School of Computing, Media & the Arts
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Michael Stockton

Head of Department (Media and Creative Industries)

Michael Stockton

About Michael Stockton

Mick has worked in the media, entertainment and advertising industries for over 20 years. Initially graduating from Northumbria University with an Honours degree in Computing, he quickly realised his interest lay in the emerging digital design and creative sectors and worked for a number of agencies around the UK in radio, television and graphic design for print. Building on his love of the sector and his acquired business knowledge, he initiated his own design agency in the mid 90’s with great success, but seeing the change in the requirements of the industry in terms of content, he sold the company and decided to undertake a Masters at Teesside University on the internationally acclaimed Computer Aided Graphical Technology Applications (CAGTA) programme in 2001.

Upon graduation, he initially worked in London before accepting a role at the pioneering North East post-production facility Mere Mortals. This opportunity allowed him to travel the world working with games giants such as Microsoft, EA, Sony and Nintendo, designing and developing games products and content across all leading platforms.

Due to the multiplatform nature of the company and the massively talented cross-discipline creative and technology teams, he also designed, developed and delivered products for mobile platforms such as Android, iPhone and iPad, while working with veteran and new industry leaders such as Handmark, Samsung and Chillingo to deliver new and innovative apps, games and products for online and mobile devices. From the traditional moving image perspective, he has worked on many television productions for internationally respected producers such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Endemol as well as working on many feature films including the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Weeks Later and Sunshine.

He has also designed and developed many interactive and web products over the years for companies such as the BBC, Walker Books and the Highways Agency among others.

Mick has deep love for his favoured industries - games, mobile, interactive and moving image - which sees his approach come from one of content rather than platform, and he remains in regular contact with his extensive international contacts to ensure all deliverable content is relevant and up-to-date to best prepare students for the ever-changing requirements of the industries.

Research interests and activities

Mick is primarily interested in the convergence in approach of design, business and technical industries and the possibilities this will create for the future in areas of new and emerging media. He believes that understanding and harnessing the lessons learned from the games industry will lead to a holistic vision for content creation, and lead to self sustaining Intellectual Property worlds which are created by IP holders and then given to the fans as a set of world ‘rules’ within which they evolve and create content. This will see a change in worth and value in the areas of content from one which is exclusive - seeking to separate itself from its consumers by the expense and scale of technology, to an inclusive model which welcomes and encourages experimentation and creation from the fans who know more about the world than the IP holders themselves. This will see a shift in power and worth from those with technical skill, who understand the tools, to those with the creative skills and vision, making content platform irrelevant. This will lead to the afore-mentioned self-sustaining IP worlds with more content being created by fans of the idea, and see the creative talent as moderators of the content, tasked with ensuring the rules of the world are followed. The financial implications and ownership of content have interesting moral and ethical implications, but the social implications of consumers becoming self reliant within a controlled environment could border on revolutionary.

Mick would like to investigate the issues arising from the gamification of our everyday interactions where all tasks are beginning to be rewarded with points. From video games, to airmiles, to clubcards such as Nectar all the way through to Amazon recommends, the motivations created to monitor and track our movements and behaviours are becoming ever more invasive and subtle. Where 5 years ago there were demonstrations in the streets with regards to invasion of privacy form CCTV cameras, we now welcome these invasions and see them as a benefit to aiding our decisions to the point we share ever more personal information with all the data capture social networks which permeate our lives such as Facebook and MySpace. Mick is interested in investigating the effect of this and would like to apply some of the principals explored in a text aimed at teaching from Alfie Kohn – ‘Punished by rewards’, which suggests this constant drip of micro reward for living our lives is both counterproductive and destructive.

Enterprise interest and activities

Mick is interested in emerging media platforms – physical and social, which are becoming ever more important for industry. He has extensive games and interactive knowledge as a designer, producer and developer, and understands how to get products to market quickly and efficiently.

He has many years of television and film post-production experience dealing with all levels of project from local advertising to Hollywood movie effects in terms of production and direction. He is primarily a creative developer and is interested in helping companies develop concepts and content to get them to a position where they can be monetised as efficiently as possible, particularly in the areas of new and emerging media. He is an above-the-line creative director rather than a technical-based craftsman.

Mick's skills include design, development, production and creative content creation across games, television, linear and non linear films and television, motion graphics and special effects production, advertising and interactive industries.


In the news

  • TIGA calls for network to strengthen game development clusters
    comunicati.net (Web), 18/9/2014; Cloud Computing Journal,
    Teesside University School of Arts & Media principal lecturer Mick Stockton comments on the changing media industry and the need for a different kind of graduate.