Dr Stephen Thompson

s-thompson-150px.jpgAcademic Lead of Graduate Studies
e: sthompson@cardiffmet.ac.uk
w: metatechnicityresearch.net

Specialist Subject Areas

I am a designer-theorist who is concerned with metaphysiological interplay of the body and tools in the enaction of cognition. My research concerns speculative and transdisciplinary approaches to the practice and philosophy of technology, design and cognition, I place a particular focus upon the role of technology in the relational nature of cognition and the material world, as it is enacted by means of a widely distributed and emergent bio-technic ‘soma’. My research ranges from the highly speculative through to more applied aspects of HCI research.

Teaching and Management  
For several years I was the Deputy Dean of Cardiff School of Art & Design developing and ensuring the student experience quality of the curriculum. My current role as the Schools Academic Lead of Graduate Studies is focussed upon the development of Art & Design Research Students through from undergraduate studies into doctoral research and through to completion. I also teach industrial design conceptualisation.


Master of Arts Royal College of Art
BA (Hons) Design for Industry


Stephen started his career working for a number of design consultancies in Britain and Germany before establishing his own design practice and eventually moving into a career as a University Art & Design academic where he has built a reputation as both a transdisciplinary theorist and an expert in transdisciplinary education.

Stephen is a co-convenor of the Metatechnicity Research at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and a member of the Transtechnicity Research Network at the University of Plymouth.

Stephen leads the Design Futures Masters pathway and is the Director of the Master of Research (Art & Design) programme. He also supervises 9 PhD researchers and teaches undergraduates cognition, conceptual and speculative design and ideas for the progression of humanity.

He is a trustee of a charity, OpenUp Music : The Disabled Youth Orchestra.


Current research


Metatechnicity Research Group 

Contemporary concerns to be sustainable lie in finding a means to ensure a bio-diverse future for the planet, its species and ourselves. Metatechnicity Research aims to imagine how we might overcome some of the tensions and contradictions which plague such an ambition. We ask what role the humanities, art and design may play in (re)imagining such futures through critical posthumanist dialogues. We are a transdisciplinary doctoral and postdoctoral research community exploring the interrelations between the technological, material, cognitive, non-human and ecological temporalities that may inform our understanding of the past, present and future. Our wider research community extends across Cardiff Metropolitan University, Bristol University, University of Buckingham, Oxford University, Plymouth University and also Tomas Bata University, Zlin. 


Principal Publications and/or Exhibitions

Barritt, L., Popovac, M., Woodward, M., & Thompson, S., (2021). 'Abstraction pedagogy and the critical pedagogical importance of art education for other discipline areas: entangled ontology in the postdigital era'. iJADE 2021: Hybrid Spaces. International Journal of Art and Design Education. International Journal of Art and Design Education. March 2021. 

Barritt, L., Popovac, M., Woodward, M., & Thompson, S., (2021). (Re)considering pedagogy: entangled ontology in a postdigital age. Buckingham Journal of Education; University of Buckingham, May 2021. Vol. 3. pp tbc.  

Thompson, S. (2018). Design Futures: A Trans-active Curriculum Community-based Approach to the Development of Student Self-confidence, Empowerment and Entrepreneurship. In: Matheson, R. Tangney, S. and Sutcliffe, M. (2018). Transition In, Through and Out of Higher Education. London, Routledge. Pp186 – 188. 

Eardley, R., Roudaut, A., Gill, S., and Thompson, S. (2018). Designing for Multiple Hand Grips and Body Postures within the UX of a moving Smartphone. DIS 2008 – Hong Kong. June 2018. 

Eardley, R., Roudaut, A., Gill, S., and Thompson, S. (2018). Investigating How Smartphone Movement is Affected by Body Posture. CHI ACM – Montreal. April 2018. 

Humphries, T., Pepperell, R., Punt, M. and Thompson, S., (2017). Malentangled: Function Redacting Tape. In: Research Through Design 2017 (RTD2017). Edinburgh, UK, 22–24 March 2017. 

Eardley, R., Roudaut, A., Gill, S., and Thompson, S. (2017). Understanding Grip Shifts: How form factors impact hand movements on mobile phones. CHI ACM – Denver. May 2017. 

Humphries, T., Pepperell, R., Punt, M. and Thompson, S. (2016). Malentangled: Function Redacting Tape. Prototyping 2016 Expo. Kortrijk Expo Centre, Kortrijk, Belgium, 9–10 November 2016. 

Eardley, R., Roudaut, A., Gill, S., and Thompson, S. (2016). Investigating How the Hand Interacts with Different Mobile Phones. Mobile HCI., 16. Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services Adjunct. Florence. 2016. 

Public Talks / Engagement 

Seckam, A. Thompson, S. and. M, Woodward. (Convenors). Dialogues: The intertwined tapestry of art and science. Art/Science Exchange Workshop. Symposia. Cardiff, November 2019. Metatechnicity Research and Biochemical Society. 

I am a trustee of OpenUp Music : The Disabled Youth Orchestra. Open Up Music's mission is to make orchestras accessible to young disabled people. Founded in 2007, we are unique among SEN/D arts organisations in our sharply defined and clearly articulated focus on orchestras. We have two strategically connected programmes of work. 

Doctoral Research Completions

Dr Martyn Woodward
The Multi-dimensional Depth of the Image: Body-Environment-Artefact
(PhD) (ESF) (2014) Transtechnology Research, University of Plymouth.
Dr John Vines
Ageing Futures: Towards Cognitively Inclusive Digital Media Products (PhD) (AHRC) (2010) Transtechnology Research, University of Plymouth.
Dr Taslima Miah
A Postcolonial Critique of Industrial Design: a critical evaluation of the relationship of culture and hegemony to design practice and education since the late 20th century. (PhD) (2014) Transtechnology Research, University of Plymouth.

Supervision of current Doctoral Research

Theo Humphries
Understanding The Function Of Humour In Product Design, And For Product Design. (MPhil) (2013) Metatechnology Research, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Rachel Eardley
The unexplored opportunities of the biomechanical human hand and the role it plays in the design of technology. (MPhil) (2013) Design Research, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Alise Piebalga
How do developments in hybrid art affect the perception of the human–technology relationship? ArtSci Research, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

M. Fakri Othman
Novel Techniques for Teaching Handwriting Utilising Rotoscoping. (MPhil) (2013) CARIAD, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Supervision of  current MPhil Research Students

Theo Roe
Understanding the Role of Enchantment in the Industrial Design Process. ArtSci Research, Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Henry Gruffudd Hill
Design and Archaeology and the Technium: Dialogues and methods. Metatechnology Research, Cardiff Metropolitan University