Ukie welcomes new team members

Tuesday 15 August 2017 - London, United Kingdom Games industry veterans Vanessa Joyce and Marie Claire Isaaman join Ukie in project support roles; Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation, welcomes new Programme Development Executive Laura Martin to support nationwide expansion

Games trade body Ukie have hired two expert industry consultants, Vanessa Joyce and Marie-Claire Isaaman, to support and scale Ukie’s mission for the sector and to work jointly on special projects.

As Corporate Relations & Strategic Partnerships consultant, Vanessa Joyce will build on Ukie’s reach across partnerships with businesses outside of the games industry, building support for some of the organisation’s existing ambitions and working on joint projects with Isaaman. Joyce has been in the games industry for a decade.

Marie-Claire Isaaman is working with the trade body as their Diversity & Education Research consultant. She will be bringing her education and diversity expertise to support gender and wider diversity research insight as well as building on the success of Ukie’s education projects including its Student Membership and its scaling Digital Schoolhouse creative computing initiative, powered by PlayStation and other industry supporters. Marie-Claire has an extensive track record of championing diversity in the games sector, both in her respected career in games Higher Education and as CEO of Women in Games, a position which she retains.

Ukie is also delighted to welcome Laura Martin to the Digital Schoolhouse, powered by PlayStation, programme following last year’s nationwide expansion. There are now 29 Digital Schoolhouses across the UK, teaching creative computing through offline, play-based workshops designed in conjunction with the games industry.

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie, said of the new appointments, “I’m pleased we can bring the expertise of Vanessa and Marie-Claire along with their extensive knowledge, ideas and networks, to help scale the ambitions of Ukie on behalf of the UK games industry. Laura’s digital marketing expertise will be hugely beneficial to the Digital Schoolhouse project at this important nationwide expansion period. They are all well-respected and talented and their experience will be a critical part of the Ukie team and our mission.”

Vanessa Joyce said:

"I'm delighted to have the opportunity to work on this innovative new project with Ukie. We have an ambitious agenda and I feel really excited to see what can be achieved in the coming months...Watch this space".

Laura Martin added:

“Moving from marketing into the games industry, I’m really is excited to help bridge the gap between Education, Creative and Tech sectors so we can continue to inspire the future generation of digital creative talent and revolutionise the teaching and perception of computing in schools.”

Maria-Claire Isaaman said:

“I am extremely excited to begin work with Ukie as an Education, Diversity & Research consultant. I look forward to contributing my experience and knowledge in these fields to a wide range of projects and in developing new bodies of research for the sector to support, grow and promote the UK games and interactive industry.”



For all press enquiries, please contact Sophie Densham or @ukiesophie

About UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie)

Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment) is the only trade body for the UK's games and interactive entertainment industry. A not-for-profit, it represents businesses of all sizes from small start-ups to large multinational developers, publishers and service companies, working across online, mobile apps, consoles, PC, eSports, VR and AR.

Ukie aims to support, grow and promote member businesses and the wider UK games and interactive entertainment industry by optimising the economic, cultural, political and social environment needed for businesses to thrive.

Ukie works closely with the sector to influence government and decision makers, lobbying successfully for the 2014 Video Games Tax Relief, the UK Games Fund, and the Next Gen Skills campaign which resulted in a new Computer Science Curriculum. Ukie makes connections for businesses and help them access the opportunities a digital economy offers, via a successful International Trade programme, running UK Games Industry stands at the biggest international industry events.

It promotes the industry by working with the media to raise awareness of the sector’s positive cultural and economic contribution, as well as the societal benefits of games. Ukie runs, where families can learn about safe and sensible online practices, parental controls and age ratings.

Ukie’s skills work serves to increase inclusion and diversity, advocating a STEAM approach to education. Initiatives include the Digital Schoolhouse (DSH), Video Games Ambassadors (VGAs), a Student Membership scheme and a professional development programme.

Ukie commissioned the Blueprint for Growth report in 2015, an independent review of the UK games industry with recommendations for decision makers in Parliament for how the industry can grow.

In 2016 Ukie partnered with Film London to deliver Games London, a ground breaking new three-year programme to promote the UK as the games capital of the world, the focal point of which is the annual London Games Festival.


About Marie-Claire Isaaman

Marie-Claire Isaaman is an equality and diversity pioneer in the game industries and games education. She is CEO of Women in Games (WIGJ) – a not for profit organisation that works to address gender imbalance, inequality and lack of diversity in the game industries – and Co-founder of Chrome Yellow, a consultancy that works with a wide range of game businesses and organizations to strategically design and support educational initiatives, improve equality and diversity, and conduct research within the game and technology sector.

For over a decade, Marie-Claire was Course Director of BA Games Art and Design and MA Games at Norwich University of the Arts. From having no female students when taking over the course, over 40% were female by 2016 and the staff were an equal 50:50 split. This pioneering work paid dividends when students rated the course 100% for student satisfaction in the 2015/16 National Student Survey. During her tenure she closely mentored student teams, including Swallowtail, winners of 2011’s Dare to be Digital competition at Abertay University and a Games BAFTA Award in 2012. Marie-Claire became the first educator to be inducted into the Electronic Arts sponsored European Women in Games Hall of Fame in 2014.

Marie-Claire was a lead educational consultant on the award-winning Level 3 Extended Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX for NextGen Skills Academy, which won Best New Qualification at the Federation of Awarding Bodies 2017 Awards. She also researched and authored an extensive report for NextGen Skills Academy on Gender Balance within the UK Game Industries Marie-Claire is lead External Verifier for the NextGen Skills Academy/Aim Awards VFX, Animation and Games qualification across the UK, External Examiner for the School of Arts Media & Computer Games at the National Centre for Excellence in Computer Games Education at the University of Abertay, Dundee, and for BA/BSc Game Design at London South Bank University.

Marie-Claire has featured in the Market for Computer and Video Games (MCV) Annual Top 100 UK Women in Video Games list in both 2014 and 2015. She was also named in the GamesIndustry.Biz 100 Most Influential People in Video Games List 2017. As CEO of Women in Games she speaks regularly at events, conferences and government forums on equality and diversity issues. She is currently researching gender balance in games higher education in collaboration with ReFiG – a research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada – and organizing the annual European Women in Games Conference. 

About Laura Martin

Laura’s background is in Charity & Events and has extensive experience in delivering for not-for-profit programmes. She moves to Ukie from her role at the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing to the games industry.

About Vanessa Joyce

Vanessa Joyce is the founder of Renwick Management a games and interactive entertainment consultancy which specialises in PR, events, business development and raising finance for developers internationally. Vanessa has worked with a huge range of games clients over the past ten years making her one of the most well-connected professionals in the games industry.

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