Exhibitions, Projects & Commissions

Automation Academic Research Fellowship
Academic Research Fellowship with South West Creative Technology Network. Exploring how automation developments are effecting the skills, creative ideas and processes of Designer Maker / Craft Practitioners in the South West.  https://swctn.org.uk

Co-coordinator 'Journey's and Transmission'

Summer Symposium 


Co-coordinator with Dr Kayla Parker, ‘Journeys and Transmission’ Summer Symposium 

The Land/Water symposium, Journeys and Transmission, explores contemporary concerns about our relationship to the world, following the journeys we make as artists and researchers to acquire knowledge and to share an understanding of what it is to be human in the postindustrial era of an increasingly globalized and networked twenty first century. These journeys may be personal  understood as a changing consciousness or a sense of identity and selfhood, or an altered subjective space; conceptual  manifested as a paradigm shift within a philosophical framework or ‘thinking outside the box’; or geographic  driven by social, economic or political imperatives.


Nicola Brandt, Susan Collins, Katie Davies, Nicos Philippou, Moyra Stewart, Marcus Vergette, Paul Whitty; and Phil Smith









Making Futures 4:  Craft and the return of the maker in a post-global sustainably aware society. September 2015


Can things be good tour guides 2? - Conference paper

'Choosing materials for a guiding' by things Polly Macpherson & Phil Smith 

In this paper we addressed choices made around the use and agency of materials for an experimental project for making a guiding by things for a National Trust property, Castle Drogo in Devon (UK).


Things-Meanings Buckland Abbey 



With this new project there is an aim to seek to engage the materiality of the site itself and the materials of the objects made, as more equal partners; abandoning the idea of a map as guide, and with the plan to let the visitor carry all the objects from the beginning of their visit, letting them choose where and in what order to engage with the ‘things-meanings’.

Researching and experimenting with new objects to guide a new tour Buckland Abbey, a National Trust Property outside Plymouth.

         - Former religious institution

         - Famous for once being the home of Sir Francis Drake

         - Now trying to diversify visitor understandings of the site

Dutch Design Week Eindhover 

'Trajectories’ – Future Pathways in Design? - Exhibition

A Trajectory is the path that follows a moving object through the space for a certain time. It shows where anything goes. It represents the idea of ​​designers, cultures and themes set out to determine the playing tomorrow. Trajectories distill the future from the past and the present, and their direction is determined by many influences which are now picking up already. The exhibition wants to make tangible where it can go to in design and therefore shows young designers, designers from different cultures and certain themes. 

Expos including Fontys University, University of Plymouth, School of Art & Design Middlesex University, Daniela Toledo, Graphics Studio Daylight.




A body of mixed medium work – 6 Artefacts

Internazionale Del Mobile 2015 / Milan Furniture Fair 

New Economies New Ecologies - Exhibition

A body of mixed medium work – 4 Artefacts

‘things-meanings’ are the results of an experiment to enhance the visitor experience by creating a tour guided by objects rather than a guidebook or human guide.

Joint exhibition of designers including:

Marc Trotereau   https://marctrotereau.com/

Tavs Jorgensen  http://www.tavsjorgensen.co.uk/

4th International Research Forum on Guided Tours, IRFGT 2015

– Estoril, Portugal 


‘Can things be good tour guides’? - Conference paer - by things Polly Macpherson & Phil Smith

Abstract - Can things be good tour guides?

This paper addresses how ‘inanimate’ objects might operate as tour guides in a site of heritage tourism.

We will approach this question theoretically through the neo-vitalism of Jane Bennett (with her adaptations of Bergsonian ideas) and her ideas about ‘vibrant matter’: how things have effective presence over and beyond the descriptions, reproductions and affects they generate in humans. We ask what might happen if one were to recruit such a presence into the role of a guide to the materiality, narratives and metaphors of a site.

We have approached this question practically by creating a tour ‘guided’ by objects that we call ‘things-meanings’. The site of this tour is the early twentieth Castle Drogo designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (‘the last castle to be built in England’), a National Trust property in Devon (UK) and popular tourism venue. We describe the way that the objects were created in materials relevant to, or already found in, the building and how an accompanying map plays a wayfinding role in the tour. 


Envelope Exhibition - Peninsula Arts Gallery, Plymouth 


Designers contribute to the design, production, marketing and messages that fill our world. Yet rarely does the public see what designers value personally, whether this might be a tool, or material, a prototype or a wood block, a drawing or something more ephemeral. 

Over 100 internationally acclaimed designers from across the globe, from Tom Dixon OBE and Konstantin Grcic to Marijn Van Oossten, alongside bright new talent including Plymouth University alumni, have all been asked to place what they value in an envelope and send it to us. 

Whether they value objects, concepts, beliefs or materials, this exhibition revealed why this is meaningful as well as being fun and spontaneous. 

Research into iconography of contemporary culture focusing on pictorial signage.

‘Same, same but different’ – collection of 32 photographic images of Ladies Loo Signs

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 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.

