Howard League for Penal Reform briefing

Dr Will Jackson Senior Lecturer in Criminology LJMU Centre for the Study of Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion

Playing the Future: PTown Bay MMXXX

Key Points

  • PTown Bay MXXX is co-produced artwork that takes the form of a board game which offers new insights into the experiences and future aspirations of disadvantaged young people. 
  • Drawing on the principles of ‘serious games’, PTown Bay MXXX demonstrates that examining issues of social, climate, and criminal justice through the medium of play is to take them seriously. 
  • As players, PTown Bay MXXX asks us to think about the ways in which disadvantaged and/or marginalised young people can inform debates about the future of their environment and their community.
  • This project further highlights the potential of Criminological Artivism as a new and effective way of engaging audiences with a view to informing campaigns for penal reform as well as social and climate justice. 


PTown Bay MMXXX is a board game co-created with disadvantaged young people. The game was created through a programme of Socially Engaged Art workshops held under Covid-19 restrictions at the Nacro Education and Skills centre in Peterborough. The game is set in a future world transformed by climate change and provides a unique way of exploring the current and near future aspirations of young people facing multiple disadvantages. 

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Flag Fen outing

On March 22nd 3 young people from NACRO education centre who have been part of the Ptown Bay project were taken to a local Bronze age site, ‘Flag Fen’, a green space enriched with local artefacts, wildlife, and animals. The trip involved exploring the space in a reflective and mindful manner. 

Discussions were shared around their present experience with the space and consideration for what life might have looked like 1000 years ago, recognising how resourcing and lifestyle has changed. This discussion was deepened inside a bronze age Yurt (hut). Conversations were had around previous living conditions in that space, including food, water, shelter quality and resources. 

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Millfield MMXXX

On Saturday August the 6th Ptown Bay MMXXX was demonstrated and discovered at the vibrant Millfield Festival, Peterborough. Hundreds of people of all ages explored the game’s futuristic map which represented the science led, life changing predictions of Peterborough in 2030.  

Many marvelled at the elements of the game with most admiring the carefully crafted markers in the shape of car hood ornaments which lead your navigation through the map’s roads. Some were entertained by the familiarity of the shops and building on the map, noting their experiences there. However, all were in disbelief at the extent of the geographic change expected in Peterborough. 

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Live stream game play @ Science Gallery International Youth Symposium

PTown Bay MMXX at HOT AND BOTHERED, Science Gallery’s annual Youth Symposium. HOT AND BOTHERED is a free, four-day event across time zones that brings together young people to foster action for climate justice. 

We will be live streaming a play through of PTown Bay MMXXX, with players and commentary from the co-creators of the game. 

We’re really pleased to bring the experiences of the Young People at NACRO to this global conversation. 

Register for the event below! We’re playing on 15th Friday at 2pm BST.

There are many great presentations and workshops across the four days, so check those out too. 

See you there!