UWE's new research network will shape innovation in indie video games

Issue date: 29 November 2013

Dr Patrick Crogan from UWE Bristol's Digital Cultures Research Centre (DCRC) has just been awarded £40,000 to lead an international research network into independent video game development.

The new network is one of six announced by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), which will help shape the future of innovation in the video game industry.

Dr Crogan's network, entitled Creative Territories: Exploring Innovation in Indie Game Production Contexts and Connections, is a partnership between the DCRC, the Universities of Brighton and Utrecht, and the Bristol Games Hub.

Since the recession, the number of micro and SME businesses has grown, including independent video game developers. This network will bring together leading international and UK scholars, indie games developers and creative industry stakeholders. It will examine this transformation of the young but highly significant video games industry, to identify how it makes possible new kinds of cultural production, collaboration and creativity.

The research aims to formulate and map forward the key processes and connections that represent commercially viable, creatively sustainable and culturally valuable pathways for the development of this sector. This will ensure the sector lives beyond its early bubble and makes a significant difference in video game production as both an economically and culturally valuable form.

Over a twelve month period, Creative Territories will investigate developing practices, aesthetics and values in the emergent international indie games production sector. It will act as an incubator for collaborative research projects and share knowledge through an ongoing blog and a print-on-demand Good Hubbing Guide.

Workshops involving network participants alongside postgraduate students and early career researchers will take place at the Bristol Games Hub, the Dutch Game Garden in Utrecht, the DCRC and the Pervasive Media Studio.

The network includes participants from seven UK and 17 European Universities, York and Concordia Universities in Canada, Nesta, Creative England, UKIE, IGDA and Game City - plus notable indie game makers Dan Pinchbeck and Jessica Curry, Auroch Digital and Opposable Games.

The project represents an exciting development in the DCRC's collaborative partnership with the new Bristol Games Hub on Stokes Croft.

Dr Crogan says, “Creative Territories will start a conversation between researchers, cultural bodies and indie game developers around the UK and internationally about how to sustain the creative core of indie game making as teams grow and run into the challenges of commercial expansion.

“The DCRC will partner up with the Bristol Games Hub which has recently opened in Bristol. One of its founding members is recent UWE doctoral graduate Tom Rawlings of Auroch Digital.

“The main idea of Creative Territories is to explore how connections between people, through local and cultural ties and shared values, are a fundamental ingredient in the sustainable creativity recipe. The project is seeking to elaborate on these shared connections to get them into the mix of discussions about how to ensure the continued development of creative industries.”

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