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Introducing our first Esports Hub

Our Digital Strategy Highlights      
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Kylie Kendrick, a Technical Specialist in our Computing and Information Services Department, brought her love of video games to life by creating Durham’s first Esports Hub. This is a new space on campus where students can come together to play, train and compete in Esports.

Following the official launch on Thursday 20 June, we caught up with Kylie to find out more about the new Hub.

Kylie Kendrick speaking at the launch event
Kylie Kendrick speaking at the launch event

What are Esports?

Esports is short for electronic sports and is a form of competition using video games. Competitors can either play as part of a team or individually. We have the Durham University Esports and Gaming (DUEG) club, so whether you’re an amateur or a professional, you can compete in Esports and be part of the community.

What was the inspiration for creating an Esport Hub at Durham?

It comes from my own experience at university where we had IT labs to play videogames - although Esports university leagues didn’t exist back then! I noticed that students at Durham didn’t have that kind of space, so I wanted to build a facility where they could come together and build a community.

Tell us about the new Esports Hub…

The new Esports Hub can be found in the Sports & Wellbeing Park at Maiden Castle and it has 12 high-spec networked gaming PCs kitted out with colourful and vibrant workstations with LED lighting and branded gaming chairs and desks.

The new facility is a key milestone in our Esports journey at the University. Our student Esports teams have been successful in the National Student Esports league in recent years, but the lack of a dedicated facility has brought challenges, as well as preventing us from hosting events and other opportunities to bring people to Durham to experience online gaming in this kind of environment.

As well as supporting and enhancing the Durham University student experience, we want to explore how the Hub can enable opportunities for the wider community to take part in tournaments, and access coaching and mentoring from students.

As part of this project, we’ve established an Esports laptop loan scheme to widen participation in the short term, but the end goal was to create a new space where more people can be part of the community.

Who can use the Esports Hub?

Currently, only Durham University Esports and Gaming members can book and use the space. However, as part of the Esports strategy we are looking to expand this to the wider student body (for a small fee) and build a community outreach programme in collaboration with local schools and colleges.

Young person enjoying the Esports hub
Young person enjoying the Esports hub

What events have been held in the Hub so far, and what’s coming up?

So far, we’ve hosted a soft-launch event for our students and the DUEG club uses the Esport Hub for weekly in-house tournaments. Not only that, but we’ve also hosted a Women and Non-Binary Local Area Network (LAN) event and an Inter-Collegiate Tournament.

The vision is to hold as many in-person events as possible including staff nights, external events, industry events and summer camps. We want to ensure we make use of this new space and raise the awareness of Esports within higher education.

There is a large women and non-binary Esports community at Durham, and I intend to foster the community and develop it further as a safe space for this demographic of gamers, so by hosting regular in-person events, we hope to support and grow this community.

How will this benefit staff and students?

As Esports can be played as a team, they give students the opportunity to develop essential skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership, critical thinking and time management. Having a space on campus allows individuals to meet in person and develop these skills more rapidly than they would online.

We hope in off-peak seasons, when students aren’t using the space, that staff can come together for team building events, or that colleagues who game in their free time can use the space to network and meet people they might not typically work with day-to-day.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, go to the Esports Hub page on the website, or reach out to Kylie Kendrick directly who would be happy to answer any questions.



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