Key Focuses are

  • Julius Drewe – Lord of the manor
  • Dartmoor & Granite – Location and materials
  • Edwin Lutyens – Architect
  • That that never was/lost – The castle that was never built & loss of dreams

Entertainment – Fishing, shooting and games

Cabinet Exhibition - Peninsula Arts Gallery, Plymouth 


Cabinet is an exhibition of works by twelve architects and designers who have had unprecedented access to the archives and collections of Plymouth City Museum. This unique collaboration has created extraordinary responses to a museum collection; questioning our cultural heritage and the relationship between the arts and public institutions.

The works are enthralling and unsettling. Some are architectural environments that are perceptual and physical spaces as much as psychological ones. Some redefine the way that we relate to our surroundings, others are personal, compelling, multi-sensory design experiences, composed of a range of different objects, images and forms.

Curated by Peter Quinn Davis


Nick Kary, Mike Woods, Sani Murani, Doreen Bernath, Peter Quinn Davis, Polly Macpherson, Adam Crowley Evans, Nick Gilbert-Scott, Anthony Aldrich, Kerry Whittle & Roy Tam 


 ‘Cupola’ Film, Pairings conference, Manchester Met. Uni.     


Work in Progress Exhibition & Screening, The Devon and Exeter Institution, Exeter.   


Ambulation Exhibition, Plymouth Arts Centre. 


Artists: ad:HOC, Bridgette Ashton, Tim Brennan, Simon Persighetti and Tony Whitehead, Phil Smith and Polly Macpherson, Architecture Centre Devon & Cornwall

In collaboration with Phil Smith I have created things-meanings. Inspired by props, there are a series of objects to be taken from gallery to create a walk around the historic site Royal William Yard, former 1700s victualing yard. This is part of the work Twalk that was first performed for the Plymouth’s Hidden City Festival in 2009. This work looks to distil the dramatic-geographical significances of the Royal William Yard.



Drawing Research Network Annual Conference “Observation, Mapping, Dialogue”

Poster University of Brighton 


Winner of the  ‘conference prize’ at this year’s Drawing Research Network (DRN) held at the beginning of September at Brighton University.

Under the conference heading “Observation, Mapping, Dialogue”, the peer reviewed poster research presentation ‘Sound Line’ describes the transformation

of sound into 2D lines and marks, then to computer generated 3D, then 2D printed images before being rapid prototyped into 3D sculptures.
The conference keynote speaker was Professor Deanna Petherbridge and the prize was a copy of Petherbridges new book 'The Primary of Drawing', Yale University Press.


‘Renewal & Regeneration’ Exhibition, Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton 
Still photograph taken from the film ‘Cupola’. 


Cupola - Moving Image

'Cupola’ is a record of the slow arrival of daylight as it filters through glass domes gradually illuminating the outer and inner libraries of the Devon and Exeter Institution.

Polly Macpherson & Simon Persighetti 

The Purpose of Drawing, The Cube Gallery, Plymouth 

The Purpose of Drawing exhibition is curated by Jacqui Knight and Patrick Lowry and brings together the diverse range of drawing work and its uses within the University of Plymouth Partnership.

© Kayla Parker - The Purpose of Drawing

Academic Paper ‘Reading THE BACKS’ 

Dr Simon Persighetti & Polly Macpherson


Creativity & Place conference, Geography Department, Exeter University. 
In this paper/presentation we will discussed our individual creative activities and processes describing the phenomenological reading of a library as a space of knowledge. We also screened an extract from ‘Cupola’, a record of the slow arrival of daylight as it filters through glass domes gradually illuminating the outer and inner libraries of the Institution.


Cupola’ Film Spacex Contemporary Art Gallery 

Film Spring Screen 2010
Spacex hosts a night of artist film, screening a cross section of current practice from artists in Exeter and across the south west who are working with the moving image.

‘Exchange exhibition – Avenue Gallery, Northampton Feb. '10

An exhibition of work-in-progress by Land/Water and the Visual Arts research members at the Avenue Gallery, University of Northampton.

 “Equation” Oil balm, pencil, pen & ink – 59x76.5cm 

Artist in Residency

In November 2009  Dr Simon Persighetti and myself were successful in having our Artists in Residence proposal accepted by The Devon & Exeter Institute, 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
Dec. '10   Presenting 'THE BACKS', exhibition at The Devon & Exeter  
               Institution, Exeter

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

April '10   ‘Cupola’ Film Spacex Contemporary Art Gallery, Film Spring    

A Light Walk’ Film, Sound and Film-Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yi7Li3As940 

This film comes from a short experiment connecting drawing, drawing with light and exploratory walking. A first walk followed the drift principle of no fixed destination or direction, drawing with various torches, to let the fall and rise of the terrain and the draw of various textures and reflections determine the route. The second walk, from which the images of the film are taken, followed the route of the first, drawing again with light (changing and adapting given lessons learned) and again filming light.

Polly Macpherson & Phil Smith 
Phil Smith - Mythogeographer http://www.mythogeography.com/

Experimental Ceramics 
Structure and Deterioration 

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