Ms Polly Macpherson

Ms Polly Macpherson

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in 3D Design

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)


AssociateProfessor in Design (0.75)
Award Leader for 3D Design BA (Hons) Designer Maker & MA Design - Maker & Materials within the School of Architecture, Design & Environment. 
Joint Programme Lead for BA(Hons) 3D Design - Student Experiences
European and International Exchange Coordinator
Academic Lead for AFFINITY – FoAH Creative & Innovation partner
Faculty Advisory Board Member
Member of new University Senate from 2016/17


MA Ceramics - University of Wales
BA (Hons) 3D Design - University of Wolverhampton
Deans Honours List for Excellence - California State University Long Beach 

Dynamics of Leadership Performance Coach - Cultural Leadership Prog. - Arts Council England, CCSkills & MLA funded.      

CG7307/02 Teaching Cert. SDC/Plymouth University
Preparing for business N.V.Q. 3

Winner of 2010 Conference Prize, Drawing Research Network, University of Brighton.
The Watt Memorial Trust Award for Travel & Academic studies

Professional membership

FRSA - Fellow Royal Society of the Arts
NACHE - National Association of Ceramics in Higher Education
CHEAD - Council Higher Education in Art & Design
HEA - Member of the Higher Education Academy.

Roles on external bodies

External Expert / Engagement2010 - Present: 

-The Movement Issue no.9 Hole & Corner magazine contributed to The Makers’ Manifesto. Expert Panel.
- Port Eliot Festival – Creativecollaboration Hole & Corner, Benchmark +
- LINLEY Summer School - Negotiated &selected a Designer Maker student for a scholarship to take part in this inaugural opportunity (1 of 8 nationally).
- London Crafts Week‘Piano Craft’ staff collaboration with Hole & Corner Magazine & Steinway& co.
- London Crafts Week – ‘MarvellousMechanica’ student/staffcollaboration with Hole & CornerMagazine.

- Port Eliot Festival –Creative collaboration Hole & Corner, Benchmark +

- Board of Trustees - The Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

- All Makers Now conference Reviewer Falmouth University.

- Creative & Cultural Skills -Expert Advisor

- Craft Council Hothouse 3, South West coordinator.
-Invited selector for 2013 ‘Get Fresh’ Exhibition, Emerging Designer- Makers from the South West. Devon Guild ofCraftsmen, Arts Council.

- Invited attendee of Craft + STEM in the 21st century’,Crafts Council, Associate Parliamentary Design &Innovation Group, House of Commons
- Contributor to Design Commission,Restarting Britain, Design Ed.& Growth.
- Invited attendee of The Internetof Things Ideas Lab, Presented by the Crafts Council and Watershed
- Judge, ContemporaryCraft Fair,

- Invited Selector for 2011 Contemporary Craft Fair.
-Clore Leadership Programme: Board development day.
-Consultant - Crafts Councils Higher Value: Redefining Best Practicein CraftsGraduate Support 
- External Expert/AssessorQuinquennial Review: Hereford College of Art, Uni. ofWales B.A.(Hons)Blacksmithing & BA (Hons) Cont. Applied Arts. 

Teaching interests

The inventing, creating, manufacturing, constructing, building, producing, designing and making of objects and artefacts.

                 how things are made….how things can be made better… this can be taught

The nurturing of individuals so to develop original creative voices.


Staff serving as external examiners

2014+     External Examiner, Cardiff Metropolitan University: BA (Hon) Artist Designer Maker

2012+     External Examiner, University of Ulster: MFA Multidisciplinary Design

2012+     ExternalExaminer, Liverpool Hope University: Design BDes (Hons) 

2013       External Examiner, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts - Singapore: BA (hons) Fine Art, Graphic Design and 3D Design New Practice Validated by Loughborough University.

2011-13  External Examiner, Loughborough University: BA (hons)3D Design New Practice
2009       External Expert/Assessor Quinquennial Review: Hereford College of Art, University of Wales B.A.(Hons)Blacksmithing & BA (Hons) Contemporary Applied Arts 


Jan.-March 2011
Guest Professor in the Industrial Design Department, Faculty of Architecture at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok,Thailand.

Research interests


My interests align with research thinking about archaeology,materiality, place and space with additional categories of Mapping,Journey and Movement; exploring the different ways in which these themes can be presented, organized and structured.
As a visual cartographer and maker I am interested in materials, in making ‘things’, in how ‘things’ are made and in       how ‘things’ could/can be made/used to enhance and or change perceptions in or of environments and situations. 
There are a variety of different ways in which I have successfully executed these ideas through the mixing of materials (concrete, clay, wood, combustibles), sound investigation & film/stills to produce objects, drawings and images.

Other research

Creative practice & artistic projects

Current & Recent Exhibitions / Creative / Research Outputs: 

- Co-coordinator ‘Journeys and Transmission’ Summer Symposium, Land/Water and the Visual Arts Research Group, Plymouth.         
- Buckland Abbey, Yelverton ‘things-meaning’/Practice research project. 

