Plymouth Undokai

EVOLVE IT: Democratic Playful Games

Ages 8-88
Fri 24 Nov
10am - 4pm
£Pay What You Decide
This one day conference is an opportunity to hear from 5 leading Japanese experts, whilst they are here in Plymouth and then experience the process for yourself as DeveloPlayers or participants.

Evolve It - Democratic Playful Games

With the UK and European premiere of the Future Undokai project happening from the 24-26th November - we invite you to join us for a 1 day conference exploring playful and democratic game design, community owned events and the systems needed to support them.

During this one day conference we will be exploring our Japanese partners' technical and creative leadership in new digital and physical community gaming. Alongside this we will be getting to grips with how traditions could evolve as technology meets traditional cultural events.

The Future Undokai Project is a groundbreaking Japanese initiative exploring the future of intergenerational community sports and how communities might design new multi-player physical games. It embeds playful digital technology into physical multigenerational gaming.  And Plymouth is home to it’s UK & European premiere.

Our Panels will explore the following themes: 

Multi-generational Culture - Ownership of cultural identity (over multiple generations) 

  • What mechanisms do you need in place to enable a project to have a multigenerational life, purpose and validity? 
  • What are the complexities to be navigated between championing 400 years of tradition versus contemporary audience needs? 
  • How do you create space and systems for long term thinking? 
  • How do you balance costs versus commercialising and over advertising?
  • How can a national tradition develop and evolve with communities and business’? 
  • In other words- how do you balance capacity and roots through time?


Democratic Games Design

  • What happens if game design is a democratic process? 
  • What different types of experiences and activities materialise if owned by citizens? 
  • Can engagement in city-wide/ city led games lead to a new understanding of democracy? 
  • What are the best tools to achieve this?



  • What's the future of games and play? 
  • How does technology and physical gaming combine? 
  • What could the future look like? What new games and playful experience might materialise? 
  • Will different people want to be involved?

Important info about the event:

Tickets (Pay What You Decide)
This is a Pay What You Decide event which means you choose what the event is worth to you! You can decide what you would like to pay now by adding a ticket with a value to your cart, or you can pay when you arrive or after you've taken part.
Looking around at other events going on in the city, we estimate that a day pass to similar events would cost £30.
There is no ‘right’ answer, we are not attempting to lead you to a specific figure. You can pay this suggested amount, less than this or more than this. You can even pay £0 for your ticket. No judgement.
Info about Pay What You Decide here
Venue Info / Refreshments
Friday 24 November: University Of Plymouth
University of Plymouth
Roland Levinsky Building

There is no public parking on the campus. The nearest car parks are at Drake Circus Mall, Mayflower Street, Regent Street, plus street parking on North Road East and off North Hill. The University campus is a 3-5 min walk from Plymouth train station. There are a number of bus stops on North Hill (B3250) outside the Roland Levinski building or Royal Parade is 5 minutes from the campus where most bus routes in the city operate to/from. CityBus Journey Planner

About Plymouth Undokai
Barbican Theatre Plymouth and partners have joined together to bring international creators of the Future Undokai Project to Plymouth.
Barbican Theatre's passion is building Plymouth’s creative voice, with expertise in participation, co-creation, and community engagement to delivering unique projects from PETROL HEADZ to Giant's Tea Parties.  Barbican Theatre Plymouth’s CEO and Artistic Director, Laura Kriefman, visited Japan and co-created in the 2017 Future Undokai Future Sports Day at the Yamaguchi Centre of Arts and Media. After seeing the incredible collaborative way of working the seed was set to enable the UK to take part and design a Future Undokai for Plymouth, perhaps evolving into an annual event.
The Undokai Association is a world leading team of creative technologists and games designers who work with communities to build a community of co-creation in which every participant has opportunities to share their ideas freely to create a new style of Undokai. The Undokai Association are excited to facilitate the UK’s first Undokai and work with partners to create a bespoke game for Plymouth.
Presented by Barbican Theatre, Plymouth
Supported by Daiwa Foundation, Sasakawa Foundation, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, University of Plymouth, Real Ideas, Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, Arts Council England and Plymouth Active Leisure.
Audience guidance/ trigger warnings/ safe space
Age Guidance: suitable for ages 8 - 88. Under 16’s must be accomapnied by a responsible adult aged 18+.
Emotional / trigger warnings: none expected. These are team events and so you will be playing the games with people you may not know to begin with.
Health warnings: while extreme physical fitness is not a requirement of taking part most of the games and activities have some sort of physical element to them.  If you have any questions about this please drop us an email and a member of our team will get back to you.
Barbican Theatre and venues we use are safe spaces - safe to be who you are, regardless of race, class, religion, country of origin, immigration status, (dis)ability, age, gender, identity, or sexual orientation.

