Festival of Play in association with Electronic Arts returns to Salford and Birmingham this summer

Author: Siân Mayhall-Purvis, Education Programme Coordinator

Digital Schoolhouse’s Festival of Play returns to Salford and Birmingham this summer  

The creative career and computing conference for students 8-15 is back, and bigger than ever.

Book your free tickets - Salford, 6th July. 

Book your free tickets - Birmingham, 12th July. 

Festival of Play, the fun-filled creative careers and Computing conference in association with Electronic Arts, returns this summer with a jam-packed schedule of interactive workshops, inspiring talks, and innovative games - all showcasing the range of careers available in the video games industry to students aged 8-15.  

This year the Festival of Play will expand even further to reach two thriving hubs of the UK video games industry, returning to HOST Salford on Thursday 6th July before heading to the Library of Birmingham on Wednesday 12th July.  

The programme for the day will educate and empower young learners, allowing them to get closer to the technology used to make video games and to spark their interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) subjects.   

Pupils will also get a chance to hear from and meet people who work in the video games industry, encouraging them to think about how the skills and interests they have today can match up with the careers they may grow into in the future.  

This one-of-a-kind school trip is not just for school pupils. The conference is a fantastic opportunity for continuing professional development, providing the teachers in attendance with the skills to bring Computing lessons to life in the classroom by teaching in fun, playful ways.   

Festival of Play also recruits university student volunteers, providing them with an invaluable opportunity to network and learn from the attending video games companies and industry professionals.  

Last year’s inaugural Festival of Play was a huge success, welcoming 140 school pupils and 20 teachers to HOST Salford for a uniquely interactive games careers experience. The event’s evaluation survey found that:  

  • 70% students said they were likely to continue with an activity learned at the conference  
  • 68% students left the conference more interested in a career in video games  
  • 100% teachers in attendance said the conference improved their knowledge of computing as a subject and its application within the video games industry   
  • 88% teachers said the conference increased their motivation and enthusiasm to teach computing  

Digital Schoolhouse is proud to team up once again with Electronic Arts on this project, a partnership which aims to improve school engagement with computer science while inspiring the next generation to pursue a career in STEAM in the 80 schools across the Digital Schoolhouse network.   

Shahneila Saeed, Programme Director of Digital Schoolhouse said:   

“Last year’s Festival of Play was a such a success; it was simply a no-brainer to bring back the Festival this year and make it bigger than ever. Not only did teachers report a significant increase in learner’s interest in studying computing and career opportunities within the games industry, but the teachers themselves saw an improvement in their own knowledge and application of computing . We are thrilled to once again have the support of our partners Electronic Arts and friends within the industry, enabling us to extend this opportunity to so many more children from all backgrounds, across two cities.”  

Emily Russel, SVP of EA Brand, Communications and Social Impact, at Electronic Arts said:    

“EA is excited to continue our partnership with Digital Schoolhouse to expand support to more early learners from all backgrounds, to equip them with practical skills and experiences through innovative STEAM education programs and events like the Festival of Play. As a leader in interactive entertainment, we believe video games can be an incredible spark for creativity, inspiration and imagination, further cultivating a lifelong love of learning.”  

Schools can register for the Festival of Play for free. To book for the Festival in Salford on 6th July, please click here. To book for the Festival in Birmingham on 12th July, please click here.  

Please email sian@ukie.org.uk with any questions.