For immediate release: Thursday 30th May
The V&A is delighted to announce that Sophia George, BAFTA winner and Chair of Swallowtail Games, has been appointed as its first ever Game Designer in Residence.
The residency is a partnership between the V&A, V&A at Dundee, the University of Abertay Dundee and the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie), the games industry body.
At just 22, Sophia is already an accomplished game designer, winning the 2012 BAFTA Ones to Watch Award for the prototype of Tick Tock Toys, a family-friendly puzzle game for iPhone and iPad.
Following her BAFTA win she founded Swallowtail Games with a small team, completed Tick Tock Toys and released it to international acclaim. The game received promotional features on Apple’s App Store in over 40 countries worldwide.
Sophia was selected by a panel from the V&A, V&A at Dundee and Ukie.
Sophia George, Chair of Swallowtail Games, said: “To be appointed as the first ever V&A Game Designer in Residence is a dream come true and an incredible recognition of everything I’ve worked so hard for – from Dare to be Digital, to winning a BAFTA, to releasing Tick Tock Toys.
“Computer games are an incredible artistic and creative medium that’s often overlooked, despite them blending elements of many traditional practices – including pure art, animation, character design, architectural design, music and much more.
“The V&A is leading the way by embracing computer games as a creative activity and by opening up its collection for interpretation by a game designer. It’s a huge challenge, but one I absolutely can’t wait to get started on.”
As V&A Game Designer in Residence, Sophia will use the history of British design shown in the Britain 1500-1900 galleries as the starting point for her research. One third of her time will be dedicated to public engagement, inviting a variety of audiences to experience and participate in the creative process of game design though an innovative programme of events and activities at the V&A.
In her short career Sophia has been active in calling for more women to enter the games industry and was invited to sit on BAFTA’s Working Group on encouraging equality in the industry. Sophia plans to run a project with a group of students from a girls’ school as part of her residency to increase interest in this rapidly growing area of design.
Ruth Lloyd, V&A Residency Co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted that Sophia George has been selected. Sophia has endless creative ideas for developing new work in response to the collections and for an exciting public programme. We think this will let game designers know that the V&A are seriously interested in their craft, engage a new public in this important industry and explore how our collections can be used for creative game design research.”
Philip Long, Director of V&A at Dundee, said: “Sophia George is an outstanding choice for this innovative new opportunity for designers. We are delighted to be able offer her the combined experience of working within V&A, among the rich heritage of its art and design collections, and in Dundee where she will be supported by the expertise of Abertay's digital design staff. The outcome is sure to be exciting!”
Professor Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “This project is a genuine first – the world’s greatest museum of art and design, the V&A, recognising the artistic and cultural value of computer games by appointing a Game Designer in Residence. Sophia is an excellent choice to explore game design practice, leading to new interpretation of the V&A’s incredible collections.”
Sophia will take up the unique post in the world’s greatest museum of art and design from October 2013 for a six-month research and public engagement phase, followed by game production at Abertay University in Dundee from March 2014.
Swallowtail Games will continue operating throughout this period, holding events within the V&A and further developing Tick Tock Toys and new games. The commercial release of Tick Tock Toys was supported by the Abertay University Prototype Fund, an investment project for launching new games companies across the UK.
The aim is to release a finished game in the summer of 2014 that offers a new and exciting interpretation of the V&A collections, as well as encouraging visitor participation and learning from the Britain 1500-1900 galleries.
The residency provides a monthly bursary and budget for materials and equipment as well as studio space. A team drawn from the V&A’s staff, Abertay University and an industry mentor will provide support throughout the project.
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Notes to Editors
The Games Design residency is a partnership between the V&A, V&A at Dundee and the University of Abertay Dundee. It is organised in collaboration with The Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE).
About the V&A
The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 2000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.
V&A Residency Programme
The V&A has three Residency Studios, two multi-disciplinary studios and a third studio, for ceramics, situated within the Ceramics Galleries. The Residency Programme is integral to Learning Programmes at the Museum. Past Residents have gone on to achieve significant success in their professional careers, winning prizes and securing gallery representation.
About V&A at Dundee
V&A at Dundee will be an international centre of design for the widest public, housed in a world-class building at the heart of Dundee’s waterfront. It will show major exhibitions of international design, celebrate and promote the care of our own design heritage, inspire and help develop contemporary talent, and encourage design innovation for the future.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded it a first round pass of up to £9.2m, including £200,000 development funding, in May 2012. The Scottish Government has committed £15m in capital towards the project’s £45million budget.
About Abertay University
Abertay University is a world leader in computer games education and launching the next generation of interactive digital media companies. Abertay University launched the world’s first computer games technology degree in 1997, and runs both the UK Centre of Excellence for Computer Games Education and the international game design contest Dare to be Digital. Our unique partnership with BAFTA makes Dare to be Digital the exclusive pathway to the BAFTA Ones to Watch Award, a major recognition of up-and-coming games talent.