Mr Jim Thompson

Principal Lecturer

School of Journalism, Media and Performance

Media Factory, ME014

+44 (0) 1772 89 3371

Subject Areas: Design, Media

Principal Lecturer in Games Design. Responsible for the initial development of Games Design as an academic subject at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. My research interests are in pervasive and live action games, their design, development and operation. Previous experience of Product and 3 Dimensional Design has lead me to working with postgraduate students on Toy Design. Significant consultancy experience in developing Game and Product concepts for external clients. Broad experience as an external examiner.

Full Profile

Jim was the leader of the team that initially developed the undergraduate Games Design curriculum at UCLan in 2002, and the post graduate Games Design course in 2003. The initial success of these courses is reflected in the number of alumni working at senior levels of the industry nationally and internationally. The course continues to work with industry and produce high quality graduates across a wide range of roles in the games industry. His particular interest in this area is the underlying creative processes of developing game and play concepts and how they engage the player.

Between 2009 and 2013 Jim was engaged as the Acting Head of The School of Design and this post developed into the Associate Head of the School of Art, Design and Performance. During this period Jim worked across many aspects of management within H.E. both in the UK and Internationally. He has worked as an external examiner and external panel member for validations for many institutions.

His research is focussed around games that occur in the physical world and how they are created. These games are commonly referred to as pervasive or live action games. His research focusses on the development of these games without overt reliance on high technology and to be accessible to people who are not normally predisposed to these activities. He believes that there is a growing audience for this type of game and it has a place as a leisure activity and potentially a benign awareness raising experience.

Jim has been a specialist advisor for a board game to facilitate input from service users in a mental health environment. He is currently working in collaboration with UCLan colleagues and Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in developing a highly accessible board game to support occupational therapy practice. He has presented papers and seminars on both Industrial and Games design during his academic career and remains engaged in developing creative practice for the design of games.

Jim maintains an interest in Industrial Design and 3D design and this provides an interesting meeting point between objects and play in the form of toys and their design and implication.

He has an interest in developing large scale theatre like sets for play and games and would one day like the opportunity to create full play environments for live play activities.

Research Interests

Jim is interested in the research of pervasive and live action Games.


Thompson, J. Berbank, B. (2007) The Computer Game Design Course: Principles, Practices and Techniques for the Aspiring Game Designer. Thames and Hudson

B Lamey, C Bristow & J Thompson “The design development of a “Serious” board game– Mediating the tension between playing the game and modelling experience for the purpose of gathering information” 2008 Design Emotion Conference, Hong Kong Polytechnic

Thompson J. “More than meets the eye” 2002 Design Emotion Conference, Loughborough University

McDonagh, D, Thompson J. “Human Centred Design in Undergraduate Education”1997 Product Design and Development Conference, Brunel University.


Current Project: Development of pervasive games based in the urban environment. Particular focus on proposals that are not overly reliant on technology to facilitate them. These games are designed to offer access to a broad range of players and people not normally disposed to this type of activity. The project also explores concepts around the proposal that through gaming participants can be lead to address ideas such as how we relate to environment and ourselves.

External Collaboration: Working with colleagues from the School of Health and partners from Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust to produce a game that facilitates conversation and self-reflection as part of the healing process for occupational therapy and rehabilitation.

Teaching activities and responsibilities

M.A. Games Design, M.A. Toy Design. School lead for Partnership and collaborative provision


  • M.A. Industrial Design Manchester Metropolitan University 1995
  • B.A. (Hons) Industrial Design Manchester Metropolitan University 1993
  • Enrolled on Doctor of Arts UCLan 2014-present