Ms Polly Macpherson

Ms Polly Macpherson

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in 3D Design

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


Associate Professor in Design - Designer Maker
Award Leader for 3D Design BA (Hons) Designer Maker & MA Design - Maker & Materials within the School of Architecture, Design & Environment. 
European and International Exchange Coordinator
Academic Lead for AFFINITY - Affinity with Plymouth University exist to nurture and deliver engagement and knowledge transfer between academia and the creative industries.


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

Board of Trustees - The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, Devon.
Expert Advisor - Creative & Cultural Skills
Hot House South West coordinator - Craft Council 2012
Craft + STEM in the 21st century House of Commons  Nov. 2011 -  The Crafts Council with the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group.  
The Internet of Things Ideas Lab - Crafts Council Bristol Oct. 2011 
Contributor to the Design Commission Restarting Britain: Design Education & Growth inquiry 2011 

Judge,Contemporary Craft Festival June 2011 
Selector for 2011 Contemporary Craft Festival Nov. 2010      
Consultant - Crafts Councils Higher Value: Redefining Best Practice in Crafts Graduate Support 
Consultant - Clore Leadership Programme: Board development day
Consultant - The Creative & Cultural Skills  on Standards in Craft Blueprint. CCS is the sector skills council for the creative & cultural industries. 
Organic Arts Trustee, Organic Arts West Town Farm, Ide, Exeter

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 research comes under the themes of Mapping, Journey and Movement. 
I am interested in the different ways in which this theme can be presented, organized and structured to create both cohesive pieces of visual composition as well as strengthening the original identity of the individual components. 
There are a variety of different ways in which I have successfully executed these ideas through the mixing of materials (e.g. clay & combustibles), sound investigation & film/stills to produce objects, drawings and images.

Other research

Creative practice & artistic projects

Current & Recent Exhibitions / Projects

- 'Trajectories - Future Pathways in Design'. Exhibition Dutch Design Week, Eindhover - October '15
- Can things be good tour guides 2? Making Futures 4, Plymouth, Academic conference paper - Sept. '15
- 'New Economies New Ecologies', Exhibition Salone Indternazionale Del Mobile, Milan, Italy - March '15
- Can things be good tour guides? IRFGT ESHTE Portugal, Academic conference paper March '15
- ‘Envelope’ Exhibition Peninsular Arts Gallery, Plymouth - Feb.'15

-Abstract peer reviewer for ‘All Makers Now?’ Conference July'14 Falmouth Uni.
-Things-Meanings Castle Drogo -The primary aim of this project was to develop a small number of prototype objects to be used by visitors to the National Trust property Castle Drogo solo enhance the visiting experience.

- ‘Cabinet: Connection andCollection’ Exhibition Peninsular Arts Gallery
- ‘Cupola’ Filmpresentation, Pairing conference Manchester Metropolitan University

- Presenting 'THE BACKS', Exhibition at The Devon & Exeter Institution
- Land/Water Exhibition, Northampton University
- “Observation, Mapping,Dialogue” Poster/Paper, Drawing Research Network Annual Conference University of Brighton
- ‘Ambulation’ Exhibition,Plymouth Arts Centre
Artists:ad:HOC, Bridgette Ashton, Tim Brennan,Simon Persighetti and TonyWhitehead, Phil Smith and Polly Macpherson,Architecture Centre Devon andCornwall . Ambulation was an exhibition, series of events, films and new commissions by artists and architects who use walking as an artistic practice.
- ‘Renewal &Regeneration’ Exhibition, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton
- ‘Reading THE BACKS’Academic conference paper, Creativity & Place conference, Exeter University, Geography Department
- ‘The Purpose ofDrawing’, The Cube Gallery, Plymouth
- ‘Cupola’ Film Spacex Contemporary Art Gallery, Film Spring Screen’10
- ‘Exchange’ Exhibition –Avenue Gallery, Northampton

- 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