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Penny Macbeth

Dean of Manchester School of Art

Penny Macbeth

Penny Macbeth is Dean of Manchester School of Art. Before taking this role in June 2016 she was Head of Art and Associate Dean for Student Experience at Manchester School of Art. Before this, she was Head of Art & Design at the University of Huddersfield with a faculty wide remit for teaching and learning.

Macbeth is committed to developing a professionally relevant curriculum, and was recently part of a Cultural industry and HEI partnership group who informed the development of ‘The Cultural Knowledge Ecology, a discussion paper on partnerships between HEI’s and cultural organisations.’

Commissioned by Arts Council England. She is also a member of the Northern Partnership forum: The Cultural Knowledge Economy.

Macbeth’s research focuses on cloth as a catalyst for change, hope and activism, her work is specifically focused on the practitioner’s engagement with cloth, through a series of case studies and evaluations of her own and others community outreach projects.

In 2012, she co-convened the International conference, Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way we live. The conference explored the complex and multifaceted relationship humans have with cloth, and examined the constantly evolving fields of expression outside traditional gallery, institutional or campus settings. This work was subsequently developed into a co-edited book of the same title published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in 2014.

Recently Macbeth co-presented a paper at the International conference Transition: Re-Thinking Textiles and Surfaces titled Craft in Unexpected Places, which explored cloth’s value as a social and symbolic object, this paper has now been developed for inclusion into a special edition of the journal; Craft Research published by intellect. She has also co- written a chapter titled the Digital Print Room for the book Crafting Textiles in the Digital Age, recently published by Bloomsbury Academic.


Penny Macbeth is a member of the Visual Culture Research Group.

A selection of recent research outputs.


Sobell, HR., Jefferies, T., Huneck, K., Kaushal, V., Macbeth, P., Jurack, B., 2015. Manchester Urban Pioneers, ELBERSHALLEN, DÖDTKOMM DÖDTERSTR. 10 HAGEN, 10/10/2015.


Macbeth, P., 2014. 'Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live Chapter- Patchwork of Dreams', Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Book Chapters

Macbeth, PA., Ryall, H., 2016. 'The Digital Print Room - A Bespoke Approach to Print Technology'. In Crafting Textiles in the Digital Age, Bloomsbury Academia.

Journal Articles

Macbeth, P., Barber, C., 2015. 'Craft in unexpected places', Craft Research, 6 (2), pp. 275-285.

Macbeth, P., 2011. 'Hands-on, Mind-on', Futurescan: Mapping the Territory.


Macbeth, P. and Barber, C., 2014. 'Craft in Unexpected Places', Transitions: Rethinking Textiles and Surfaces, University of Huddersfield, 26-27th November, in In Conference Proceedings.

Macbeth, P. and Barber, C., 2012. 'Co Convener of Conference', Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live, University of Huddersfield, 23rd January 2012, in Conference Proceedings.

Macbeth, P. and Ryall, H., 2011. 'The Digital Print Room', Exploring the role and relevance of traditional 'handskills' in contemporary textiles, and the value and status of craft process, University of Loughborough, 16th- 17th November 2011, in Conference Proceedings.