The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) will partner with the Yorkshire Games Festival to host the UK’s first ever game designer’s conference specifically for young people. The programme of events will take place from 6 – 10 February at the National Science and Media Museum.

The conference, which will include a series of workshops, talks, and a specialist BAFTA Careers Bar, aims to inspire young people to pursue a creative interest in games and to showcase the career opportunities available to them.

The first day of events (Wednesday 6 February) will include special workshops for schools, with discussions on games concept as well as games making sessions in partnership with Unity. Parents and teachers will also be able to learn something, with sessions on how BAFA’s Young Games Designer resources can be used in schools and education.

There will be quieter, more relaxed sessions available for those with learning difficulties, anxiety, Asperger’s and Autism. These specialist workshops will take place on Thursday 07 February. Hosted by Stephen Huckle, creator and founder of Colchester Games Hub, the sessions will be led by the needs of the attendees, in partnerships with local hospitals and charity groups.

The conference will include the first ever BAFTA Careers Bar on Saturday and Sunday (9 – 10 February). This series of short, inspiring talks from UK games developers will cover everything from character design to starting your own company, with access to advice from BAFTA’s professional development network, BAFTA Crew.

The Careers Bar will also feature information on the BAFTA Young Game Designers (YGD) competition, with advice on how to enter. Held annually, the competition inspires and supports young people to create, develop and present their new game idea to the world. Winners will get access to leading games industry figures, as well as mentorship from professionals actively working in the games industry. Entries are open to young people aged 10 – 18 years.

Apply before 13th March.

Melissa Phillips, YGD programme manager, said: ‘“We are so excited to be bringing this opportunity to young game designers in Yorkshire. Being able to speak with young designers about the different elements that go into making games is a great way to introduce them to a possible career in the industry. I am always amazed at the creativity of the young people we work with, and cannot wait to hear the original ideas they come up with during the workshops this week.”

Adam Syrop, 2018 YGD Mentor Award winner, and Director at Impact Games, said: "I am so excited about the shows, talks and activities at the Yorkshire Games Festival each year, especially happening in my home town Bradford! This year it’s great to have a conference specifically aimed at young developers – a must for any young people interested in games to come to, and be totally inspired to enter the 2019 YGD competition to showcase their creativity nationally."

Kathryn Penny, director of the Yorkshire Games Festival, said: “Inspiring young people to discover more about all aspects of the games industry is one of the key aims of the Yorkshire Games Festival, and the first Young Developers Conference goes a long way to help deliver that, and more.”

The Yorkshire Games Festival, now in its third year, celebrates games culture, design and production, with special guests, workshops, master classes, and a fun-packed weekend for gamers of all-ages. 

Event and venue details: 

Yorkshire Games Festival, BAFTA Young Game Designers conference

The National Science and Media Museum, Bradford

6 – 10 February 2019. All events are free.

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