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BDFI seeks Black student to examine futures for the gaming industry

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Press release issued: 8 December 2021

Bristol Digital Futures Institute (BDFI) are seeking a Black student to research futures for the gaming industry thanks to a fully-funded research opportunity from Supermassive Games.

Gaming is one of the most influential industries in the world. According to trade body UKIE, the UK market for video games reached a record £7bn in 2020, and the UK games industry is the biggest in Europe.  

The candidate can propose any topic around the gaming industry with a focus on steering emerging futures to a more inclusive and sustainable way of life. With funding from BAFTA-winning independent game developer Supermassive Games, its hoped that the post is a step towards improving diversity in academia and the gaming industry.

According to research by UKIE, “around 10 per cent of people working in games are Black, Asian or minority ethnic,” which is below average for the working age population, and noticeable less represented in senior positions.

The successful candidate will benefit from access to the facilities and networks at Supermassive Games, have an opportunity to work with the new BDFI facilities, and will join a cohort of PhD students in the new £10m ESRC Centre for Sociodigital Futures. They should have a knowledge, interest or some practical experience in the subject they propose to study.

Professor Susan Halford, co-director of BDFI and the Centre for Sociodigital Futures said: 
“Gaming is at the heart of big claims about our sociodigital futures, not least recent propositions for a ‘metaverse’. This studentship offers the opportunity to explore the claims that are made and how these shape everyday life ‘on the ground’, both inside the gaming industry and more widely in government, business and communities. I look forward to seeing  research proposals to unpick the social and cultural futures for the gaming industry.”

Pete and Joe Samuels, Founders of Supermassive added: 

The specific events of 2020, that highlighted the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, motivated us at Supermassive Games to identify meaningful and active support that we could provide. So, we’re delighted to support this studentship, which we hope will help improve diversity in academic research, and potentially provide a black student an opportunity to access a career within or aligned to the gaming industry.”

Read more about the PhD and find out how to apply.

Further information

Bristol Digital Futures Institute was launched in 2019 to transform the way digital technology is created for a more inclusive, prosperous and sustainable society. The £100m Institute is pioneering a different approach to digital tech innovation, bringing together social and technological expertise from across the University of Bristol and collaborators in academia, industry, government, and local communities.  In 2022 it will be the first research hub to open in Temple Quarter Campus and launch the first of several cutting-edge research facilities to aid interdisciplinary approaches to new digital technologies.

The ESRC Centre for Sociodigital Futures is a 5-year £10million flagship government investment from the UK Research & Innovation’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It will create a national and international network of leading researchers with expertise spanning social sciences, engineering, and arts. The Centre will examine sociodigital futures in-the-making, conducting a systematic programme of research across five domains of social life (caring, consuming, learning, moving and organizing) and four key technical fields (AI, AR/VR/XR, high performance networks and robotics). Working with strategic partners in industry, government and civil society, the Centre will build theoretical, methodological, collaborative and design-based capacities to explore what might be done to drive sociodigital futures towards fair and sustainable ways of life.

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