Ms Polly Macpherson

Ms Polly Macpherson

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in 3D Design

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


2010 Associate Professor in 3D Design

Award Leader for 3D Design BA(Hons) - Designer Maker & MA Design -Contemporary Designer Maker within the School of Architecture,Design &Environment. - Furniture Design, Ceramics, Metal, Plastics and mixedmaterials, Digital and hand made making.

Materialspecialism Clay/Ceramics - (MA Ceramics, University of Wales)
Teaches a variety of material, making & design progress to undergraduate& postgraduate students


Accredited Coach - Dynamics of Leadership Performance Coach Training, Cultural Leadership Prog. - Arts Council England, CCSkills & Museum Libraries Archives funded.    
City & Guilds 7307/02 Teachers' Certificate
Preparing for business N.V.Q. 3

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

Winner of 2010 Conference Poster Prize. Drawing Research Network Annual Conference, University of Brighton.
The Watt Memorial Trust Award (travel & academic studies)
The Watt Memorial Trust Award (travel & academic studies)

Professional membership

NACHE - National Association of Ceramics in Higher Education
Remit to promote and development new teaching activities and research processes.
CHEAD - Council Higher Education in Art & Design - 3D Design with specialist interest in the areas of making of knowledge, the making of objects/artifacts and knowledge transfer.
ADM-HEA - Member of the Higher Education Academy
CAN - Craft Action Network
GLAD - Group for Learning in Art & Design
DRN - Drawing Research Network

Roles on external bodies

Board of Trustees - The Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey, Devon.
Expert for Creative & Cultural Skills

Craft Council Hot House South West coordinator 2012
Craft + STEM in the 21st century. The Crafts Council with the Associate Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group. Attended consultant, House of Commons Nov. 2011
Crafts Councils The Internet of Things Ideas Lab. Bristol Oct. 2011 - Invited attendee
Contributor to the Design Commission Restarting Britain: Design Education & Growth inquiry 2011
Judge,Contemporary Craft Fair June 2011 
Invited Selector for 2011 Contemporary Craft Fair Nov. 2010   
Crafts Councils Higher Value: Redefining Best Practice in Crafts Graduate Support - Consultant 
Clore Leadership Programme: Board development day - Invited consultant 
The Creative & Cultural Skills Consultation on Standards in Craft Blueprint. CCS is the sector skills council for the creative & cultural industries. - Consultant 
Organic Arts Trustee, Organic Arts West Town Farm, Ide, Exeter
SCARP Trustee – South Devon Play Resource Centre, Dartington.

Teaching interests

The inventing, creating, manufacturing, constructing, building, producing, designing and making of objects and artefacts. things are made….how things can be made better…
how this can be taught

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

Things-MeaningsCastle 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 so to enhance the visiting experience.
The early development happened before the Castle engaged in major building renovations and was then put on hold for a considerable time while renovation funding was confirmed and renovations started. 

The project has had to be re-developed with the new emphasise of enhancing the visiting experience whilst the building renovations are happening. It is estimated that the building work will take at least 5 years to complete.
The aim is for the objects to engage the visitors senses so to have a full embodied encounter with the materials of the site.This is of particular relevance as materials are deconstructed and exposed during the period of the large-scale renovation. The objects are being design to provoke, enable and encourage a coherent sequence of sensations.

Artist in Residency - The Devon & Exeter Institute, Exeter 
In November 2009 Dr Simon Persighetti and myself were successful in having our Artists in Residence proposal accepted by The DEI in Exeter. Under the heading of 'The Backs' the first investigative section of the proposal focuses around acting more like forensic scientists than artists and excavating like archaeologists rather than delving into the books. We are reading into the very fabric and material of the building which is where the title of the ―The Backs comes from dealing with the spines of the books as well as the hidden spaces behind the books

- ‘Cupola’ Film showing, Pairings conference,Manchester Met. Uni. - May '11     

- Presenting 'THE BACKS', exhibition atThe Devon & Exeter Institution, Exeter - Dec. '10      

- Academic Paper ‘Reading THE BACKS’,Creativity & Place conference, Exeter University, Geography Department - June '10    

- ‘Cupola’ Film Spacex Contemporary ArtGallery, Film Spring Screen’10 - April'10    

Other Recent Creative Works:

- ‘Cabinet’, Peninsula Arts Gallery,Plymouth  - Exhibition May '11           

- Work in Progress Exhibition &Screening, The Devon and Exeter Institution, Exeter. Exhibition Dec. '10      

- Drawing Research Network AnnualConference “Observation, Mapping, Dialogue "Poster University of Brighton- Winner of 2010 Conference Poster Prize - Exhibition Sept.'10   

- Ambulation Exhibition, PlymouthArts 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. ExhibitionAug-Oct.'10    

- Renewal & Regeneration’, Thelma Hulbert Gallery - Exhibition July '10    

- The Purpose of Drawing, The CubeGallery - Exhibition June '10    

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 Ceramic Workshop
  • Plymouth Award Management Group
  • 3D Design Visiting Lecturer Programmer
  • UPC/University Link Academic Advisor to the FDA 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 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