In the media

  • My new book THE ROLE OF PLAY is out !

    October 17, 2023

    Role of Play investigates what new rules of play are to come, several decades after the advent of videogames. Do we need more or no rules at all, or do other rules apply? Who determines which rules we play by? Play is always under construction.

    Role of Play: New Games, New Chances. A Future Perspective on Play in Society offers a refreshing take on modern game design and play. It underlines the significance of digital play for contemporary culture. 

    With 400+ illustrations, the authors sketch a wide variety of examples from analogue play to video games, from digital treasure hunts to flying a plane, from waging galactic wars with aliens to designing your home, from battling cancer to behaviour change, from puzzle games to urban planning.

    This book addresses the latest trends in serious games and playification, for purposes other than pure entertainment. In their free-play form, these playful interactions increasingly contain reflections on social issues such as climate change or inclusiveness.

    As change is a sign of our time, the authors show how to play with the rules that underpin society and its positive outcomes. Role of Play is intended for a wider audience, including game–and social designers, policy makers, developers, and students.

    “This book is dedicated to those who embrace new scenarios and alternative futures through play.” – Ben Schouten

    Ben Schouten (PhD) is an artist-designer and professor emeritus of Playful Interaction at Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Industrial Design as well as lector emeritus in Play and Civic Media at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. He founded the master in digital design programme in Amsterdam and until 2020 worked as its scientific director. His research focuses on play and design for social innovations, citizen empowerment and culture. Ben Schouten develops games within the domain of health care, education and urban planning, focussing on playful empowerment and (co-)authored seven books and 100-plus publications at the intersection of play, games, participatory design and citizen empowerment.

    Menno Deen (PhD) is a game designer and researcher, exploring game design in new and unexpected contexts. Amongst others, he created games in swimming pools, therapeutic sessions, and forests. By creating games with professionals, students and non-game developers, Menno builds bridges between industries, disciplines and people. He organizes meetups and showcases called Dutch Courage, connects game students through various projects and brings professionals together within the organization Games [4Diversity], fostering the inclusion of new perspectives and domains into the creative industry of game development. 

    Promotional photo’s: Studio Renate Boere and Jap Sam Books 

    ISBN 978-94-92852-97-7

    Price € 30,-

    Author Ben Schouten, Menno Deen

    Project Management Ben Schouten, Andrea Mologni, Eleonoor Jap Sam

    Research Team Ben Schouten, Gabriele Ferri, Menno Deen, Andrea Mologni 

    Contributors Ed van Hinte, Mees Drissen, Joost Raessens, Troy Innocent, Kummargi Yulendj, Bambi Boland, Beatriz Ibeas, Genèviéve Korte, Ondrej Kocholaty, Chris Gruijters & Gijs Houdijk, Martijn Kors

    Proofreading Aaron Bogart

    Final Editing Eleonoor Jap Sam

    Graphic design Studio Renate Boere

    Number of pages 296

    Book size 17 x 23 cm

    Binding Softcover

    Language English

    Release date October 2023

    Printer Graphius

    Publisher Jap Sam Books

    Made possible by Creative Industries Fund NL, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, and Dutch Research Council (Grant # 652.001.005)

    My new book THE ROLE OF PLAY is out !
  • Action Design for Urban Futures, The Civic Empowerment Toolbox

    January 4, 2023

    Een gesprek naar aanleiding van het verschijnen van het boek The Civic Empowerment Toolbox met Ben Schouten, Martijn de Waal, Sabine Niederer en anderen.

    WO 18 JAN, 20.00. GROTE ZAAL Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam


    De complexiteit van problemen waarmee wij heden ten dage worden geconfronteerd – van COVID-19 tot sociale onrechtvaardigheid tot de klimaatcrisis – vereisen aanpassingen naar een onvoorspelbare toekomst. Het lijkt steeds moeilijker om lange termijn strategieën te ontwikkelen en tegelijkertijd voeling te houden met het dagelijks leven.

    In het boek Citizen Empowerment Toolbox, Action Design for Urban Futures, richten de auteurs zich liever niet op de steeds populairder wordende agenda van slimme steden, maar juist op de slimme burgers die regie nemen over dingen die voor hen belangrijk zijn, vertrouwend op zelforganisatie en eigenaarschap. Het omarmen van diversiteit, de natuur en de culturele verschillen staan centraal in het boek zodat iedereen wordt aangemoedigd, gehoord en ondersteund.

