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Presentations & Conferences
Association of  Social Anthropologists

13th April 2023

Panel 38 - Digital technologies and human welfare - ethnographic assessments

Presentation titled - Digitally co-created ceramic objects as metaphors for damage, renewal and repair.

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Breaking Ground

Ceramic 3D Printing - 27 June 2022

An online symposium bringing together pioneering practitioners from the field of ceramics 3D printing

Panellists will discuss the state of the art, present their practice and experience, discuss future developments in the field and answer questions from the audience.


  • Polly Macpherson, artist, researcher and educator, University of Plymouth, Panel moderator

  • Jonathan Keep - ceramic artist, digital ceramics pioneer and educator

  • Nico Conti - ceramic artist, Rosalind Stracey Ceramic Scholarship recipient

  • Fred Gwatkin - ceramic artist, tutor at Goldsmiths, University of London

  • Andy Lomas - computational artist and mathematician

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China Craft Week

Key note presentation titled ‘Innovative Design of Traditional Crafts’ at the first China Crafts week in Hangzhou. This paper discussed the importance of marrying the traditional with modern innovation to include collaboration in order to produce progressive new and exciting outcomes.

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'Journey's and Transmission'

Summer Symposium - Co-Coordinator

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 post‐industrial 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.


           Speakers included: Nicola Brandt, Susan Collins, Katie Davies, Nicos Philippou, and Marcus Vergette.

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Presentations & Conferences: Image
4th International Research Forum on   Guided Tours

Conference Paper - Estorial, 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. 

Drawing Research Network

Annual Conference

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 into computer

generated 3D, printed into 2D images before being rapid prototyped into 3D sculptures.
The conference keynote speaker was Professor Deanna Petherbridge and the prize was a copy of

Professor Petherbridge's new book 'The Primary of Drawing', Yale University Press.

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Presentations & Conferences: Image
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.

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