Creative Practices

Polly’s creative work and research comes under the themes of Mapping, Journey and Movement. 

She is 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 she has successfully executed these ideas through the mixing of materials, sound investigation, film/stills to produce objects, drawings and images.

Automation Academic Research Fellowship

Academic Research Fellowship with South West Creative Technology Network

The South West in the United Kingdom has an historical appeal as a location for alternative living, wellbeing and rejuvenation. As a visual cartographer, object maker and creative industries advocate the practice-based research investigations I have been conducting for my Fellowship embrace the tradition of enhancing ideas and

enquiries around the theme of broken lines, regeneration and collaboration.

The work focuses on two areas, developing a relationship with organisations using automation in the

South Westand integrating automation into a creative toolkit in order to co-produce artefacts.

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


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 were

  • 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


Spacex Contemporary Art Gallery Spring Screen - Film 

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.

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 were 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 book.

Dec. '10   Presenting 'THE BACKS', exhibition at The Devon & Exeter Institution, Exeter
June '10   Academic Paper ‘Reading THE BACKS’, Creativity & Place conference, Exeter Uni., Geography Department
April '10   ‘Cupola’ Film Spacex Contemporary Art Gallery, Film Spring  Screen




Research into iconography of contemporary culture focusing on pictorial signage.

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

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 were asked to place what they value in an envelope which became the exhibition.



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 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.

This work looks to distil the dramatic-geographical significances of the Royal William Yard.

'Trajectories’ – Future Pathways in Design?

Dutch Design Week Eindhover - 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. 

‘things-meanings’ - A body of mixed medium work – 6 Artefacts



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

New Economies New Ecologies

Internazionale Del Mobile / Milan Furniture Fair - 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.

‘Renewal & Regeneration’

Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton - Exhibition

'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. Still from moving image film
Polly Macpherson & Simon Persighetti 

The Purpose of Drawing

The Cube Gallery - Exhibition

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.

Light Walk

Sound and Film-Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music - Film

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

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