Parallel Worlds 2017 – a videogame design conference

Design, Architecture and Digital Department
July 28, 2017
Parallel Worlds 2017
Poster Artwork by Julian Glander

In Collaboration with London College of Communication

Saturday 30 September 2017, 10:30 – 17:15
Book Online – £25 full price, £20 concessions, £15 student

What does it take to build a world?

We’re pleased to announce that Parallel Worlds, the V&A’s conference dedicated to videogame design and culture, will be returning Saturday 30 September 2017.

Following on from last year’s sell-out event, this day long international conference brings together leading game designers, artists, engineers and thinkers, whose work is connected by the worlds we build through games and play.

Speakers this year include Nicola and Michael Place, members of the original design team for the 90s design classic Wipeout; Dan Calvert, character art director on the luscious Horizon Zero Dawn and Madiba Olivier, developer of Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan and founder of the first professional game studio in Central Africa.

The conference will follow on from the V&A’s Making Play Friday Late event on Friday 29 September, where playful installations, arcades and exhibits will take over the entire museum for one night only.


10:00  Registration

10:30  V&A Introductions

10:45  The Art of the World
John Laws, Frontier Developments – Planet Coaster
Nicola and Michael Place, Build – Wipeout

Session Chair: Jordan Erica Webber

12:00  Arcadia
Sandra Youkhana & Luke Caspar Pearson – You+Pea
Tim Hunkin – Novelty Automation /
Under the Pier Show
Session Chair: Marie Foulston

13:20  Lunch break

14:30  Role Playing Worlds
Dan Calvert, Guerrilla Games – Horizon Zero Dawn
Madiba Olivier, Kiro’o Games – Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan

Session Chair: Kristian Volsing

15:45  Coffee Break

16:15 Playground Rules
Alexandra Lange – The Design of Childhood
Alex Wiltshire – Minecraft: Blockopedia

Session Chair: Sharna Jackson

17:30 Close



John Laws

John Laws – Frontier Developments, Planet Coaster
John Laws joined Frontier in 2001 and rose to become the studio’s Head of Art, working with partner studios including Pixar, Disney and Aardman. His most recent work saw him head up the direction on Planet Coaster’s flexible and expressive art style.


Madiba Olivier Madiba Olivier – Kiro’o Games, Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
Madiba Olivier is the founder of Kiro’o Games, the 1st professional video game studio in Cameroon. As a team of 20 they created the 1st African-fantasy Action RPG ever on earth : Aurion Legacy of the Kori-Odan. They are now working to turn Kiro’o into a gaming & fintech empire in Africa.



Sandra Youkhana and Luke Caspar Pearson – You+Pea
You+Pea is the architectural design practice of Sandra Youkhana and Luke Caspar Pearson. You+Pea see architecture as a creative platform which can draw inspiration from all aspects of popular culture, celebrating the graphic and the immediate. Their research explores how architects can communicate with new audiences. They make architectural videogames, immersive drawings, public installations, interactive devices, architectural toys and 1:1 experiments. Together they teach a Masters research cluster at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where students investigate urbanism through videogame design.


Nicola and Michael PlaceNicola and Michael Place – Build
Nicky & Michael run graphic design practice Build, working with clients around the world. They met during the development of the Sony Playstation launch title Wipe’out” in 1995, when Nicky led the game development team, and Michael was part of maverick studio The Designers Republic. The game fused technology, music and graphics in a new culture clash and went on to shape the longstanding Wipe’out” series, as well as influence the gaming landscape more widely.


Dan Calvert

Dan Calvert – Guerilla Games, Horizon Zero Dawn
Dan Calvert has been developing games big and small for over twelve years. Dan art directs, plans and supervises character art from concept to completion at Guerrilla Games in his role as Character Art Director his recent work includes the post-apocalyptic action RPG Horizon Zero Dawn.


Alexandra Lange Alexandra Lange – The Design of Childhood
Alexandra Lange is the architecture critic for Curbed. Her essays, reviews, and profiles have appeared in Architect, Dwell, Metropolis, New York Magazine, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. She has been a featured writer at Design Observer and an Opinion columnist at Dezeen. She was a 2014 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her next book, titled “The Design of Childhood,” will be published by Bloomsbury USA in June 2018.


Tim Hunkin

Tim Hunkin – Under the Pier Show and Novelty Automation
Tim Hunkin trained as an engineer. His eclectic career has seen him work as a cartoonist for the Observer, as a writer and presenter for Channel 4’s ‘The Secret Life of Machines’ and across various museums, curating and designing exhibitions and building interactive exhibits. Since 2001 he has been making arcade machines for his Under the Pier Show amusement arcade on Southwold pier and Novelty Automation in London.


Sharna Jackson

Sharna Jackson –  Seahorse
Sharna Jackson is an award-wining producer, curator and writer of predominately digital products and experiences for children, young people and families.


Alex Wiltshire

Alex Wiltshire – Author and Writer
Alex Wiltshire is a writer and consultant on videogames, design and technology. He is author of Minecraft Blockopedia, edited the book Britsoft: An Oral History, and writes for publications including Edge, Disegno, Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, Rolling Stone and Dezeen.


Jordan Erica Webber

Jordan Erica Webber – Author and Writer
Jordan Erica Webber writes and talks about video games for the Guardian, is the resident gaming expert on The Gadget Show (Channel 5), and is the co-author – along with Dan Griliopoulos – of the new book Ten Things Video Games Can Teach Us (about life, philosophy and everything).


Marie Foulston

Marie Foulston – Curator of Videogames for the V&A
Marie Foulston is the V&A’s Curator of Videogames and is currently working with the museum to establish new ways of collecting and exhibiting videogame design and culture. Before her time at the V&A she worked as an curator specialising in independent videogame design and playful interactive experiences with the collective The Wild Rumpus, collaborating with partners that included the Game Developers Conference (San Francisco), MoPOP (Seattle) and the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto).


Kristian Volsing

Kristian Volsing – Research Curator, Videogames for the V&A
Kristian Volsing is a Curator in the Design Architecture and Digital department of the Victoria and Albert Museum, currently researching the design and culture of contemporary videogames. Previous projects have included the Civic Objects strand of the museum’s 2015 exhibition All of This Belongs to You; T-Shirts 101, a display on the history of the T-Shirt for the Fashion and Textiles gallery and Rapid Response Collecting, an ever-changing gallery that explores the intersections between contemporary design, mass manufacture and global events.


About London College of Communication
London College of Communication (LCC), part of University of the Arts London (UAL), is a pioneering world leader in creative communications education and research programmes geared to preparing students for successful creative careers.

MA Games Design at LCC examines the concept of play in relation to the practice of games design. Students produce playable prototype gaming experiences and use games design to test ideas from broader culture. Rooted in experimental practice, MA Games Design equips students with both the technical and critical skills to produce a broad portfolio of innovative game prototypes and experiences beyond the screen.

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