Personal details

Dr Debra Polson
Senior Lecturer in Interaction Design
Creative Industries Faculty,
School of Design Office,
Interactive and Visual Design
Discipline *
Design Practice and Management, Film, Television and Digital Media
+61 7 3138 5928
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Identifiers and profiles
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Doctor of Philosophy (Queensland University of Technology), Bachelor of Arts (Visual Arts) (Uni of South Australia)


Interaction Design, Design Innovation, Simulation Design, Game Design, Digital Media, Design Strategy, Design-based Research, Collaboration Design, Visualisation Design, Data Visualisation

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Background Deb Polson is a senior academic and independent designer, focused on exploiting unique aspects of new and old technologies to imagine the future of human experience. For over 20 years Deb has been an active member of both the design industry and academy in the fields of game and simulation design, experimenting and innovating in the vibrant intersections of art, design, and science in Australia, China, the US and UK. Deb has led a number of major CRC projects into commercialisation phase, completed a senior research fellowship, designed and delivered over 30 new design theory and practice courses, and supervised numerous coursework masters and RHD students. Deb continues to lead large-scale, trans-discipline projects in her current position driven by a passion for sharing complex scenarios in accessible and playful ways. Current work only…


Research and Creative Projects

  • – Most recently Deb was commissioned to design and install works that present extreme mashups of new technologies including VR, AR, projection mapping, 3D sound and live sensor data…
  • – Future Fruits is a collaboration with plant developers and biologists to model, visualise and experiement with the modification of fruit in an effort to find ways to better produce and distribute food effectively.
  • – The ECOS project was a commissioned work for the launch of the Cube installation at QUT. ECOS is a playful, interactive simulation that allows visitors to experiment with alternate energy generation and consumption options in response to QUT building energy data and live weather data across 6 cities in the 6 main climate zones (Brisbane, Paris, Cairo, …)… demonstrating the unique and important opportunity we have on the east coast of Australia to engage in natural energy innovation and deployment.
  • – Commissioned by Edge Digital Centre and the State Library of Queensland. The ZomPoc project was a mixed reality event that was designed for 48 hours of continous play in the centre of Brisbanes Art District. Adopting and adapting old and new technologies to create an augmented experience in activating urban environments through curated public performance and play.
  • – 8 major mixed reality game events designed and deployed across multiple locations in multiple Australian cities. Commissioned by QUT, Arts Victoria, ACMI, State Library of Victoria, Victoria University, Melbourne Museum and the NGV.  Designed to augment, subvert and disrupt peoples interactions with traditional public places… transforming institutional spaces into playful, creative, inspiring and thoughtful ones… full of potential for all it’s citizens.

Teaching Innovation

  • – a blog reporting on teaching activities associated with Deb’s interests in designing solutions for future scenarios – speculative design and rapid prototyping
  • – a blog reporting on Deb’s interest in designing augmented reality experiences with post-graduate students – experience design, urban interventions, virtual and augmented reality, speculative technology

Industry Engagement and Mentorship

  • – HUB Studios was a special initiative to bring together exceptional students from across the university to collaborate with industry to exploit and adapt game design technologies and practices across multiple domains. Deb brings industry projects as well as encourages and supports personal projects as opportunities for emerging artists, programmers, sound designers and interaction designers to refine their specific skills and develop new skills that emerge from rapid, experimental, agile and collaborative practices.
  • – Narrative tablet game developed with a selected team and industry mentors from across local games studios in Brisbane
  •  – Mobile game developed and released on the Apple Store by a team selected from across the university with mentors from River City Labs in Brisbane
  • – a mobile game similar to an endless runner game, made by a team of artists and programmer to experiment with mobile accelerometers for player control.
This information has been contributed by Dr Debra Polson.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Curatorial/Juried selection of work for Exhibition Recording/Screening etc.
Reference year
Presentation of the SCOOT Event and Installations simultaneously between The National Gallery of Victoria, State Library of Victoria, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Federation Square, Melbourne Museum. SCOOT is a mixed reality and mixed technology game designed for groups to engage in the history, people, artefacts and stories embedded and often hidden in our cultural spaces. Through specifically facilitated exploration and interaction, SCOOT encouraged players to re-imagine their access to place and their agency as the producers of culture. On September 17, 2006 the Age newspaper named SCOOT as the number one activity for families in the school holidays and an expert reviewer, Christian McCrea, wrote"through play, it (SCOOT) encouraged players to embrace fragments of site history and identity and to discover through the game paths the resources and offerings of each of the participating organisations. Scoot took players to places that they may not have found otherwise, using
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
Invited Speaker and International Mentor. X Media Lab: Games and Learning. Seminar Series and Creative Workshops. X Media Lab is the internationally acclaimed think-tank and creative workshop for digital media professionals.
Visiting Professorships/Fellowships
Reference year
Awarded $240,000 for a 3 year Fellowship at the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design where Polson became the Program Manager for a new initiative called ¿Building Global Networks¿. In this position Polson facilitated a number of international and national collaborations across multiple disciplines and conceived and completed a series of projects, three of which were selected for commercialisation. Polson also undertook extensive case study research for ACID on areas relating to major initiatives, projects and partners, significantly contributing to stakeholder knowhow and improved capacity in Australia, the US and the UK.