rick Gibson, CEO of the BGI, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome Iain and his outstanding team into the BGI. Apart from running the finest playable museum in the country, Iain and his colleagues have an unparalleled track record in games culture. They have produced the Gamecity Festival since 2006 and publish world-leading academic research into the interpretation and curation of games. They are also deeply embedded in the national and international network of arts and research organisations interested in funding digital culture. We know they will turbo-charge the BGI towards ambitious new programmes in collaboration with the best games and arts initiatives countrywide.”
Iain Simons, Culture Director of the BGI, said: “By joining the BGI, we are building the national centre of gravity for games culture that our sector vitally needs. We have a proud record at the NVA, having welcomed over 100,000 visitors to our museum in the Midlands. The NVA teaches thousands of children via hundreds of school visits about how games are made and what they mean. We also work with parents, schools, universities, arts bodies and games studios on a growing range of initiatives. Our young persons’ programme Pixelheads is rolling out into scores of schools and arts centres this year to teach kids and families about games as cultural products to be appreciated in their own right, while helping children and their parents identify career paths into games.”
Ian Livingstone CBE, Chairman of the BGI, said: “I’ve been involved with the NVF for many years as a big fan and supporter of their work. I co-founded the BGI with Rick Gibson in 2016, and I’m delighted that the BGI and NVF are coming together to form a new organisation that champions the UK video games industry’s impact as an art form and its contribution to the UK economy. There needs to be greater understanding of the investment and career opportunities in what is now the largest entertainment industry in the world with global revenues exceeding $100 Billion per annum. I believe the BGI will extend the industry’s cultural reach, help increase levels of investment, and win new funds for games culture, skills and production which our studios need to remain world-class.”
The BGI team has been hard at work building the next stage of its campaign and we are looking forward to briefing all our supporters in the near future about some very exciting news about the future of the organisation, its programmes and its partnerships.
Back to you soon!
Congratulations to the Oliver brothers and Radiant Worlds for finding a new home inside Rebellion. The highly experienced studio and its founders are strong supporters of the BGI campaign. Read about the new Rebellion Warwick studio here.
Also, we were relieved to hear that Sumo Digital stepped in to save CCP Newcastle from being closed down. Fantastic news for the North East.
The BGI team is delighted to report news about 2 key supporters of the BGI campaign.
Richard Wilson was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List – many congratulations!
Sumo Digital successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange and we offer our congratulations to Carl Cavers and the team on taking another British games business into the City and educating them on the massive potential of our sector.
The Autumn Budget contains mixed messages for the creative sectors. It signalled an extension to the UK Games Fund, but for just one additional year, more generous EIS tax relief which is great news to investors, an increase in Research and Development tax credits which many games studios will utilise, and an initiative around “immersive technology for creative content”. There is also a commitment to help creative sectors access growth funding, although how this will function has yet to be revealed. There is little detail on a sector deal for the Creative Sector, but the government plans on releasing an Industrial Strategy White paper on Monday 27th November which will give more information.
The BGI campaign team is naturally disappointed that there is no mention of the BGI initiative in this Budget. We hope the White Paper will contain more ambitious plans for supporting the Creative Sectors and more specifically the games development sector which is growing at nearly 5 times the rate of the UK economy. We face some intractable problems which have been solved in other UK and European sectors through strategic public funding and generated significant returns on investment.
Irrespective of the White Paper’s recommendations, this is just the start of the BGI campaign, which will continue until the BGI is funded. The team behind the BGI has long experience in originating and lobbying for ambitious projects, such as Video Games Tax Relief, that faced obstacles but went on to win government support and have massive impact on our sector.
The BGI has received unprecedentedly wide support from games and other stakeholders as well as 10,000 members of the public plus a growing number of MPs. It is an ambitious strategic initiative featuring significant private sector co-investment that addresses the heart of the Industrial Strategy’s search for schemes from nationwide knowledge economy sectors with global scale and massive growth potential.
The BGI team has started a dialogue with Government and has been invited to continue that dialogue post-Budget. We look forward to discussing how to deliver its strategic objectives and found a new agency for games culture in the UK.