Meet Polly Macpherson

What do you do and what motivates you to do it?

I do a lot of ‘things’, however I have the academic titles of Associate Professor in Design, Award Leader for Designer Maker & Associate Head of School – Enterprise... in real terms, what I actually ‘do’ includes the leading of and teaching on a course that focuses on the designing, making and production of objects and artefacts. Plus, I lead the Enterprise & Creative Industries agenda within the school of Art, Design & Architecture.

Learning by doing

My motivation is centered around celebrating the importance of the haptic ‘learning by doing’ mode of creative growth, supporting and guiding ‘Doers’ to achieve full recognition for their amazing achievements.

Clay: flexible and temperamental

As a creative practitioner I was originally interested in the astonishingly flexible and temperamental material of clay and the different ways I could translate the ideas in my head or sketchbook into objects.

Students working in the ceramics studio

"As I developed my making career it became apparent that I was more interested in sharing my knowledge, skills and passion for creating rather than making to sell or pay the bills."

"When it comes to university work my proudest accomplishments are, and have always been, being a part of the teaching, guiding and development of creative people achieving their goals."

As we celebrate International Women's Day, what does that mean to you?

Whilst I do have hurdles to climb I am also fully aware that I have privileges and can’t be complacent. For me #PressForProgress is about questioning when required and working to support, guide and speak up for those who feel they can’t. The Global Gender Gap report 2017 states, “We are more than 200 years from global gender parity”. This doesn’t surprise me, however as an optimistic female, parent of a female and teacher of females I am an activist for parity and will always work hard for fairness.

We are at numerous tipping points and have broken down many barriers in this last year, however it’s important to keep ‘calling it out’, not accept the bad or so called ‘normal’ behaviours and rules just because ‘that’s how it’s done’. 

Waking up the ‘explorer gene’ and finding ways around or breaking through the boulders is for me a progressive and powerful way forward!

What do you wish people would stop asking you?

  • ; What's for supper?

What app on your phone do you use the most?

  • 4 Podcasts - current favourites are Fortunately, The Guilty Feminist and Reasons to be Cheerful.

What do you wish you had more time for?

  • < Exploring the world – ‘I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list’ - Susan Sontag