    Deze avond bespreken we deze strategieën en burgerinitiatieven vanuit 4 verschillende invalshoeken: Praktijk, Theorie, Onderwijs en Media. Waarbij wetenschappers, ontwerpers en collega’s vanuit de praktijk, betrokken burgermanschap vanuit hun bijdrage aan het boek belichten.


    Ben Schouten, Emiritus Professor Playful Interaction, Hogeschool van Amsterdam

    Sabine Niederer, Onderzoeker Visual Methodologies bij de Hogeschool van Amsterdam

    Eleonoor Jap Sam, Founder and director at JAPSAM Books

    Willem van de Ven, Vormgever

    Silvia Cazacu, PhD Researcher at KU Leuven

    Saskia Beer, oprichter/directeur Transformcity


    Martijn de Waal, Professor Civic Interaction Design Research Group Hogeschool van Amsterdam

    Action Design for Urban Futures, The Civic Empowerment Toolbox
  • The Civic Empowerment Toolbox is out

    October 28, 2022

    You can order it at

  • Foreland Studios – Hydromax

    April 20, 2022

    On Friday the 15th of April, Foreland Studios presented their current findings in their project “Hydromax”. The project explores the opportunities that hydrogen, currently important for the energy transition, can have for modern day society. Ben Schouten was a presenter at this event.

    Foreland Studios is an independent research group that focuses on the human side of technological innovations. They take into consideration the societal implications of such technologies. They examine and advise how technological innovations can become visible, tangible and more human for the future. In their practice they work in close collaboration with the technical and creative industries.

    Foreland Studios – Hydromax
  • New book! Playful Civic Empowerment

    March 21, 2022

    In his brand new book Playful Civic Empowerment, Professor Ben Schouten combines his work as scientist with the hacker and artist within himself. He shows that change is created through imagination and that shaking things up can lead to new opportunities. The work convincingly presents that the world of design and technology should expand to include humanities, which allows for a new field to rise. Through practical examples this new vision is convincingly presented and enriched with theory, models and its context.

    Read more

    New book! Playful Civic Empowerment
  • Book: Civic Design Education

    December 15, 2021

    In collaboration with the Digital Design master program of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Archis we published a cahier on civic design education. Its goal is to create an understanding and operationalize the role of digital media technologies and social media platforms, big data and serious games in empowering citizens. This is done by both discussing the role of the designer as a change agent and the urgency to vehemently explore strategies that could bring us closer to an alternative future from an educational perspective.

    The cahier contains contributions from Ben Schouten, Marcus Foth, Madeleine Maaskant, Oscar Tomico, Kees Dorst and Eric Gordon. Download the PDF for free.

    Book: Civic Design Education
  • Livecast: Network of Games @ Pakhuis de Zwijger

    June 30, 2021

    Wednesday 30 June 2021, 15:00

    In a Livecast of Pakhuis de Zwijger, Amsterdam, we talked about how integral planning and designing of cities can be influenced by Networks of Games. These networks are formed by a family of interrelated games and an interconnected infrastructure. It influences how cities learn, plan and decide. The event is available for watching by clicking this link and contains an open call for city and game developers!

    This event’s guests consist of Ben Schouten, Dr. Ekim Tan, Anubhuti Chandna, Anthony Duckworth, Flavio Janches, Mark Bouman

    Livecast: Network of Games @ Pakhuis de Zwijger
  • Dutch Media Week 2020 – ANY TIME ANY PLACE

    October 11, 2020

    Anytime Anyplace is THE yearly online talkshow about media that poses a new question with interesting hosts every day. Through minicolleges scientists, experts and famous media makers make you think about your own use of media and your place in this world. Among them this year was professor Ben Schouten that talks about the question: Does playing games make you a better human?

    Click to read more

    Dutch Media Week 2020 – ANY TIME ANY PLACE
  • Is gaming useful?

    April 8, 2020

    Knappe Koppen / 8 apr 2020

    Gregory Sedoc answers burning questions from viewers with the help of experts. This episode he invited Professor Ben Schouten to answer the question from Merijn; he wonders if gaming is useful?

    Watch the episode for the answer!

    Is gaming useful?