The V&A has announced that alumnus Sophia George 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.
Sophia graduated from NUA with a BA Games Art and Design degree in 2011, going on to win that year’s Dare to be Digital competition and the BAFTA Video Games Ones to Watch award with fellow NUA students Kristian Francis and Rosie Ball. After postgraduate study at Abertay, Sophia and Kristian went on to form Swallowtail Games and release Tick Tock Toys for the iPhone and iPad.
Sophia George with fellow BAFTA winner Kristian Francis
Sophia 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.”
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