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

Hack Lancaster: A 24hr hackathon in celebration of local data in Lancaster.

Event2 years, 4 months and 29 days ago
Hack Lancaster: A 24hr hackathon in celebration of local data in Lancaster.

29th of November 2014, A-wing, Lancaster Castle

As part of the ongoing ‘Beyond the Castle’ project, Lancaster City and County Councils will be running an intensive hack day in Lancaster Castle at the end of this month.

The hackathon will bring together local coders,...Read full update

Game Design in an Internet of Things

OutcomeJournal Paper
Game Design in an Internet of Things

Partly inspired by various projects on the Creative Exchange, and while on my sabbatical at the BBC, I wrote up this journal paper with my PhD students on the challenges for Game Design in an Internet of Things. The reality is that one of the most successful examples of the Internet of Things is the...More information

BARTER Project goes Open Source

The code base produced as part of the BARTER project is being released Open Source so that other communities can benifit from the research.

As we enter the final stages of the BARTER the project where we are starting to release the project code base to the open source community. This code...Read full update

Wicked Persuasion: A Designerly Approach

OutcomeConference Paper

Persuasive computing has tended to be applied toward the promotion of minor behavior change in the direction of easily understood and uncontroversial goals. Such approaches may not make sense, however, when designing for so called ‘wicked problems’. We argue that while wicked...More information

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

Emma Murphy talks research with Create Hub

Emma Murphy talks research with Create Hub

Interview with Samuel Fry about the Taking the Artwork Home project.

Dr Emma Murphy was asked to give a short interview with Create Hub, a publication that seeks to explore innovations and collaborations between art and technology. They were particularly interested in the collaborative...Read full update

Making in the City (3D Printing) Design Jam

Making in the City (3D Printing) Design Jam

Bringing London-based digital and creative small and medium businesses together to create innovate concepts for cities.

ImaginationLancaster is organising three ‘Cities Design Jams’ in central London that will focus on diverse themes within cities. The first design jam will take place on the...Read full update

Big Data Art

Big Data Art

How do you visulaise 2.5 billion calls and text messages exchanged between 5 million users?

As an output from some research using supplied as part of the Orange Data For Development Challenge we created a novel 3D printed representation of the data. The data itself relates to Orange phones...Read full update

Imagination welcomes Dr JongHo Lee from SADI, South Korea

Event3 years, 10 months and 11 days ago
Imagination welcomes Dr JongHo Lee from SADI, South Korea

17th of June 2013

Dr JongHo Lee, Head of Product Design Department and UXLab Leader at SADI visits ImaginationLancaster while in Europe

Imagination recently welcomed Dr JongHo Lee from Samsung Art and Design Institute (http://www.sadi.net/) while he was visiting Europe on a...Read full update

Taking the Artwork Home: App Update

Taking the Artwork Home: App Update

Augmented Reality Prototype Demo Ready!

Our very own Paul Coulton and Klen Copic Pucihar from m-ventions have been working tirelessly in the Imagination Lab to put together the very first demo prototype of our MAR app. This has been developed for our visit to our co-funders NESTA tomorrow. To...Read full update

NuBlue provides support for BARTER

NuBlue are providing free hosting for BARTER to log research data in the cloud.

We are delighted that InfoLab21 company NuBlue has offered to provide BARTER with free hosting for the duration of the project. This allows us to utilise a scalable virtual hosting platform t...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