Material Engagement + Technicity + Consciousness


The Metatechnicity Research Group’s aim is to bring fresh insight to history and trajectories by (re)introducing consciousness into the narratives, descriptions and understandings of technology.



Our research looks deeper in time and wider in scope than much contemporary human or user centred design bringing new and nonlinear narratives to design, humans, technology and the earth

We want to bring greater depth understandings of the ways in which the human mind is intertwined with the earth and is materialised in and through designed artefacts, and how that materialisation through artefacts shapes the mind.

Our work has been developed in relation to recent and emerging postphenomenological and new-materialist human histories, and can be seen as a form of archaeology that attempts to bring an anthropological and evolutionary foundation to design and our understandings of technicity.

Through our transdisciplinary engagement merging design, archaeology and cognitive science, our work has implications for understandings of design practice, the cognitive sciences, human histories and the sustainable projection of our species.

Metatech are:

  • Dr Stephen Thompson ::: A designer-theorist concerned with the relational nature of cognition and the material world, as it is enacted by means of a widely distributed and emergent bio-technic ‘soma’. Steve is a trustee of the OpenUp Music charity.
  • Dr Martyn Woodward ::: A media theorist concerned with the relational nature of cognition and the material world, as can be made apparent through an archaeology of depictions and other visual artefacts over time.
  • Amelia Johnstone ::: An MPhil/PhD research project which explores the idetic  experience and memory of drawing while running. Questions of performance, spatiality and experience collide and are encrypted through the drawings themselves and in the places in which they were drawn. Amelia aims to become the ultimate-itinerant-illustrator running and drawing through the world. (Thompson. Woodward.)
  • Henry ‘Griff’ Hill ::: CAVE An MPhil/PhD research project examining how material engagement theory can help designers to understand their historical, current and future role as agents in the shaping of human cognition and to strengthen the dialogue between designers and archaeologists. Griff’s focuses upon the role designed artefacts play in the development of embodied cognition and hopes to bring new insight to interaction design and usability, and to archaeology. Firstly as a means for designers to more fully account for the ways in which they approach the design of human interactions and secondly to bring new design focused insight to archaeology by opening a dialogue between those who create artefacts and those who study them. (Thompson. Woodward. Malafouris.
  • Theo Humphries ::: A PhD research project that scopes a new theory of malentanglement. Deviation from an expected order of things can illuminates engagements with designed artefacts and the inhabited ‘designed world’. Malentanglement is proposed as a means to understand the role and place of humour in design, and as a means to account for the difficulties faced by design/designers when describing highly innovative artefacts or aesthetics to other parties – such as clients or the wider public. The research has impact into understanding the role of humour in effective participatory and user-centred design practice. (Thompson. Pepperell. Punt.) Theo is a charity trustee of OpenUp Music.
  • Rachel Eardley ::: A PhD research project that seeks to understand hand movement as a facet of cognition and how it can be accounted for in HCI research terms, specifically in respect to the design of mobile phones. The research tests ways in which micro-movements of the hand afford a higher level of complexity in sensorimotor action in human – non-human cognitive processes. The research has impact in terms to understandings for the design and additional potential of small device interaction. (Thompson. Gill. Roudaut.)


Metatech  are always looking for people to join us:

As colleagues and partners : We are particularly concerned to talk with others who are interested in the non-linear development of technologies, practices and ideas in any discipline. Please do contact us if you are interested in a conversation about this by clicking on the ‘menu’ and selecting the contact link. 

As PhD researchers : The Metatechnicity group and its extended community provides an experienced MRes and doctoral environment for interdisciplinary practitioners who explore the archaeological, historical and philosophical aspects of science, technology, the arts, design and popular culture with a focus placed upon the development and roles of cognition within these domains. Please do contact us if you are interested in a conversation about this by clicking on the ‘menu’ and selecting the contact link. 

As MA or MRes students : We are also developing a Master curriculum and invite students with undergraduate degrees in any discipline who have graduated, or will graduate soon. Metatech iMasters offers a kind of approach to Human Centred Design – except that it looks deeper in time and wider in scope than most designers and scientists do. We want Masters students who want to understand as much as they can about how technology is shaped by and shapes the cognition of the human species; its ideas; its imagination and its ambitions. Can you find new ways of understanding the histories of things and bring new ideas to how we might rethink who we are (as a species) and what we might become? Please do contact us if you are interested in a conversation about this by clicking on the ‘menu’ and selecting the contact link.   unknown


Metatechnicty Research Group collaborates with:

Dr Lambros Malafouris : Keble College,University of Oxford : Institute of Archaeology

Prof. Dr Michael Punt : Plymouth University : Transtechnology Research

Dr Anne Roudaut : University of Bristol : Bristol Interaction Group

Prof. Robert Pepperell : Cardiff Metropolitan University : FovoLab

Prof Steve Gill : Cardiff Metropolitan University : UCD Research

Barry Farrimond CEO : OpenUp : OpenUp Music


Lead design research group in the CAVE research project.


Metatechnicity Research is member of the Meta Research Group


Cardiff School of Art & Design

Cardiff Metropolitan University