Welcome to PTown, the silver lining seaside borough.
It’s 2030, and we’re still getting to grips with a unequivocally heating planet, but the residents are mitigating and adapting where they can.
PTown is not just famous for its burgeoning hub of distribution centres.
It’s leading the charge in the electrical vehicle revolution, come hell or high water.
It’s not all bad, for some!
PTown Bay MMXXX is a board game co-created with young people at the Nacro Education and Skills Centre in Peterborough, UK who are learning outside the mainstream education system. The game explores the current and near future aspirations of young people faced with multiple disadvantages.
Set in 2030 (MMXXX), petrol and diesel car sales have been banned and the Peterborough landscape has been drastically changed by climate change and sea level rises. Players must navigate their way around the newly coastal city, meeting colourful local characters, completing missions, and collaborating and competing with other players.
But this is not a ‘Peterborough Monopoly’ instead the locations, missions, characters and map are influenced by the young people’s view of the city they live in.
The game was developed over 15 sessions from Feb – June, the young people met with Hwa Young (later joined in person at NACRO by Prin) Tuesday mornings for 3 hours over Zoom, as per adaptation to learning during pandemic times. The sessions involved playing games, talking cars, going on fantasy drives, debating local landmarks and sketching out future dreams.
The workshops was steered by the young men’s interest in cars as a vehicle to think through environmental issues. Both the production process and the playing of the game seek to allow young people to explore how their engagement with the environment and nature can impact on their futures in a micro and macro context.
This process driven, participant led project seeks to understand how co-production, creative methodologies and knowledge exchange between socially engaged art and criminological research develop to inform penal reformers’ campaigns around youth justice. Environmental and social factors, including the climate crisis, is presented as one of the many issues the young people face, as we work together to understand their understanding of where they belong in the world. By creating a framework to examine our everyday surroundings, we expand our conception of how living things are interconnected, in order to dream bigger and find alternatives to the ways things are now.
The game making ‘task’ opened up conversations regarding the relationship and impact of environmental factors and the environment on their lifestyles, engagement in civil society, their relationship with social institutions, experience of the criminal justice system and the future resettlement and life chances in an oblique manner. The project explores the intersections of environmental and criminal justice policies and ways in which young people excluded from mainstream education are able to meaningfully engage in debates about the environment. The resulting board game is a framework to have conversations, whilst engaged in a playful activity.
The climate change movement can often be portrayed as only accessible to those with the privilege of having the time and the money to participate and make meaningful changes. This interdisciplinary collaboration between art, criminology, disadvantage, disengaged young people and penal reform seeks to inform debates about both social and climate justice and the need to broaden the participation of disengaged communities in causes which have a direct impact upon their lives.
Hwa Young with Dans, Emilijus, Kye, Oscar, Riley
A Common Ground commission by Season for Change, a nationwide programme of artistic and cultural events that celebrate the environment and inspire urgent climate action. Common Ground commissions energises artists and cultural organisations to put climate action at the heart of their programming, with a priority of centring communities and groups that have been previously underrepresented in and excluded from conversations about culture and climate.
NACRO is a national social justice charity with more than 50 years’ experience of changing lives, building stronger communities and reducing crime. NACRO houses, educates, supports, advises, and speaks out for and with disadvantaged young people and adults
The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the world. It is a national charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison. It is committed to undertaking research and demonstration projects that ensure that unheard voices and experiences are brought to the fore particularly through our established partnership with academics and creative methodologies.
Dr Will Jackson is based in The Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion at Liverpool John Moores University