WorldBuilders: developing the games designers of the future

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation awards funding to The University of Sheffield’s Maker{Futures} Project and The National Videogame Museum to develop the games designers of the future

School children using digital tools

The WorldBuilders project is part of the University’s Maker{Futures} programme, an ambitious scheme driven by the University’s School of Education and the Literacies Research Cluster. MakerFutures aims to promote maker education and develop digital literacies in schools, libraries and museums.

A consortium of Yorkshire schools, The School of Education and Maker{Futures} Project at The University of Sheffield and The National Videogame Museum have been awarded funding for a two year action research programme, which will see children taking on the role of videogame designers and artists.

The project will be launched on the 20th July when the six schools will see the world premiere of a new animation created to introduce the key concepts of digital literacies.

Teachers in six Yorkshire schools will undertake professional development working with videogame designers to develop activities for their classes to try out.

The National Videogame Museum in Sheffield will provide their expertise and their connections with exciting local games design companies. Dr Becky Parry, University of Sheffield, said:

‘It’s an important opportunity to work with the National Videogame Museum because they share our own commitment to social justice. We all know there needs to be new voices and ideas in the videogames industry and this project will ensure children develop digital skills and story-telling aspirations to meet the challenges of the future.’

Rebecca Timperly, Headteacher from the lead school for the project, Northfield Junior School, said:

‘We want to ensure our staff, our children and our community are confident in using digital technologies to be creative rather than only consumers of videogames. This is an exciting opportunity to reimagine how we teach technology and the arts together - STEAM!’

Dr Alison Buxton, of the Maker{Futures} programme, said:

‘Our Maker{Futures} programme advocates the use of ‘maker-mindsets’ so that children gain confidence in bringing ideas to life with digital and physical tools. These skills will be key to future videogames designers but also to many other industry sectors.’

The Paul Hamlyn Foundation states that:

‘The purpose of the Teacher Development Fund is to support delivery of effective arts-based teaching and learning opportunities in the primary classroom, and to embed learning through the arts in the curriculum. It aims to do this through supporting teachers and school leaders to develop the necessary skills, knowledge, confidence and experience.’

Leah Dungay, Learning Officer at the National Videogame Museum, said:

‘The National Videogame Museum advocates for the exploration of videogames in learning to build valuable STEAM skills for young people and educators. We’re excited to be working with our partners schools and organisations to bring this into the classroom, and develop confidence in engaging with digital technologies, videogames and the arts.’

For more information on the Maker{Futures} project, visit

For more information on National Videogame Museum visit A press pack of the NVM including images and video of the NVM is available here.

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