On the 25th June 2014 the Schools of Computing, Telecommunications and Networks and Digital Media Technology were invited to Westminster as part of “Birmingham at Parliament” organised by one of our local MPs Gisela Stuart. This was a day to celebrate the achievements of Birmingham’s creative industries.
The event took place in the Jubilee Room which was originally home to Parliament’s library and adjacent to the magnificent Great Hall.
The day saw representation from a range of diverse companies which included the Birmingham Law Society, independent bakers (Devenishgirl Bakery), bars and restaurants – bitters’n’ twisted venues (obviously one of the more popular ports of call for visitors during the day), the Custard Factory, Soshi Games, the Writers Guild, Virgin Media and the BBC.
Adil Ray, the star of Citizen Khan, and Tommy Nagra both gave passionate and compelling talks about the opportunities the BBC in the West Midlands had given them and what future plans were in store including the establishment of BBC academies in our region. Soshi Games, a company that we know well reaching back to the time when they were first embarking on the development of their music festival game, spoke about the establishment of their company in Birmingham.
This was a great opportunity to meet and talk to such a varied audience. We were there with our School of Digital Media Technology to talk about our courses, collaborations with the creative industry, the BBC and our research. Video games are one of the fastest growing markets in the world. We are fortunate enough to have so many independent games studios near our Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment at Millennium Point. This gives our students a great opportunity to learn how the industry works, what they are doing and even have chance to work with them; Sync Interactive, Team Football and Mixed Reality Studios being a few of the destinations for our students.
Research is also a big component of work in computer games technology too. Over the last few years we have been collaborating with Birmingham Children’s Hospital and University of Birmingham on projects that are exploring how computer games could be used to help young people, who are living with conditions that may affect their long term health, understand them, the treatments used and how to better care for themselves. We were pleased that so many people at this event were so interested in our work, which has recently been published in the journal Serious Games (A Gamification Model to Encourage Positive Healthcare Behaviours in Young People with Long Term Conditions)
Our day at parliament was a great success with interest in our University from so many of our MPs and local organisations. It was great to see so many wonderful achievements being showcased and how our computer games technology course has rightly earned its place on a national stage.