Speakers Announced


Panel 1:Multi-generational Culture

Toshiko Terazono

Toshiko Terazono is architectural design and educator whose praxis is grounded in the act of making, and how that making is informed by a corporeal engagement with materiality. This interest underpins the agenda of her PhD, commenced in 2021. She brings to her work as an educator experience of running award-winning live, collaborative design-build projects, and extensive experience of working with materials and craft within architecture practice in both Japan and the UK.

Takaaki Yoneji

Takaaki Yoneji is the Director of the General Incorporated Association of Undoukai Association/Representative Director of Undoukaiya Co., Ltd. CUO (Chief UNDOKAI Officer).

He founded the Undokai Association in 2007 and developed the inclusive Undokai System based on the Undokai tradition to create community engagement.

Active as a sports day producer both in Japan and abroad. He has extensive experience in producing sports days both domestically and internationally, and has held sports days in seven countries: the United States, India, Thailand, Laos, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. More than 2,000 events were held, with a total of 530,000 participants. Bringing UNDOKAI to the world!

Book: A device for “in-house sports days” that enhances the sense of team unity.

Laura Kriefman

Laura Kriefman is an award winning Choreographer and Artist with over 20 years’ experience as a creative, a producer and commissioner across theatre, dance, and interactive tech. She is the CEO and AD at Barbican Theatre Plymouth has over 15 years of experience creating and delivering interdisciplinary projects worldwide that fuse the performing arts and creative technology, created through her company Hellion Trace Ltd.  Recent work includes BBC Arts Commission Neon Romance (2022), Petrol Headz (2021), Producing the UK and EU premiere of the Future Undokai Project (2023), Choreographing Arcadia’s Crane (2019) winning the Smart Oxford Playable City Commission (2017), Kicking The Mic (touring 2017 onwards), and Crane Dance Bristol (2015).

Her work has been performed worldwide including USA, Brazil, Ireland, Croatia, Europe, India, and Indonesia. She has been award numerous international fellowships including 2023 The Space Fellow with The Performance Corporation, is a Quest Lab Artist in Residence at Studio Wayne McGregor, Mozilla XR Studio Fellow 2018, UK Innovator in Music 2017 ( a 2016 INK Fellow, 2015 WIRED Magazine/The Space Creative Fellow and a 2011-2012 Fellow of the Clore Cultural Leadership Programme.

Hannah Irwin (Chair)

Panel 2 -Democratic Games Design:  

Hiroshi Inukai

Hiroshi Inukai studied under film director Masashi Yamamoto. He started his career as a film director and Tekken player, and developed a competitive video game. He was one of the first to start an e-sports business in Japan and led the Japanese representatives to WCG, CPL, ESWC, etc. Received awards at the Japan Media Arts Festival and Ars Electronica for exhibitions with the theme of spatial information science, such as "Song of Anagra: The Disappeared Doctor and the Device Left Behind" (2011) and "Sports Time Machine" (2013). . Promoting the sports co-creation event "Future Sports Day." After researching games and play, he named his activities that transcend the framework of art, sports, etc. "Unraku." Director of the General Incorporated Association of Sports Day Associations. 

Furaha Asani

Furaha Asani (she/her) is a public scholar, award-winning speaker and teacher, mental health advocate, writer, and Research Lead at Pervasive Media Studio in Watershed, Bristol. As Watershed's Research Lead, Furaha's work focuses on injecting responsible innovation and climate action into Watershed's various research collaborations. Her interests lie in the themes of responsible R&D, global health equity, a world without borders, and science in pop culture.

