Sylvester Arnab


    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    1. Co-creative game design practices 2. Empathic and playful learning design 3. The mapping of pedagogical and motivational aspects with game design 4. Applied research in game-based learning and gamification for learning 5. Game literacy and gaming culture

    Willing to speak to media

    • Source: Scopus
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    Research activity per year

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    Personal profile


    Sylvester Arnab is a Professor of Game Science at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at the Institute for Creative Cultures. His research focuses on the investigation of engaging, empathic, and empowering experiences through the lens of playful and gameful design practices.

    Sylvester is a co-founder of the multi-award winning GameChangers initiative, focusing on open practice in playful and game-based learning. Gamechangers has informed empathic teaching and learning and community engagement in various countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, towards responding to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

    To date, Sylvester has successfully secured research funding with a total value of £19 million since 2010 (£9.9 million as a principal investigator). Funders include the UKRI (AHRC and ESRC), European Commission (FP7, H2020, and Erasmus+), British Council, British Academy, and HEFCE.

    Sylvester is currently leading the ACES project (  and the CreativeCulture 4.0 project (, funded by the UKRI under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and the Newton Fund Impact Scheme respectively. Both projects are building on the GameChangers initiative, where Sylvester's play and game thinking approach is being adapted in South East Asia towards developing inclusive and equitable teaching and learning practices.  

    Sylvester has over 100 academic publications, having recently published a book on ‘Game Science in Hybrid Learning Spaces’, which provides insights into the research and practice of purposeful game design with a focus on hybrid education. He is regularly invited to give public and keynote lectures in various international events. Sylvester is currently supervising six PhDs with four completions and has examined over 10 PhD theses.

    Sylvester was previously a researcher at the Serious Games Institute, Applied Innovation Lead at the Disruptive Media Learning Lab, and a researcher at University of Warwick’s WMG. He graduated with a PhD in Engineering in 2009 at the University of Warwick. 


    Twitter: @sarnab75 



    Research Interests

    Game Science (gameful/playful design, serious games, game-based learning, gamification, game design thinking); Hybrid learning spaces; Technology-enhanced learning; Pervasive learning and technologies; Trans-disciplinary game-based intervention development; Multi-modal platforms (tactile, wearable, mobile, mixed-reality)

    Vision Statement

    A champion of gameful, playful and persuasive designs that transform ordinary tasks into extraordinary experiences. My research interests are inspired by the potential of game techniques and technologies in sustaining engagement with serious activities, and to inform the design of experiences. My research focus is influenced by a a hybrid approach for holistically define, design and implement game-based interventions, including the blending of physical and digital spaces, and formal and informal contexts. I have developed a trans-disciplinary and holistic model for game-based design and development that can be adopted by researchers, designers and developers. My research, development, and practice findings have informed the discussions in a book on Game Science and it's application and implication on Hybrid Learning Spaces published in 2020. 

    Education/Academic qualification

    Doctorate, University of Warwick

    May 2005May 2009

    Award Date: 22 Jun 2009

    MSc, University of Leeds

    Sep 2000Sep 2001

    Award Date: 1 Nov 2001

    Degree, University of Manchester

    Sep 1996Sep 1998

    Award Date: 1 Jun 1998

    External positions

    PhD External Examiner, Royal College of Art

    24 Mar 2021

    Academic Expert for Institutional-Led Review of the Creative Technologies Programme, University of the West of Scotland

    22 Mar 2021

    PhD External Examiner, Goldsmiths, University of London

    16 Dec 2020

    PhD External Examiner, Open University of the Netherlands

    2020 → …

    PhD External Examiner, Hanken School of Economics

    Oct 2018

    PhD External Examiner, University of Tasmania

    Jul 2018

    PhD External Examiner, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya


    PhD External Examiner, University of Toronto


    PhD External Examiner, University of Aveiro

    20 Dec 2017

    PhD External Examiner, University of the West of Scotland

    May 2017

    EdD External Examiner, University of Huddersfield


    PhD External Examiner, University of Bath

    Nov 2016

    External Reviewer (PARM Panel), Manchester Metropolitan University

    Feb 2016

    PhD External Examiner, Universidade de Lisboa

    Jun 2014


    • L Education (General)
    • experiential learning
    • game-based learning
    • playful learning
    • STEM
    • STEAM
    • Q Science (General)
    • computer science
    • games science
    • gamification
    • TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
    • Software Engineering


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