LH.20.008 – Past at Play

Route: Living history

Cluster question: 066 Does knowing about materials change the way we think about artwork, tangible cultural heritage, the built environment, and their preservation?

The Past-at-Play NWA-ORC project seeks to bring together a consortium of stakeholders from academia, the Dutch gaming industry, and national and local heritage organizations to further our understanding of play in and of the past iteratively in practice and theory. These stakeholders have a diverse set of insights and invested interests in the past and play, but share the following challenges:

How do we create effective and affective engagement with the past through play experiences?

How do we create effective and affective play experiences through engagement with our living past?

Past-at-Play taps into a unique opportunity to meet these challenges through making, playing, curating, and studying both games from the past as well as contemporary games that engage with the past. There are huge economic, societal, and educational opportunities in developing games and knowledge about games in relation to heritage and history. Games, as one of the largest and still fast-growing industries and pastimes, reach a wide variety of audiences, particularly doing well with youth. At the same time, game developers and players alike recognize that the past holds tremendous potential as a playground.

Past-at-Play aims to build on this momentum and promise in a collaborative project in which partners work together to advance:

– Knowledge of and reflection on the past in (and as) play;

– Flexible tools for the sustainable development of games based on our knowledge of the past.

– History and heritage outreach strategies for engaging diverse audiences through play;

– Play as an innovative part of history and heritage education;

– Co-design and UX practices that speak towards interactive and democratizing experiences of the past;

– The preservation of our intangible cultural heritage (of play) through empirical study of available historical evidence;

– Methodologies for empirical reconstruction of past play;

– Preserving play as intangible cultural heritage.


archeology, co-design, Cultural Heritage, Games, past

Other organisations

Dr. Cameron Browne, Maastricht University


Organisation Leiden University, LUCAS (LEI)
Name Prof. dr. S. (Sybille) Lammes
E-mail s.lammess@hum.leidenuniv.nl