Kent celebrates its contributions as Medway’s biggest gaming festival continues to grow

Following the resounding success of this month’s Medway Rapture Gaming Festival, staff and students from across the University applaud its creative innovation and look forward to building upon the wealth of talent and collaboration into next year’s Festival line-up.

Held this year on 3 and 4 July at the Historic Dockyard Chatham, the Rapture Gaming Festival- whose core theme centred around the Medway Creative- successfully demonstrated an abundance of regional opportunity in creative science, engineering, technology and video game creation.

The University, which is a lead partner of the event, contributed towards four exhibitions:

Cellular Dynamics Рa collaborative performance between Dan Harding, Head of Music Performance, and Professor Dan Lloyd of the School of Biosciences. This project merged captivating, high-resolution imagery from cutting-edge biological research with live piano performances, creating a meditative atmosphere for festival attendees to enjoy. The combination of projections with music invited the viewer to consider the fundamental processes within living cells, and presenting the laboratory as a thing of beauty, with science and art as one.

The Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) hosted show reels of the School’s digital programmes of MA Architectural Visualisation (MAAV) and MSc Bio Digital Architecture (MBDA), demonstrating how architecture skills can be applied throughout sectors, particularly in digital arts. A 2.5 metre long model of Rochester Castle’s wall was also present as a target for a display of projection mapping. This involved a light display being projected onto the scale model, featuring unique designs of student work that gave the impression of the building being in motion.

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) highlighted the extensive success of its alumni and current students, with monitors broadcasting a show reel of creations, including segments of art from the Lion King (2019) on which several former EDA students worked. EDA also hosted an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) station in which attendees wore headsets allowing them to engage in the virtual world of students’ work, including exciting new projects and games. The headsets and monitors were also socially distanced and regularly cleaned between users- adhering to strict COVID-19 guidelines.

The Department of Music and Audio Technology (DMAT) hosted a Listening Room of electroacoustic compositions and song writing utilising technology by staff and students. Another VR exhibit, ‘Breaking the Chains’, allowed the user to navigate through two gallery rooms. The first room featured historical pioneers such as Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage and Alan Turing providing the history of the first computer, whilst the ‘Jazz Room’ invited the user to meet some of the great jazz improvisors performing their repertoire.

Professor Catherine Richardson, Director of the University’s Institute of Cultural and Creative Industries, said: ‘The Medway Rapture Gaming Festival is a superb chance for our staff and students to demonstrate the expertise in digital arts that can be found at the University. It was a major digital festival for Medway, and we are delighted to have played a leading role in it. The University of Kent exhibitions show how many paths there are for everyone attending the Festival to follow, from their interest in gaming to a range of exciting careers in the Cultural and Creative Industries.’

Upcoming news and events for the Festival’s return in 2022 can be found across social media in the coming months, as well as on the University’s news site.