Visibility Jam

30 Jun 2022

Creativity Lab in the Library, University of York, University Rd, Heslington, YO10 5DD

Visibility Jam is a free, two-day event for freelancers and business owners in the screen industries looking to boost their confidence and advocate for themselves. Led by business coach Emma Cowling, this workshop-based course encourages participants to speak out about what’s holding them back, recognise the challenges of speaking out and making yourself visible. It does this by gamifying the experience – participants create a game where they make the rules. No gaming experience is necessary – join us for an inspiring and energetic event that will help you re-frame how you think about yourself.

Visibility Jam is a two full day workshop event in the Creativity Lab at the University of York Library, with participants expected to attend both:

Day 1 – Design Your Game (Thursday 30 June 2022)

Participants will think  about what goes into a game, create a structure for their own personal visibility game, and then test it. We explore topics such as:

  • What goes into making a game and what are the key components?
  • What rules do you have around visibility?
  • What does being visible do for you? (benefits and downfalls)
  • Designing your game avatar – who are you when you are visible?

By the end of the session, you will have an outline design of your game and discover some of your beliefs around being visible.

Day 2 – Launching Your Game (Thursday 14 July 2022)

You will be encouraged to explore the boundaries of your game so you start to let go of some of the beliefs that are holding you back. We follow up on what you’ve discovered by testing your game and ask questions like:

  • What happens when you break the rules?
  • What’s your reward when you win and what happens when you lose?
  • How do you keep yourself motivated so you want to come back for more?

By the end of the session, you will identify the top elements of your visibility game you want to keep, the things you are happy to let go of, and have an outline for your own personal prototype game that inspires you to be more visible.

There is limited capacity on this course and we will be giving priority to those from the following underrepresented groups: 

  • Disabled people
  • People from diverse ethnic backgrounds
  • People from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds
  • People who are LGBTQ+
  • People over the age of 35 and entering the sector for the first time or returning after a period of absence
  • Care experienced
  • Estranged from family networks
  • The first in their immediate family to go to university
  • From areas in the region where progression to higher education is less than the national average
  • Females and marginalised genders

Please apply here by Monday 6 June 2022 at 5pm. For any queries or assistance, contact: [email protected].


Emma Cowling is a business coach, working with tech leaders to help them to develop their confidence and resilience to become strong authentic leaders.

She has worked in tech for nearly 20 years, starting as a software engineer, moving quickly into a tech management role, where she was responsible for developing people and setting the strategy for future tech developments, which led her to invest in coaching.

Emma spent four years helping to commercialise innovative technology at the University of York, brokering industry-academic partnerships and creating and mentoring early-stage spin-out companies.

Before moving into self-employment three years ago, she set up and managed Digital Creativity Labs, a large interdisciplinary centre with over 100 external partners, created to encourage collaborations between academics and the games and media industries. Digital Creativity Labs was the predecessor to XR Stories and SIGN.

Emma’s coaching is based on helping her clients get a better understanding of their state of mind, and to connect with their innate resilience, putting them in a position where they feel more able to show up authentically on a daily basis. She provides one-to-one coaching with individuals, delivers group training programmes and facilitation and mentors small businesses using a combination of coaching, training and operational support.

She ran a pilot of the Visibility Jam as an online programme throughout January 2022, in a slightly different format. Participants reported:

  • A change in their understanding of visibility and what it means to them to be visible
  • A realisation that they were taking on too much in order to get recognition, which was overloading them and reducing their ability to deliver quality work
  • Discovering that they can enjoy being visible and how they go about it is their choice, allowing them to make their work more fun
  • Gamifying more areas of their life, allowing them to step away and not take things so seriously, and not being so concerned about things going wrong.

Booking info

Cost: FREE