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.

Predictions of water levels by 2030 from Climate Central.

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, Andy, Nagina, Natalie