Futuristic video game uses the power of Minoritised Ethnic voices to tell the story of a sustainable Scotland

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The University of Glasgow has launched a first of its kind video game that amplifies Minoritised Ethnic people’s voices and the role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Scotland’s sustainable future.

’SEvEN - Seven Voices, One Future’ was co-developed by a research team led by Dr Mark Wong (Senior Lecturer in Public Policy & Research Methods), partnering with Glasgow-based tech start-up Education Evolved, Ethnic Minority Environmental Network, digital designer The Floating Designer, and Glasgow’s Games and Gaming Lab.

It is supported by ’Innovators Assemble’ (INASSEM), an academic-industry-community partnership that promotes gaming and game development as a pathway for researchers to pursue innovation and further academics’ engagement with industry and communities.

Set in the Western Scottish Highlands in the year 2045, SEvEN features the ’voices’ of seven Minoritised Ethnic people. Players will interact with seven narratives and mini-games, based on real-life climate actions led by Minoritised Ethnic-led organisations and initiatives across Scotland.

The characters in the game are voiced by and created in the likeness of real Minoritised Ethnic people in Scotland.

Players are encouraged to learn about the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and individual and community actions that can create bigger change by working together, whilst experiencing the viewpoint of a Minoritised Ethnic person on climate actions that help improve biodiversity, and reduce our impact on the environment.

The game is free to play on any web browser, designed to be accessible to all, including non-gamers.

Dr Mark Wong said: "Representing the - often unheard - voices of Minoritised Ethnic people has always been an important element of my work, as is challenging Scotland’s approach to sustainability and just transition. SEvEN combines these two aims and invite people to reflect on what a sustainable future truly means and for whom. Through using an interactive gaming platform, we have created an immersive and thought-provoking narrative of the future, where Minoritised Ethnic people’s voices and actions are centred.

"We hope that SEvEN will help people to learn about the importance of Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and encourage creative thinking about ways in which we can all work together to make Scotland - and ultimately, our planet - more sustainable as we head into a future of increasing climate anxiety."

Dr Timothy Nol Peacock, Co-director of UofGGamesLab and co-Investigator on SEvEN, said: "The power of voices is their ability to tell stories and to challenge us to rethink our understanding of worlds. SEvEN Voices shows one example of how research-led video games can empower people from diverse backgrounds both to tell stories of environmental transformation, and to live those potential stories through this electronic medium of gaming. It has been inspiring, for me as Co-Investigator and UofGGamesLab as host, to work with Dr Mark Wong and all involved on this project, whose story we hope will inspire players and creators seeking sustainable solutions in the years to come."

Dr. Matthew Leeper, Founder and Managing Director of Education Evolved, said: "The opportunity to work alongside such talented and passionate people from the University of Glasgow and the Ethnic Minority Environmental Network and bringing their knowledge, passion, and the communities they work so closely with to life in a new way has been incredible. It has truly been one of the best experiences since I began Education Evolved."