The Self Care Jam

A Game Jam Event focusing on the Relationship of Games and Mental Health

We are excited to be collaborating with researchers from the University of Nottingham for The Self Care Jam, a week long game jam to explore mental health through videogames. Read more about the project below and find out how you can apply to take part.

A week-long remote event to explore self-care and making games, experiences and things together — 4 Days of Thinking Together + 3 Days of Making

A collaboration between the University of Nottingham and the National Videogame Museum

2nd August to 8th August

The relationship between mental health and videogames is constantly being reimagined and redefined. Intentionally designed games and apps exist to provide digital self-care and help us manage our mental health.

However, videogames can unintentionally provide the very same support, whether it be through escapism, routine or community. Videogames are often described as addictive, or violent, but the potential for games to provide wellbeing and support, usually goes unacknowledged.

The NVM, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Nottingham, would like to explore this relationship – and encourage others to go along this journey too. To explore what videogames do, and can, mean to us, beyond playing alone. And how this meaning can lead to different ways of thinking about self-care and mental health.

We would like to explore this through a game jam (NVM’s first!): A game jam is an event where people who like to make games, professionally or in their free time (or would like to learn how to make games) come together to create a game or experience under a certain theme or idea. Game jams usually run for at least a few days and are a collaborative event.

This event is called the Self-Care Game Jam and is run by the NVM in collaboration with University of Nottingham PhD students Velvet Spors and Imogen Kaufman. This jam is partly funded by the Yogscast’s 2020 Jingle Jam. 

The jam will run from the 2nd August to 8th August and also include opportunities to get involved with research to do with mental health, self-care and videogames — through making, surveys, discussions and interviews.

You might be interested in the game jam if:

    • Game jamming/making things collaboratively with other people is your jam (literally or figuratively).

    • Exploring the potential of videogames and self-care tech sounds fun to you.

    • You enjoy making games and/or technology (or you have thought about making it!).

    • You have somebody local to you, who could check in on you during the game jam.

    • You are 18+ years old and you are currently not suicidal.

Event TL;DR

What? A collaborative game jam using a toolkit (think self-paced activity book with different prompts, inspiration and info in it, with the theme of self-care and mental health.)

Who can take part? Open internationally to anybody 18+ with an interest in making games, mental health and self-care. 

Organiser? The National Videogame Museum, together with Velvet Spors ( and Imo Kaufman (PhD researchers at the University of Nottingham). 

Reimbursement? £100 shopping voucher (or the equivalent in a currency of your choice!) + 2 Tickets to the NVM.

What’s the time commitment? The event runs for a week: 

Monday-Thursday: Each day, we offer an optional 1h session for everybody to get to know each other, learn the toolkit and start thinking about games and self-care.

Friday: We have a 2h kick-off session, form teams and plan for the weekend.

Saturday and Sunday: 4-5h each day, with sharing what everybody made at the end.

When? 2nd August to 8th August

How? Remotely, through the internet.

More info? Check out our project website!

Any comments, questions, or feedback, please check out our project website or get in touch with the project’s researchers using the Contact Information below.

Contact Information 

Velvet Spors:

Imo Kaufman:

Leah Dungay, Education Officer at the NVM:

Claire Mead, Programme Manager at the NVM: 

Ethics Info

Find more information about the National Videogame Museum’s Privacy and Anti-Harassment policies here:

All research is being conducted in accordance with University of Nottingham research ethics. The research part of the game jam is approved by the University of Nottingham’s School of Computer Science ethics committee, CS-2020-R44