Peter Marsh

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Supervisory Interests

My supervisory interests include:

  • Research from a hermeneutic, phenomenological, or pragmatic perspective.
  • Research involving qualitative and mixed methods approaches.
  • Arts and Health cross disciplinary research
  • The application of cognitive and linguistic theory to art practice
  • Investigations involving material culture
  • Conceptual metaphor theory


Approach to teaching

i see teaching and learning as a politic act, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be fun. I'm not so interested in the idea of learning just to get grades but I am passionate about critically thinking, experimental, and compassionate approaches that relate to real life concerns. 

I enjoy the opportunity that teaching offers to empower students to both reveal and read the ingrained societal and political narratives which have invited them to see the world in certain prescribed ways, and, drawing on their imagination, to explore alternative paths.

I believe in and enjoy conversation as the root of learning, which involves listening as much as talking, creating an environment and a direct and open relationship between teacher and learner leave neither unchanged after the experience. My teaching practice is focused on regenerating the collaboration and co-operative nature once inherent in studio design teaching. A studio is a collaborative process and an ongoing conversation that needs to reflect all members of its community. Being part of such a community helps students to learn that they need to design with and not for...I believe that such communities of learners can develop the skills within a flexible and inclusive environment to address the central issues of sustainability and equity facing our society.

I see designing as an embodied process that cannot be successfully undertaken without direct engagement with materials, places or people. Despite the growing prevalence of digital technology in the architectural design process and education, my pedagogical approach is underscored by the fact that we should not disregard physical models as anachronistic in our drive to explore the digital version of our world. I maintain that the infinite potential in the emotive, embodied understanding found in the perception of and haptic interaction with materials should not be ignored in education and practice.



Research interests

Language lies at the heart of my research and the ability to communicate and evoke feelings are the core principles that drive it.

I engage in experimental practice led and  based research that draws on theories from fields such as embodied cognitive linguistics, sign language and translation studies exploring how we can approach material culture as a tool of communication in design. Such cross disciplinary engagement has proven to be fundamental to my practice.

Concrrent to this, my drawing practice is currently exploring the surpluses and deficits of meaning produced in phenomenological approaches to quantitative methods; how we interpret our world through the prism of technology.

I am currently exploring the value of making as an integral process in design education in a financially restricted and AI/VR/3D visuallation blinkered field.



Scholarly biography

My initial training at undergraduate level was a BA (hons) in Silversmithing and allied crafts at the John Cass college, London Guildhall University where my interest in the relationship between materials, process and the scope for interpretation these offered was sparked. This interest has continued throughout my career with explorations in stone, wood, ceramics, printing, restoration, and casting amongst others.

I was self-employed for fifteen years as a professional model maker, where the focus of the practice lay in building historical, architectural models, specializing in recreating buildings or interiors that have been lost or destroyed, often working from photographs or paintings for information. The models were displayed in museums around the world, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK, the Catherine Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia, and the Ando museum, Naoshima, Japan.

I have a Masters in Fine Arts, where my interest primarily lay with drawing, exploring the surpluses and deficits of meaning produced in phenomenological approaches to quantitative methods; how we interpret our world through the prism of technology. The work resulting from this led to my exhibiting individually and as part of collectives, enjoying success in competitions including the international Threadneedle prize on two separate occasions and also exhibiting at the Royal Academy.

My PhD cross disciplinary research proposed that the conceptualization of embodied, abstract emotional experiences such as pain, which despite being multi-modal, non-visual and subjective, have the potential to be communicated visually using model making, as it is traditionally understood in the fields of Architecture and Design. To be able to do so, the research prescribed a new methodological approach where a Gadamerian hermeneutic understanding of intersubjective interpretation has been married to theories drawn from embodied cognitive linguistics, sign language and translation studies. The doctorate was undertaken within the field of Health Sciences producing metaphorically provocative, descriptive models of the lived experience of people with rheumatoid arthritis with a primary aim to help bridge the gap in understanding currently perceived in the public realm.

From 2005-2022 I held the role as the model-making technician for the School of Architecture and Design. The responsibilities varied from demonstrating building construction techniques through to guiding students through the creation of atmospheric, conceptual models and teaching how to draw and how to find one’s theoretical position in design practice.

I was a founding member of the University’s Technician Commitment programme, which seeks to establish a stronger career development path for technical and support staff in university education, recognising their roles in the student experience, learning and teaching. Membership required submitting a clear and honest evaluation of the University’s current approach, requesting and analysing feedback from all relevant staff, including in-depth questionaries, and group discussions and formulating directives and more novel initiatives that would benefit the workforce, the University and the student experience. To date these have included the creation of an online presence, both public facing, promoting best practice, personal work, and technical involvement in the student experience and also, providing an internal resource for the sharing of ideas, material, concerns and support. The committee was also able to establish a commitment from the University to offer technical staff teacher training through the HEA teaching fellowship system.

I was a member of the School’s Athena SWAN committee helping to establish a manifesto that would go on to see the University achieve a silver medal in 2021.

I held a 4-year tenure on the Quality and Standards Committee for the school.

I currently sit on the Cross School Research and Ethics Committee that meets to ensure the highest ethical standards are maintained in the University’s research through Masters, Doctoral, post graduate research to professional academic levels.

I have been nominated every year for 10 years and have had the good fortune to win the ‘excellence in facilitating and empowering learning award’, a university wide recognition award based on nomination by students and staff.

Also, as part of a team of four, we were awarded the University’s Technician Commitment award, in recognition for our work with the students during the lockdown and for supporting the NHS by using the workshop during the lockdown to design and make PPE for the local emergency services.

I have been an advisory and support member of the School’s Widening Participation Team for several years. This student led scheme reaches out to younger school children in the outlying district, inviting them to spend time at the University, undertake projects, workshops, and debates to introduce them to the potentials of Higher Education and University life.



Education/Academic qualification

PhD, How models can translate the lived experience of rheumatoid arthritis into material and form, University of Brighton

Award Date: 3 Jan 2023

Master, Fine Arts, University of Brighton

Award Date: 1 Sept 2011

Bachelor, Silversmithing and Allied Crafts

Award Date: 20 Jun 1994


  • NA Architecture
  • design through making
  • drawing methodology
  • inclusion and equality
  • Climate change
  • social justice
  • model making
  • P Philology. Linguistics
  • cognitive linguistics
  • non verbal communication
  • material language
  • B Philosophy (General)
  • phenomenology
  • Gadamer
  • hermeneutics


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