GAMES:EDU 08, the international conference for games education, has just announced the launch of GAMES:EDU North to complement the highly successful southern event which takes place alongside the Develop Conference in Brighton.
Now in its third year, the event has grown to include an additional conference which will take place in Manchester on 29 April 2008 alongside Games Grads North, the career fair for computer games degree course students. GAMES:EDU South will take place on 29 July in Brighton.
Focusing on current and future education needs of the games industry, GAMES:EDU brings industry experts and educators together to encourage debate and the sharing of best practice. Last year’s conference saw over 120 delegates come together from across the globe to network, participate in workshops and engage with some of the world’s top developers and publishers.
Responding to delegate feedback, the conference will now offer a greater number of workshops and networking opportunities and allow speakers more time for presentations. The programme will include speakers from leading developing studios such as Rare, Microsoft, Evolution Studios (SCEE), Foundation 9 (Sumo), Introversion, and Blitz Games.
GAMES EDU North will feature speakers from some of the UK’s largest studios working on global multi-format titles. In contrast, GAMES EDU South will hear from some of the UK’s most talented and progressive boutique and independent developers. Confirmed speakers include, Matt Southern (Evolution Studios), Mark Morris (Introversion), Nick Burton (Rare / Microsoft Game Studios), Toby Allen (Sumo) and Mike Reddy (University of Wales).
GAMES:EDU is supported by some of the UK’s foremost educators and this year’s workshops will be led by the University of Abertay, Hull University, University of Derby and the University of Glamorgan.
Dr Henry S Fortuna, Division Leader, School of Computing and Creative Technologies, comments:“Abertay has been a leader in industry relevant game technology and design courses for some time. GAMES:EDU will become a key event in the Abertay calendar as a place where academics and Industry can discuss, share, and develop best practise in all areas of game development and production“
Nick Burton, Senior Software Engineer at Rare, comments:“Game development has one of, if not the, most diverse skills requirements of all modern media ranging from mathematicians and physicists at one end of the spectrum to actors and architects at the other. For the UK games industry to maintain its position as one of the world leaders we need to continue to develop new areas of education while continuing to work hard with the more traditional routes into our industry such as software engineering and art skills. GAMES EDU gives attendees the chance to discuss these issues and find out how to create students for the UK’s most exiting media industry from some of its most seasoned practitioners.”
Matt Southern, Product Owner, Evolution/SCEE, comments:“GAMES:EDU has emerged as a must-attend event for everyone involved in the conjunction of game development and education. The vital process of diversification and expansion that our industry is currently undergoing needs the input of informed scholars providing talented, bright young minds to help shatter and re-shape our art form with energy, originality and enthusiasm. Evolution Studios and our colleagues at Studio Liverpool and Bigbig believe that GAMES:EDU is the place for educators across Europe to come together and develop their work further in collaboration with the games business and help ensure we become the most exciting and diverse medium of the 21st century.”
Andy Sithers, Microsoft Academic Alliance, comments:“Microsoft is fully committed to helping develop academic work in games in the UK. GAMES EDU is an excellent opportunity for academics and games developers to begin a conversation which will help keep the UK as a growing centre of excellence in the gaming industry to ensure graduates have the right skills and knowledge to enter into the industry and contribute to that success.”
Skillset, the sector skills council for the audiovisual industries, is fully supporting the conference and will be discussing its future plans to develop the Computer Games Industry’s accreditation programme. GAMES:EDU 08 features a series of case studies titled“The Skillset Sessions”. This year’s focus is specifically on establishing new game development courses and on how some of the UK’s most successful courses find placements and employment opportunities for their students
Kate O’Conner, Skillset’s Executive Director– Policy and Development and Deputy Chief Executive, comments: "Skillset strongly believes industry engagement is key to developing relevant and effective training and education. Skillset’s accredited network of courses represents best practice in this area and offers targeted provision ideal for entrance to the games industry. GAMES:EDU will help the academic community understand why engagement is important and how industry involvement and industry focused tuition benefits students, employers and universities alike. By providing an open space for discussion GAMES:EDU will help develop the quality of this accreditation program and encourage further interaction between Education Institutions and Industry."
GAMES:EDU is an essential date for educators from across Europe in the field of gaming and games development.
The GAMES:EDU 08 Day Pass is£120 or£95 if booked before April 1 2008.
For more information or to register please visit www.gamesedu.co.uk.
NOTES TO EDITORS
• GAMESEDU is co-ordinated by Pixel-Lab and Tandem Events.
• Pixel-Lab is a computer games and digital media development agency working across the UK’s computer game and digital media industries. Pixel-Lab advises, develops and delivers strategies to support growth in the games industry from skills development to support infrastructure. Pixel-Lab also works with organisations outside the industry, enabling them to harness the power of games. www.pixel-lab.co.uk
• Tandem Events organise the Develop Conference&Expo in Brighton, the leading conference for the European games development community. Our other events include the Games Grads recruitment events and the Games Marketing Forum.
With over 20 years experience across a number of market sectors, Tandem Events are the UK’s leading organiser of specialist exhibitions and conferences for the computer games and interactive entertainment industry. Our focus is on bringing business communities together, to offer unique, face-to-face commercial and networking opportunities.
• Skillset’s key actions and initiatives are set out in Creating the Future the UK Skills Action Plan for Interactive Media and Computer Games Industries. This plan sets out the issues facing the games industry as it continues to grow and mature. Importantly the plan outlines activity which Skillset, guided by the Computer Games Skills Forum, will undertake to support the UK workforce's development and help ensure that the UK continues to be one of the best places to make games in the world.
• The first key initiative from this plan to get underway is for the games industry to take an active role in the assessment and accreditation of degree level courses in games. Extensive industry consultation was undertaken resulting in a series of recommended criteria. See www.skillset.org/games.