Professor Paul Coulton

Professor of Speculative and Game Design

Speculative Design, Design Fiction, Game Design, Design as Rhetoric, Design Philosophy, Research through Design, Design Futures, More-Than Human Centered Design, Play, Toys


My research can more generally considered as Speculative Design. Speculative Design combines real and/or hypothetical extrapolations of the development of emerging technologies with a consideration of the cultural landscape into which they may be deployed. This activity is embodied as ‘research through design’ and, in particular, to the design of speculative physical/digital interactive games, playful experiences, and artefacts. Elements of my research has been conducted using an, ‘situated’ evaluation methodology in that I have utilised ‘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 Game Developers Conference. Increasingly, my work encompasses a particular practice of Speculative Design which is Design Fiction as a way of exploring futures for areas such as the Internet of Things and Machine Learning. Design Fictions are collections of artefacts, that, when viewed together build a fictional world. The artificially built world is a prototyping platform for the very designs that define it, meanwhile those designs reciprocate in kind and prototype the world.

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

Projects from Paul Coulton