The University of Brighton partners with local AAA developers to host Brighton’s first GAY(M) JAM!

The University of Brighton partners with local AAA developers to host Brighton’s first GAY(M) JAM, a collaborative competition celebrating inclusion and diversity within gaming.

Dr Panagiotis Fotaris, Games course leader at the University of Brighton commented “With such huge potential as a storytelling format, games are a great opportunity to respectfully explore and depict various identities and orientations. The GAY(M) JAM allowed participants to develop games that promoted LGBTQ+ inclusivity and depicted sexuality in a positive way.”

GAY(M) JAM was a non-profit, social, and competitive event organised by the Game Jam and LGBTQ+ Societies on 23-25 February 2019. Teams of 40 University of Brighton students from 8 courses worked together for 48 hours to make a game from scratch that focused on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and included authentic and impactful LGBTQ+ characters or story lines.

 Marc Walker, President of the Game Jam Society added, “The Game Jam Society fully supported our university’s participation in the LGBTQ+ History Month with our first GAY(M) JAM. We welcomed all who directly or indirectly identified with the LGBTQ+ community and believe that this was a great opportunity for our students to demonstrate how socially aware and inclusive they are.”

This themed event was a big success and allowed participants to get first-hand experience on how to make a game from scratch, build their portfolio, improve their teamwork and communication skills, be creative, network, win prizes, and, most importantly, have fun! The event was proudly sponsored by the University of Brighton Research Centre for Secure, Intelligent and Usable Systems (CSIUS), UKIE, and local videogame studios Studio Gobo, Electric Square, and Hangar 13 who also provided prizes, food, industry mentors, and judges for the event.

"Studio Gobo and Electric Square are incredibly proud to be partnering with the University of Brighton for its first ever GAY(M) JAM. We as an employer are passionate about diversity and inclusiveness, and we are looking forward to future collaborations with the University of Brighton”, said Jim Callin, Technical Director and Co-founder at Studio Gobo.

Andy Wilson, Vice President of Development at Hangar 13, also commented “We’re really happy to support the University of Brighton with this competition. It highlights exactly why we chose Brighton for the location of our new studio – the city is home to a diverse, open-minded group of people and speaking as someone from the LGBTQ+ community myself, it’s exactly the sort of thing I would have loved to see my university get behind back when I was completing my degree. Congratulations on a job well done and we'll hopefully be seeing a lot more of you as our studio looks to build close ties with Brighton university.”

The Judging Panel consisted of Stirling Murphy (President of the LGBTQ+ Society and Computer Science for Games student), Prof Helen Kennedy (Head of School of Media), Dr Paul Ryan (Research Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender), Leon Cliff (Member Relations Officer, UKIE), Mike Williamson (Senior Artist, Hangar 13), and the Studio Gobo team.

This event will be taking place next year, with the hope of reaching more universities and students.