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Dr Sally Morfill PhD, MA(RCA)

Senior Lecturer

Dr Sally Morfill

Sally is Programme Leader for the Design Departmentís suite of Postgraduate programmes.

Her practice-based research is an ongoing exploration into the relationship between drawing and different forms of language (written, verbal and non-verbal). One recent project focuses on using drawing in two- or three- dimensions to visualise ephemeral co-speech gestures, and another explores the connecting seam between the actions of drawing and writing. In all cases, a hybrid approach to process combines analogue and digital modes of making.

Collaboration is often central to Sallyís practice. She has worked with a range of visual artists including Edward Dorrian, Mary Maclean, Sylvie Vandenhoucke, and Ana Čavić, as well as with composer Matthew Lee Knowles and dancer, Karen Wood. In 2019 she was awarded an International Collaborative Research Residency, spending three months at Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, working with sculptor Susan Giles. These collective experiences have fed her interest in developing interdisciplinary and collaborative opportunities for students in the Department of Design.

Since 2007 Sally has been a member of Five Years, an artist-run organisation, with gallery space in Archway, London. The membership shares responsibility for the programming of events and exhibitions. Sally has used this platform to showcase work by MMU colleagues including Andrea Zapp, Sophie Benson, Jane Webb and Nigel Hurlstone, as well as to develop curatorial propositions in response to her own research.

Sally has a BA in Textiles from Manchester Polytechnic, an MA in Fine Art (Tapestry) from the Royal College of Art, and in 2019 she completed her doctoral research at MMU with a thesis titled One among your moments: the myrioramic potential of drawing translation.


ECHO and 100 metre line drawing

ECHO was a collaboration with dance practitioner, Karen Wood resulting in a performance at Open Space, Axis Arts Centre in March 2013. Our collaboration was part of Fragments, a larger project involving five artist pairings, initiated by Five Years and funded by the Arts Council. Details…

Re Infecta

As a member of Five Years, an artist run space based in Hackney, London, Sally Morfill has invited three artists working across different disciplines, to consider the idea of incompletion in relation to their respective practices. Each work is a proposition that leaves some aspect of itself unfinished; the placing of the work within the space of Five Years is similarly viewed as one iteration of many potential resolutions to the new conversation that is opened up by grouping these works together. Details…

The Naturalness of Strange Things

The Naturalness of Strange Things considered the 'microstructure' of Henri Michaux's drawing 'Alphabet' (1927). Michaux's symbols were redrawn, digitally deconstructed into their constituent strokes, cut from adhesive vinyl, 'weeded' to remove the waste vinyl, then given to Ana Cavic; (an artist/poet and one half of Ladies of the Press*) to reconfigure as text. Details…

Z-depth buffer

Research started in 2011 focuses on the relationship between movement and drawing; it aims to identify an emerging field of drawing, looking at recording technologies such as motion capture within the historical context of tools that aid artistic representation and exploring methods for materially translating captured data. The work acknowledges the legacy of artists attempting to communicate movement from Etienne-Jules Marey through Marcel Duchamp to contemporary artists such as Susan Morris whose recent prints record her movement in the activity of making her plumb line drawings. Details…


Sally Morfill is a member of the Design Research Hub.


Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2019. Found Gestures (Chicago), Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, 14/4/2019 - 11/5/2019.

Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2019. Found Gestures (London), Five Years, London.

Morfill, S., Taylor, M., amaCollective, Dorrian, E., Fry, R., Hulson, M., Leimanis, I., Minkin, L., Murphy, M., Planas, E., Schady, A., Summers, F., 2016. The Dirty Subject, Five Years, Unit 2B1, 9-15 Elthorne Road, London, N19 4AJ, 25/6/2016 - 3/7/2016.

The Naturalness of Strange Things

Morfill, SE., Cavic, A., 2015. The naturalness of strange things, Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University, 11/2015.

Morfill, SE., Ana Cavic, A., 2015. The naturalness of strange things The line that..., Five Years, London, 10/4/2015 - 26/4/2015.

100 metre line drawing - performance at Five Years

Morfill, S. and Wood,K., Dorrian, E. and Todman, A., Hulson, M. and Curran, P., Fry, R. and Square and Triangles, Planas, E. and Tuesday-029, 2013. Five Years: Fragments, Five Years, London, May 2013.

