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Penny Macbeth

Dean of Manchester School of Art
Deputy Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor Arts & Humanities

Penny Macbeth

Penny Macbeth is Dean of Manchester School of Art and Deputy Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts and Humanities focusing on external engagement and partnerships. Penny is the academic lead for Manchester Metropolitan Universities groundbreaking School of Digital Arts: SODA, which is due to open in 2021. SODA received 14.9 million pounds of funding from GMCA, the project represents a combined investment of 35 million pounds from Manchester Met and GMCA.

Macbeth is committed to developing a professionally relevant curriculum. Manchester School of Art has pioneered an Award-winning offer that fosters an interdisciplinary approach to learning alongside the development of specialist in-depth knowledge of a subject. This approach will be built upon within the SODA curriculum which will combine the creative, tech and business attributes needed for the creative and digital economy of the future.

Macbeth sits on two citywide bodies: Culture Corridor Group and the St Johns network, she is academic board nominee on Manchester Metropolitans Board of Governors and Board member of Castlefield Gallery, she is also on the steering group of Culture Forum North. In 2018 Macbeth became an elected trustee to the board of CHEAD, in order to influence policy around art and design-based education at all levels of the education system. On behalf of CHEAD she represents the sector on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Crafts.

Macbeth is a member of the design research group. Her work explores cloth’s potential as a carrier of narrative and catalyst for community empathy and cohesion; research is drawn from artists, practitioners and archival sources. In March 2018 she co-convened the International Conference Textile and Place with colleagues from the School of Art and The Whitworth Art Gallery: presenting a paper entitled 'A Matter of Life and Death' exploring what we might understand by socially engaged or socially enacted textiles.


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., Barber, C., 2014. 'Outside Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live', Cambridge Scholars Pub.

Book Chapters

McCullagh, J., Macbeth, P., 2018. ''Where all things are always possible''. In FITNESS FOR WHAT PURPOSE? Essays on design education celebrating 40 years of the Sir Misha Black Awards. Edited by Mary V Mullin and Christopher Frayling., Eyewear publishing.

Macbeth, P., Ryall, H., 2016. 'The Digital Print Room-A Bespoke Approach to Print Technology'. In Nimkulrat, N., Kane, F., Walton, K. (eds.) Crafting Textiles in the Digital Age, pp. 77-89, Bloomsbury Publishing.

Macbeth, P., 2014. 'Patchwork of Dreams'. In Macbeth, PA., Barber, C. (eds.) Outside: Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live, 147, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Journal Articles

Macbeth, P., 2019. 'A Matter of Life and Death', Textile, 17 (4), pp. 340-346.

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.

Other Outputs

Macbeth, P., 2019. 'Transcendental Beings: Clothing the Soul'.