-'Trajectories - Future Pathways in Design'.Exhibition Dutch Design Week, NL
- Can things be good tour guides2? Making Futures 4, PCA Academic paper. 
-'New Economies New Ecologies',Exhibition Salone Internazionale Del Mobile, Milan, Italy. 
- Can things be good tourguides? IRFGT ESHTE Portugal, Academic paper. 
- ‘Envelope’ Exhibition PeninsularArts Gallery, Plymouth. 

- Things-Meanings Castle Drogo – Research project with NationalTrust. 

- ‘Cabinet: Connection and Collection’Peninsular Arts Gallery Plymouth.
- ‘Cupola’ Film Presentation,Pairing conference Manchester Met. Uni.


- Presenting 'THE BACKS', Exhibition at TheDevon & Exeter Institution.
- Land/Water Exhibition,Northampton University.
-“Observation, Mapping, Dialogue”Poster/Paper, Drawing Research Network Annual Conference University of Brighton.
- ‘Ambulation’ Selected Exhibition, PlymouthArts Centre.
- ‘Renewal & Regeneration’ Exhibition,Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton.

- Mobile Machinoeki’ Commissioned Art works, Arts Council funded
- ‘A Light Walk’ Film, Sound and Film-Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival, Plymouth
- Roots of Learning, Schumacher College
- ‘A Light Walk’ Film Spacex Contemporary ArtGallery, Exeter

Additional Creative Works:


Research groups

  • Culture, Theory, Space
  • Design Knowledge
  • Land/Water and the Visual Arts

'Reading THE BACKS'  ISBN-13: 978-0-9569695-0-7 TheBacks Index

This publication discusses thecreative activities and processes describing the phenomenological readingof a library as a space of knowledge.


Other academic activities

  • Chair of Peninsular Arts Galleries Programming Advisory Group
  • Complaint & Appeals Board
  • Academic Lead for 3D Workshops
  • Plymouth Award Management Group
  • 3D Design Visiting Lecturer Programmer
  • UPC/University Link Academic Advisor to theFDA Ceramics, Cornwall College and FDA Petroc College
  • UPC/University Link Academic Advisor to FDA/BA Silversmithing &Jewellery, Truro College.
  • Senior Management Team - School of Architecture & Design
  • Academic Promotions Board – Faculty of Arts (2007-2009)
  • University Staff Survey (Capita)Committee member
  • MSc Paediatric Dietetics validation
  • MA CAP validation
  • Graduate Committee member
  • TQA Faculty of Arts & Learning, Teaching & Research Forum
  • Interview panels

Plymouth University Complaint & Appeals Board

Chair Peninsular Arts Gallery Programming and Advisory Group
Peninsula Arts operates from within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and serves as the Arts and Culture programming organisation for the University of Plymouth. The year-round public programme includes exhibitions, music, film, talks and performing arts. Its aim is to provide a prestigious and wide-ranging series of events that opens up the arts and university to the people of Plymouth, the South West and visitors to the region.

Plymouth Award Management Group

This scheme recognises the extra-curricular achievements of students graduating from the University of Plymouth.

3D Design Visiting Lecturing Programmer

The programme bringing to Plymouth national & international speakers including sculptor Peter Randall-Page, Jolyn Brewis (Partner of Sir Nicolas Grimshaw Ass.), Alastair Fuad-Luke (sustainable design facilitator), Karoline Newman (Articulate Communication), Andrea Stemmer (Designer to HEALS), and Janet Stoyle MBE (Textile Artist).
-Peter Randall-Page“…It was an innovative idea to invite us both to talk together, the event was extremely well organised with a full house of interested students who asked intelligent and pertinent questions. A total success from my point of view.”,
-Jolyn Brewis (Eden Project, Managing Partner of Sir Nicolas Grimshaw As’tes.)
“I have given talks in many academic and public institutions both in the UK and abroad; my visit to Plymouth was amongst the most enjoyable, and the most informative for me. I am grateful to Polly for making it so."

UPC/University Link Academic Advisor
The University of Plymouth Colleges (UPC) network is a partnership between the University of Plymouth and local colleges that brings degrees to local doorsteps. Academics working at the University work as critical friends for validation and assessment.

Additional information

Creative Works:

Accredited Coach - Performance Coach Training/The Cultural Leadership Programme
, Coaching Skills for Leadership Foundation Course
I coach people from all spheres and at all stages in their lives, working to help them to find clarity on a single area or to shape future developments. The work is about helping individuals to find their own solutions and could be a one off session or a series of sessions depending on the depth and clarity needed.
My clients include artists, designers, educators, charity and local authority workers to name a few. Coaching areas include goal setting, clarifying areas, working though an stumbling point, finding time/putting a plan together for you/your creative practice/family, working on limited beliefs, head clearing,
preparing for a particular event and learning how to have none confrontational conversations.


Polly Macpherson


3D Design - Plymouth University

MA Design -  Plymouth University

Facebook - 3D Design with Plymouth University