Rafael Arrivabene

Rafael Arrivabene leads the MA Game Design at University of Plymouth.Passionate about creating fun experiences to others, Rafael has been making games and interactive experiments for more than 20 years. For 5 years he has designed games for public education and gamification projects in Brazil. He has designed and published card and board games and contributed as level designer for digital games for PCs and Consoles. As an academic, Rafael is the author of a book on game design and his research encompasses topics such as interaction language, game design methods, and game-like systems such the Elections.

Tsubasa Nishi

Tsubasa Nishi is the Director of the General Incorporated Association of Sports Day Associations and Curator of Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]. He plans exhibitions centred on contemporary art and media art, and plans and implements co-creative projects. In addition to curatorial and project management for Aichi Triennale, Sapporo International Art Festival, etc., YCAM launched the ``Future Yamaguchi Sports Day'', which has been held continuously since 2015. In addition to planning exhibitions of works by Yoshihide Otomo and Ryuichi Sakamoto, he also plans and manages the Yamaguchi Art Communicator Program.

Panel 3 -Evolve-IT

Nariaki Iwatani

Nariaki Iwatani is a Programmer/Sports day engineer. Co-founded anno lab Co., Ltd, which creates interactive content and develops tools for collaboration between creators from different fields. Since 2017, he has been participating in the Future Sports Day Project as a sports day engineer. As anno lab, he has received awards such as "Tail of Time and Space" at the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale (2014) and "Room of the Sun and Moon" at the Japan Media Arts Festival Art Division Grand Prize (2022). In recent years, he has become interested in the technical aspects of podcasting, and in addition to distributing his own programs, he is also developing his own distribution platform.

Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice

Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice is an Associate Professor in Immersive Storytelling at the University of Plymouth and Co-Founder of a storytelling consultancy and studio called X||dinary Stories. Dylan is a researcher and artist specialising in play and storytelling for children her research focuses on digital storytelling, games and play on a range of platforms such as apps, augmented and virtual reality, as well as new content for television, all with an emphasis on media for children.

Emma Powell

Emma is a director and designer with a passion for developing inspiring and accessible work. Emma has more than 10 years' experience designing for theatre, film and events with work touring nationally and internationally. Her practice has developed into robotics and animatronics and she is a co-founder and director of creative robotics company Air Giants. 

As Creative Director of Air Giants, Emma designs huge interactive creatures and environments, using the company’s air-based robotic technology. The work is safe for close up interaction as well as large spectacle. Air Giants aim to spread wonder, joy and escapist magic, and always with a core element of play and engagement.

Air Giants are also enthusiastic collaborators and researchers, both artistically and technically. They’re currently working on a research project into touch sensing and emotionally-effective whole-body tactile feedback with academics from The University of Bristol, funded by MyWorld. They’ve recently created a new touring artwork, Squeeze Me, using similar technology, deploying inflatable robots with touch-based social games as part of Playable Cities 2023.

Jim Sephton

In 2007 Jim founded his first company running bespoke events from a purpose built site just south of Birmingham. Over the next decade several more companies followed, covering everything from 14th Century Italian martial arts classes to the incredible cathartic experience of the Rage Room.

Then in early 2018 while looking for the next concept Jim found a YouTube clip of HADO. After discovering that the sport didn't exist in the UK or in Europe the next step was to get on a plane to Tokyo. A few months later the first competitive HADO arena in the UK opened its doors.

After winning the exclusive licence for the UK and ROI in November 2019, Jim and the UK HADO team have been building a rapidly growing network of strategic partnerships, licenced venues and an ecosystem of competitive teams. Winning the European Championships in 2022 and placing second in the World Cup in 2023.





















Future_Undokai_partner logos_Oct_Navy
Subscribe to our updates


This is a Pay What You Decide event which means you choose what the event is worth to you! You can decide what you would like to pay now by adding a ticket with a value to your cart, or you can pay when you arrive or after you've taken part at the other events.

Looking around at other events going on in the city, we estimate that a day pass to similar events would cost £30.

There is no ‘right’ answer, we are not attempting to lead you to a specific figure. You can pay this suggested amount, less than this or more than this. You can even pay £0 for your ticket. No judgement.

Tickets for this event are no longer available.