For Immediate Release
Minister for Education and Skills welcomes gaming super star Brenda Romero to Ireland
Thursday 28th August 2014 The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, today welcomed Brenda Romero, Game Designer in Residence at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of video game company Loot Drop, to Dublin at the start of her six week tour of Irish further and higher education institutions.
The visit is as part of a Fulbright U.S. Specialist Award, which will see Ms Romero carry out master classes and curriculum reviews of Digital Games courses at a number of Irish universities and colleges. She will also meet with industry representatives and government agencies.
Ms Romero is the longest continuously serving woman in the video game industry, having entered it in 1981, at the age of 15. She is an award-winning game designer, artist, writer who has worked with a variety of digital game companies as a game designer or creative director, including Atari, Sir-tech Software, Electronic Arts, as well as numerous companies in the social and mobile space. Brenda served on the board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and presently chairs the IGDA’s Women in Games Special Interest group.
Welcoming Ms Romero, Minister O’Sullivan said: “Brenda Romero’s visit, as a Fulbright Specialist, is a shining example of how education and industry can work together to enhance the technology talent available in Ireland. I am delighted that during her stay here, Ms Romero will work with a range of stakeholders to look at ways to improve student experiences and deepen the talent pool available to the Irish games industry.”
Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in Ireland, said: “Brenda Romero’s visit reflects the Fulbright Commission’s efforts to ensure the relevancy and impact of its awards and awardees. Earlier this year the Commission launched the TechImpact Awards which enable Irish scholars and professionals to go to the US to conduct short-term research projects examining the impact of technology across all disciplines and its potential social contribution. The TechImpact Awards which are open for applications for the 2015-2016 period are the Irish equivalent of Brenda’s Fulbright Specialist Award.”
The visit is organised and funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), a range of Irish education institutions and the Fulbright Commission, and was developed from an original idea of the Government’s Digital Games Clustering Development Team.
Speaking about the visit, HEA Chief Executive Tom Boland said: “Gaming is a particular area of interest for us in Ireland as it blends our traditions of arts and storytelling with our expertise in fast paced new technology. Ireland’s education institutions have been quick to expand their provision in these areas of new and emerging technology and this visit is an opportunity to take stock of what we do well as well as what we might do better.”
Notes for Editors:
The Romero Fulbright U.S. Specialist Award
The overall aim of Brenda Romero’s visit is to develop games education in Ireland. As well as delivering workshops and seminars for staff and students she will review the module content of each course. At the end of her visit she will compile a report and provide advice to each institution as to how their games development course can be enhanced. Ms Romero will spend the first week meeting various industry representatives in order to gain an insight into the skills requirements of the games industry in Ireland. She will then visit each of seven participating institutions for a period of 3 days in order to review module content, assessments, advise on module and course development, deliver workshops and guest lectures to students and provide training to staff. During her time in Ireland Brenda will visit a network of Irish further and higher education institutions including Ballyfermot College of Further Education, Dublin Institute of Technology, IT Carlow, IT Tralee, Letterkenny IT, Limerick Institute of Technology and the University of Limerick. More on Brenda here: http://romero.com/
Digital Games Clustering Development Team
Following on from a 2011 report by Forfás on “The Games Sector in Ireland: An Action Plan for Growth”, Minister Richard Bruton established a Digital Games Clustering Development Team, comprising representatives of leading Irish and multinational games companies based in Ireland including Blizzard Games, as well as representatives of the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Forfás, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, FÁS, Higher Education Authority and the Higher Education Institutes/Colleges of Further Education. The key overarching objectives of the Team are to a) proactively develop relationships between the foreign and indigenous cohort of games companies, start-ups and well established MNCs, industry and HEIs, games companies and related sectors etc. and b) to play a key role in bringing about a change of thinking and approaches in relation policy development for the games sector and related digital economy activities for the longer term.