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University of the Arts London

Escaping the archive: utilising escape room games in a constructivist approach to showcasing archives and special collections


For students a tour of the University of the Arts London Archives and Special Collections Centre (ASCC) can be a passive learning experience; they receive a large amount of information with limited opportunities to engage with archive material. ‘Escape Room Games’ (ERGs) offer a more active and engaged learning experience. They suit a constructivist learning agenda and also act as an experiential, immersive way to be introduced to archival holdings. ERGs are co-operative, participatory games in an immersive fictional setting, where teams of players collaborate to solve linked puzzles and accomplish goals. These games are ideally suited to educational environments, as they co-opt key learning methodologies into a time-limited, rewards-based session. This article showcases an example of an escape room game created and utilised at the University of the Arts London’s ASCC.


gamification, co-operative learning, participatory learning, immersive learning, constructivism


Author Biography

Robin Sampson

Robin Sampson was formerly Assistant Archivist at University of the Arts London’s Archives and Special Collections Centre. His initial role was to establish and develop an institutional memory archive for UAL, documenting the institution’s formation and development. Whilst at UAL, his primary focus is to manage and preserve the ASCC’s archives and special collections for research, teaching and outreach. Robin has an interest in how archive collections can be gamified to create constructive and interactive approaches to learning.


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