Prof. Paul Coulton

Coulton
Chair of Speculative and Game Design
Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Game Design, Design as Rhetoric, Research through Design, Design Futures, Play, Toys
p [dot] coulton [at] lancaster [dot] ac [dot] uk

I have a background as a game designer, programmer, and hardware designer and now spend my time subverting perfectly good technology to create novel games, playful experiences, and toys. My research largely falls into what is known as Game Studies, an area of research that deals with the critical study of digital and non-digital games. More specifically, it focuses on game design, players and their role in society and culture. This means that Game Studies has evolved naturally as an inter-disciplinary field with researchers and academics from a multitude of areas, such as design, computer science, psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, arts and literature, media studies and communication, etc. This activity is embodied as ‘research through design’ and, in particular, to the speculative design of novel, hybrid, physical/digital interactive games, playful experiences, and artefacts. Some of this research is conducted using techniques I helped pioneer and relates to an, 'situated' evaluation methodology utilising 'app stores' and social networks as an experimental platforms. This element of my work has led to international recognition by industry as well as academia in that I was selected as one of 50 most talented mobile developers worldwide from a community of over 2 million to be a founding Nokia Champion and the first academic invited to speak at the mobile section of the Game Developers Conference. Increasingly, my work encompasses the consideration of interaction design as rhetoric across a range of application areas and increasingly the use of Design Fiction as a way of exploring technological futures for areas such as the Internet of Things and Digital Empathy. 

“Play is the highest form of research.” - Albert Einstein

Updates and Outcomes

CEDE Church featured in the Church Times

CEDE Church featured in the Church Times

The CEDE installations at St Peter's De Beauvoir Town Church have been cited in relation to the argument for WiFi to be installed in every Church of England Church.

The Church of England's Buildings Division has backed a plan to fit all of the CofE's 16,000 churches with WiFi internet access....Read full update

Climate Change Game

OutcomeArtefact



As part of Creative Exchange ,and in collaboration with academics and the design company Mudlark we have created a game, Cold Sun, that allows players to explore issues of climate change by exploring a futuristic game world controlled by their real world weather.  ...More information

Ethics of Data

BBC R&D video released for European Data Protection Day.

As part of the developing research area concerned with the ethics of data, BBC Research & Development wants to understand how it can demonstrate excellence in data privacy & security for people using connected services. As part...Read full update

NEW Lecturer post in Data Prototyping and Visualisation

Articleby Paul Coulton, Martyn Evans

As part of Lancaster University’s 50th Anniversary Lectureships Scheme to appointment of 50 early career academics we are seeking candidates for a new lectureship in Data Prototyping and Visualisation. ...Read full article

Physical Playlist at V&A as part of Digital Design Weekend 2014

OutcomeExhibition

The Creative Exchange project the Physical Playlist which created a system whereby jewellery can be imbedded with digital context which can be given as a gift akin to the old practice of creating mix tapes was exhibited to 500+ people as part of the Digital Design Weekend at the V&A in London....More information

Digital Empathy Project on BBC Click

Digital Empathy Project on BBC Click

The interactive systems we developed as part of our project on Digital Empathy for St Peter De Beauvoir Town Church in Hackney are featured on BBC Click

The has installed a wifi-enabled prayer candle system, digital advent window and a interactive font we created for the congregation...Read full update

Augmented Reality Art

Augmented Reality Art

Using augmented reality to curate your own art exhibitions

The application we have designed for the NESTA R&D fund project is now live on the Google App store and will work across a range of devices. The app uses Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR) to allow people to digitally curate their own...Read full update

Television in the Internet of Things

Television in the Internet of Things

How will traditional media such as television and radio adapt as they become part of a larger Internet of Things.

I had the great pleasure of spending last term on sabbatical within the BBC R&D lab at MediaCityUK to effectively engage in some knowledge exchange between my research...Read full update

How to Win in the Age of Now?

How to Win in the Age of Now?

An Inspirational Masterclass delivered by the Worldwide CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi, Kevin Roberts on Monday 10th of February.

The event attracted many creative and digital companies looking to take their business to the next level, and become high-growth creative leaders loved by their...Read full update

Initial User Experience Testing for Mobile Augmented Reality App

Initial User Experience Testing for Mobile Augmented Reality App

Today we tested the current version of the app with some of the volunteers from Live at LICA to ascertain how usable and understandable it was. The test was successful in that we got useful suggestions for improvements to guide users understanding on first use but everyone found that once...Read full update

Making in the City [3D Printing] - Crossing Boundaries

Making in the City [3D Printing] - Crossing Boundaries

Co-creation through intense collaborative activity...Hexagons and Lego leading innovative 'thinking'...

As part of the 'Making in the City' Design Jam, participants were tasked to develop and critically examine emergent themes in greater detail, and then to offer new and innovative solutions...Read full update

Making in the City [3D Printing] Design Jam

Making in the City [3D Printing] Design Jam

Making in the City [3D Printing], offered a successful and acclaimed introduction to the series of Cities Design Jams, by the Imagination team at Lancaster.

Making in the City [3D Printing], was the first of three highly interactive design ‘Jams’ specially created for the London Fusion...Read full update

PhD Studentships related to Design for the Internet of Things

Articleby Paul Coulton
PhD Studentships related to Design for the Internet of Things

We are pleased to offer two funded PhD studentships to work in conjunction within Imagination academics in two areas related to Design in the Internet of Things. These two posts provide not only the opportunity to work with leading design academics but in conjunction with the recently established UK Cyber Security Research Hub for the internet of things which includes nine of the country’s leading universities (PETRAS). PhD Design Fiction for The...Read full article

Digital Installations in Hawkshead Church

Articleby Paul Coulton

As part of our Creating and exploring Digital Empathy project we have recently installed a system at St Michael’s and All Angels in Hawkshead, which allows people to type in prayers that are then projected onto the church’s interior wall. These prayers are then shared in a similar way with St Peter De Beauvoir Town Church in Hackney. The Diocese of Carlisle have created their own fil shown below to highlight the...Read full article

NEW Lecturer post in Data Prototyping and Visualisation

Articleby Paul Coulton, Martyn Evans

As part of Lancaster University’s 50th Anniversary Lectureships Scheme to appointment of 50 early career academics we are seeking candidates for a new lectureship in Data Prototyping and Visualisation. ...Read full article

Mobile Augmented Reality in the Cloud

Articleby Paul Coulton, Emma Murphy
Mobile Augmented Reality in the Cloud

Our Digital R&D Fund for the Arts project 'Taking the Artwork Home' is exploring how digital technologies can facilitate engagement with the arts and unveil new curatorial strategies. After further development and testing, we have just launched the second prototype of the mobile augmented reality application. In much of this development period we have been ensuring that the application will work across a wide range of phones and...Read full article

Local Trade-Local Wealth prototype testing with ESTA

Articleby Paul Coulton
Local Trade-Local Wealth prototype testing with ESTA

Local Trade is a Catalyst launch pad to create a system which records trading patterns within the local trading economy of Lancaster. We are working with Lancaster Ethical Small Traders Association (ESTA) to create a prototype system using NFC enabled phones and cards to help record the local trading economy. Last night we demonstrated the first prototype to the ESTA group and will be incorporating some suggested changes before ‘in the wild’...Read full article

You can find a list of Paul Coulton's publications on the Lancaster University research pages.

Key Projects

Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy Creating and Exploring Digital Empathy How do we unlock the digital communication of empathy
FictionWareFictionWare FictionWare For all your future Design Fiction needs!
Creative ExchangeCreative Exchange Creative Exchange Creating New Contexts for Growth in the Experience Economy