Ensemble showcases BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) UK video games talent and champions game developers from a broad spectrum of roles and a wide variety of backgrounds.
Led by Games London and supported by the British Council and Mayor of London, Ensemble spotlights and showcases eight inspiring stories in the workforce to promote diversity, advocate for new voices, and change perceptions.
It runs as a year-round programme and later this year will be turned into a physical exhibition across a range of locations.
The eight were selected by curator Sharna Jackson, artistic director of Site Gallery in Sheffield and author of multi-award-nominated children’s book High Rise Mystery.
Jackson said: “I’m so proud to curate the third edition of Ensemble and bring focus to eight more shining stars who are helping make the UK games industry the best in the world. Ensemble aims to inspire the next generation of game developers from all backgrounds, offering a fresh angle on game development as a creative process.”
Striking portraits of each artist have been taken for the exhibition by photographer Joshua Fray and will appear alongside the Ensemble 2020 video documentary at exhibition locations this summer. Look out for more content throughout the year.
Abubakar Salim, Actor / Producer: Abubakar was BAFTA-nominated for his leading performance in Assassin’s Creed Origins and has recently been cast as one of the leads in Ridley Scott’s TV directing debut, Raised By Wolves. He is about to open his own game studio and production company.
“Through insight on other people’s perspectives, I feel that the game industry can evolve not only internally, but have a massive impact externally towards the different audiences it reaches. What an incredibly fun way to learn about other peoples experiences through engaging interactive activities.”
Adrian Hon, CEO, Six To Start: Adrian studied neuroscience and experimental psychology at Cambridge and Oxford before forming Six To Start in 2007, and leading design on the groundbreaking fitness adventure game Zombies, Run! The company are continually exploring new ways to harness the latest technology and world-class storytelling to create powerful and popular games and apps.
“Just make something – and don’t worry if it doesn’t live up to your standards at first. The only way you get better is by trying!”
Catherine Unger, 2D Artist/ Art Director: Catherine is a freelance artist who has worked for notable games developers such as Nintendo, State of Play and Broken Rules. She also worked on SFB Games’ Tangle Tower, which is nominated for a BAFTA Games Award this year.
“Seeing industry professionals who have come from a similar background can help talented minorities who may be less confident. It could encourage them to visualise and have more courage to move towards their full potential.”
Corey Brotherson, Writer, Editor and Creative Consultant: Crafting and guiding content and fiction across mediums including games, comics and TV, Corey has also been a content producer for PlayStation Europe for over a decade, working on hundreds of titles such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Dreams. He is currently co-writing his first game, Windrush Tales, with Chella Ramanan.
“Making Windrush Tales and being part of something to represent and pay respects to part of my family’s very recent history is powerful, daunting, exciting and defining for me.”
Elle Osili-Wood, Video Game Presenter / Voice Actor: Elle started as a political broadcast journalist before going freelance to cover games, where she became Editor and Presenter for PlayStation Access. She is now Editor-in-Chief for Glass House Games and and is presenting video game content for the BBC.
“Be brave. Shout about your work, apply for roles you think you’ll never get, reach out to dream employers, create ambitious projects. You deserve your place in this industry, and we need your talent.”
Nida Ahmad, UX Designer / Researcher: Nida has been working on mobile games, integrating scientific user research and UX processes to advocate for accessible and player-centered design. She previously contributed to Angry Birds Go! and Warhammer Combat Cards and is currently working at Netspeak Games on a social MMO. She is also on the founding team for POC In Play, a racial inclusion initiative.
“Only a small part of UX is the design, it’s grounded in empathy, understanding player psychology and an appreciation for art, which enables you to empower your team to make awesome games.”
Nihal Tharoor, Interactive Writer, Electric Noir Studios: Nihal was working for top advertising agencies when he quit to form a game studio with Benedict Tatham and create the interactive crime drama, Dead Man’s Phone. The app is nominated for a BAFTA this year. Season 1 of Dead Man’s Phone features a story that confronts themes of police profiling and racism in modern Britain.
“Ben and I had zero games industry experience when we founded our company. Now Dead Man’s Phone is nominated for a BAFTA!”
Rosemary Buahin, Games Category Lead, Xbox: Rose started out in games as International Sales Co-ordinator for Eidos, and has since worked at Warner Brothers, PlayStation and Curve Digital. She is now Games Category Lead for Xbox, Vice Chair of BAME in Games and a board trustee for Into Games.