Donszelmann, B., Healy, R., Maclean, M., Minkin, L. & Summers, F., Morfill, S., Proctor, R., Renshaw, T., Toren, A., Vinitsky, Y., 2012. ONE AND ONE AND ONE, Cafe Gallery, London, 23/09/12 - 28/10/12.

Webb, J., 2011. Pairings, MMU Special Collections, Otter Gallery Chichester, Fairfield Mill, Cumbria, September 2010 -.

Webb, J., 2011. Re-Infecta, Five Years Gallery, London, 19/02/11-06/03/11.

Bristow, M., Morfill, S., 2011. Z-depth buffer, Five Year, London, 26/11/11 - 11/12/11.

Morfill, S. and Vandenhoucke, S., 2010. by day my limbs, by night my mind, Five Years, London, April 2010.


Morfill, S., 2010. Power of Copying, Xuzhou Museum of Art, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, May - July 2010.

Pattern BookPattern Book, performance

Morfill, S., 2009. Voice and Nothing More, Slade Research Centre, January 2009.

in them fighting a seed terrible. it sows (installation shot)in them fighting a seed terrible. it sows (composite of video stills)in them fighting a seed terrible. it sows (detail)

Morfill, S. and Cavic, A, 2008. in them fighting a seed terrible. it sows, Five Years, London, September 2008.

Dixon, S., Welsh, A., 2008. Mechanical Drawing: the schiffli project, The Hub, Sleaford., 8 March to 27 April.

Morfill, S., 2006. Frenzy, The Metropole Gallery, Folkestone, 9/7/06 - tbc.

Morfill, S. & Dorrian, E., 2002. Silence and Darkness, Outline, Amsterdam, 1st-28th June 2002.

Morfill, S. & Mclean, M, 2001. Iím Wary, Five Years, 40, Underwood St, London, 15/09/01 Ė 21/10/01.


Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2019. 'Found Gestures', Hyde Park Art Centre, Chicago, US, and Five Years, London, UK.

Morfill, SE., Cavic, A., 2016. 'Rules that order the reading of clouds', Touring various venues.

Morfill, SE., 2015. 'Each person draw a line differently!', Palazzo della Cultura, Catania, Italy.


Morfill, S. and Wood, K., 2016. 'ECHO', Open Space, Axis Arts Centre, March 8th/9th 2013.

Morfill, SE., Wood, K., 2014. '100 metre line drawing', Backlit, Nottingham, 12/2014.


MORFILL, S., BARNET, SE., 2016. 'Drawing and Other Writing', Everyday Press, London.

Book Chapters

Morfill, SE., 2020. 'Artistic Research in Performance through Collaboration'. In Blain, M., Minors, HJ. (eds.) Artistic Research in Performance through Collaboration, Springer International Publishing.

Morfill, SE., Wood, K., 2014. '978-1-903724-09-5'. In Five Years: Fragments, Five Years.

Internet Publications

Morfill, S. & Dorrian, E., 2002. 'My Voice in Your Head', Variablemedia (on-line_,

Conference Papers

Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2022. 'Drawing Descriptions: revealing dynamic lines of gesture through drawing', International Society of Gesture Studies Conference 2022 - Gesture: from description to application, Loyola University Chicago, 13/7/2022 - 15/7/2022.

Morfill, S., Cavic, A., Michailidis, T., 2021. 'I am not listening: the poem object as hybrid publication', 9th International Digital Storytelling Conference 2021: "Storytelling for a Just Future", Online - hosted by Loughborough University, 21/6/2021 - 22/6/2021.

Morfill, S., Cavic, A., Michailidis, T., 2019. 'I am not listening', Electronic Literature Organisation Cnference and Media Arts Festival : Peripheries, University College Cork, 15/7/2019 - 17/7/2019.


Morfill, S., Giles, S., 2022. 'Synchronising Hand and Thought: Gesture, Language and Drawing', Keller Center, University of Chicago / online.

Morfill, SE., Cavic, A., 2016. 'Rules that order the reading of clouds', Nottingham Contemporary.

Morfill, SE., Wood, K., 2015. 'Echo: digital interventions in a conversation between dance and drawing', Centre for Dance Research, Coventry.

Other Outputs

Morfill, S., Giles, S., Moskalewicz, M., Dickinson, B., 2019. 'Found Gestures: Susan Giles & Sally Morfill'.