Now Play This Game Design Labs

Now Play This Game Design Labs
Thursday 27th – Sa
turday 29th June
Goethe-Institut, South Kensington


Are you a game-maker or artist interested in unexpected game design? We would like to invite you to attend the Now Play This Game Design Labs! 

April’s Now Play This Festival investigated the concept of liminality, from shifting borders to digital histories. Continuing some of the insightful discussions started there, the Game Design Labs will delve deeper into how games can be used to explore the in-between spaces, both for players and developers. Combining a creative conference and a game jam, the Labs use practical making as a method for experimentation and investigation. 

Bringing together five physical sites around the globe, the Labs will welcome game-makers, artists and developers for a three day programme of talks and collaborative workshops. Using liminality as a starting point for discussion, participants will share knowledge and expertise across the labs, culminating in an opportunity to design, playtest and share some new game prototypes.

For full event information and booking details click here.


What is it?

Five labs around the world (London, Dundee, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, and Madrid) will take place in parallel, giving participants an opportunity to connect and share ideas with a wide-reaching game-makers network. Each site will host a series of locally run workshops and talks, and as far as possible they will be shared digitally with the rest of the lab network.

Who is  it for?

Now Play This will be holding our London Lab at the Goethe-Institut in South Kensington, and we are opening our doors for game-makers, artists and researchers with an interest in using game design to explore wider societal and cultural questions. You don’t need any experience in coding, or to have published a game. Just an understanding of game-making and an enthusiasm for collaboration!

Do I have to come for the whole thing?

Each day will start with a participatory session, followed by some ongoing game-making/jamming. We suggest that if you’re coming you try to come for as much as possible, as you may do some collaborative working, but we understand that life is more complicated than that! If you’re interested in the talks, but can’t attend, all streamed events will be recorded and available to watch remotely.

I’m not near any of the physical Lab sites!

We will share all talks and workshops, as far as possible, online and will open up the discussion for remote participants through our Discord. If you’d like to join the game-making sessions, there will be opportunities to join online sharing and playtesting sessions too.

The London Game Design Lab is produced in partnership with Goethe-Institut London.

Online/streamed events will be recorded for participants across all lab sites to view.
A light picnic lunch will be provided for participants.
More details to be announced.

For full event information and booking details click here.

Tell me more!

The Now Play This Game Design Labs are the third iteration of our annual development strand that follows on from the April festival. It gives an opportunity to delve a little deeper into the exhibition theme, and a moment for a more game-maker focused audience to come together, collaborate and make new connections. Our first iteration in 2022 was the Game Design Camp that ran for nine days and paired a site in London and a site in Abuja. Over the course of the programme, thirty participants in each site shared ideas, joined together for workshops, and prototyped and playtested a series of games exploring the idea of democracy. In 2023 we held the Summer Summit, a one day creative conference at Goethe-Institut, that gave thirty artists, game designers and theatre makers a chance to explore care systems through game-making. This year, we are combining elements of the previous two iterations and creating the Game Design Labs with our partners around the world!


Design Lab Partners

  • Abertay University (Dundee) – The Design Lab hosted by Abertay Game Lab on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th June will bring together academics, practice-based researchers, industry and graduates in a disruptive and playful two-day event inspired by game jams. Hosted at Abertay University, the Abertay Game Lab design Lab will include inspirational talks from leading practitioners, team forming workshops, project pitches and a cumulative play party and awards ceremony, showcasing all the work created over the two-day event.
  • Gameplayarts (Los Angeles) – Gameplayarts is dedicated to advancing game-based arts and culture by cultivating a diverse, adaptive, and collaborative community of multidisciplinary creators. We empower digital creatives, technologists, architects, graphic designers, directors, animators, and creative coders to explore the untapped potential of games and game-thinking within art and design.Through educational programs, innovative exhibitions, and community-driven initiatives, we inspire and support the next generation of game-based artists. Our organization is a hub for interdisciplinary experimentation, fostering connections between local universities, cultural institutions, and global pathfinders.
  • UADE (Buenos Aires)
  • Udit (Madrid)


To inspire participants, local and further afield, we have two free online events in the lead-up to the Labs: 

Playing Between Worlds: Mishka de Caro – Tuesday 25 June

Now Play This Artistic Director Lujan Oulton will be joined by Mishka de Caro who will be sharing their experiences organising game design workshops across different prisons, addressing games both as an artistic/therapeutic medium and as a working possibility for social reintegration.

Playing Between Worlds: The Fun Palace SMP – Wednesday 26 June

On October 13th 2023, the Minecraft Bloc research group at the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) lab revisited the avantgarde notion of the “Fun Palace” by Cedric Price, Joan Littlewood. In a specially designed and modded Minecraft server, together with a group of contributors, they realized this ambitious cultural project.

Join us for a look back at the project, and a guided walk through the structure that remains as documentation of the gargantuan build. Now Play This Artistic Director Lujan Oulton talks with members of the Minecraft Bloc about how the project came about, the nature of Fun Palaces and the revolutionary act of play.



The Now Play This Game Design Labs are supported by Goethe-Institut London and Arts Council England