Innovative game unveiled at Gathering the Voices exhibition

20 August 2014

Innovative game unveiled at Gathering the Voices exhibition

A digital game based on the story of a political prisoner during the Second World War was unveiled at an exhibition held at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

The game has been designed by four recent graduates from the School of Engineering and Built Environment, and is based on an interview with Marion Camrass. As a child, Marion spent part of the war as a political prisoner in Siberia and later as a refugee in Bukhara in Uzbekistan before coming to Scotland.

The graduates – Marc Celland, Emily Crosbie, Jodi Jennings and Robert McDougall – wanted to make the game entertaining and educational, as well as accessible to both schoolchildren and adults alike.

Emily Crosbie said: “The game helps the user understand the distance Marion had to travel and the choices she faced in order to survive.”

David Moffat, lecturer, Department of Computing, said: “It's great to see our students turning their game-design skills to such serious matters. Their deft approach presents this very difficult topic sensitively.”

The free game, which will soon be available via most web browsers, was created as part of GCU’s partnership with the Gathering the Voices Association (GtVA), which launched its new mobile exhibition at the University.

GtVA has been gathering the oral testimonies of men and women who sought refuge in Scotland to escape the racism of Nazi-dominated Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Most, but not all, were Jewish.

Saskia Tepe, an alumna of GCU, illustrated this when she shared her mother’s story at the official opening, introducing her book Surviving Brigitte’s Secret.

She said: “My mother escaped Auschwitz but seemed ashamed of her past and didn’t really speak of it. The Second World War didn’t end for everyone in 1945. There were new journeys and struggles for survivors.”

The GtVA exhibition can be viewed in GCU’s Saltire Centre until August 31, and will then be available for use in Scottish schools, libraries, and museums. It consists of brief extracts from interviews recorded by GtVA, as well as photographs and other historical information.

Supported by GCU, the Heritage Lottery Fund and many local donors, GtVA has also created a website where these testimonies can be freely accessed in audio and written form. At present there are 21 voices on the site, with more to be added.

To date, 37 people from a number of different European countries, and many walks of life, have been interviewed.

Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said: “The University continues to be proud of its association with this extraordinary project. This new mobile exhibition will showcase the inspirational stories of friendship and survival to new generations across Scotland. I am also delighted that our graduates are using their skills in gaming design to educate users about Marion Camrass’ story in an innovative way.”

Claire Singerman, GtVA Secretary, said: “GtVA is grateful for the support it has received from GCU and many other individuals and groups, to help turn this project from an idea into a reality. This support has made it possible to ensure that these unique testimonies are able to reach a Scottish, and even a worldwide audience. The mobile exhibition will now be an essential part of this.”