It has been announced that this year’s London Games Festival, running from April 5th until April 15th, will launch a brand-new BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) exhibition, titled ‘Ensemble’, to celebrate and showcase the work of up to eight UK-based BAME games creatives.
The exhibition will debut at the London Games Festival before touring key games clusters across the UK, including two days at the festival’s own HUB event in Bloomsbury across the 9th and 10th of April. Other events are yet to be announced, but will be posted on the official Ensemble page on the London Games Festival’s website as soon as they are.
Ensemble will highlight the significant contributions made by these BAME creatives to the UK’s games culture at every level, and has been designed with the aim of inspiring the next generation of BAME creatives in mind. It will seek to offer fresh, unique perspectives on the creative processes of game development and publishing, and will hope to showcase how diverse talents and perspectives are vital to the games industry, not only with respect to creating diverse and inclusive digital worlds and atmospheres, but also in ensuring that the next generation of games are ready for the next generation of gamers.
Ensemble will be curated by Sharna Jackson, a veteran of the creative industries with a wealth of experience in digital initiatives within arts and culture (she has held positions at Tate, Design Museum, The Broad in LA and has consulted for the National Maritime Museum, Museum of Childhood, V&A and Science Museum, to name but a few of her past roles), and with respect to the exhibition and the efforts of its BAME creatives, she has said that:
Important work is being created by minorities, and it’s imperative to highlight these achievements – especially in this climate – and to encourage and support the next generation of talent as they emerge. The show foregrounds the importance of a diverse industry, by demonstrating its significance in the creation of rich and intoxicating worlds and experiences for everyone. [source]
Jackson will be assisted in hosting the exhibition at the London Games Festival by a steering group (i.e. those who guide the exhibition’s content, ethos and values) of games industry experts, including Shahid Ahmad of Ultimatum Games, Nainita Desai (leading UK composer for BBC, HBO, ITV and more), Kish Hirani of BAME in Games, Adrian Hon of Six to Start, Nahrein Kemp of Film London, Dr Mitu Khandaker (Spirit AI, NYU Game Center) and Anisa Sanusi of Hutch Games. The exhibition as a whole will also be supported by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
Although the deadline for submissions for work to be exhibited as part of the Ensemble exhibition has now passed, applications to take part in the iconic Games Character Parade through central London are still open until March 28th. This parade, according to its official London Games Festival page, welcomes “both video games-inspired cosplayers of all experience levels plus official mascots and characters” and combines “iconic interactive entertainment heroes” with “even more iconic London locations”.
To apply to take part in the parade (which is completely free, by the way), you can visit the page linked to above and fill in the attached Google Form. More information about the London Games Festival as a whole can also be found by visiting its official website here, or by following the festival’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.
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