UWTSD appoints new Professors of Practice


Three new Professors of Practice have been appointed by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David during a graduation ceremony at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall this week. 

Mal Pope

The title of ‘Professor of Practice’ is bestowed upon an individual to honour and recognise that person for having attained academic and/or professional distinction in those disciplines which are aligned with the strategic intentions of the university.  The four individuals who have been honoured by the University are Professor Mal Pope, Professor John Wood and Professor Marc Rees.

“I’m delighted to appoint such eminent individuals as Professors of Practice at the University,” said UWTSD’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Medwin Hughes, DL.

“They join a number of exceptional individuals who are working with the university to bring their unique and professional expertise to benefit our students.  The role of Professors of Practice is relatively new to the University and allows us to work with partners with specific expertise related to our strategic aims who sometimes do not come through the traditional academic route. Through their involvement in our provision, we can enhance the access to a range of defined skills to support academic delivery and build upon our rapidly improving reputation for delivering graduate skills in the context of employability, sustainability and work-related education and training.”

Following the ceremony Professor Mal Pope said:

“It’s an incredible honour to be given this award by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David.  It’s my city, my town here in Swansea and it’s certainly the greatest honour of my life so far.  It shows that there’s so much creativity in the city and to be rewarded for trying to cut a path out here, with a global view, it’s been wonderful.”

Mal Pope was born in Brynhyfryd, Swansea. Following a performance on a BBC Radio show as a teenager, Professor Pope was signed to Elton John’s Rocket Record Company and would work alongside him for the next 6 years.

Professor Pope studied at Christ’s College Cambridge where he graduated with a degree in Land Economy. He has written songs for Cliff Richard and The Hollies, duetted with Elton John and Bonnie Tyler, toured with Art Garfunkel and Belinda Carlisle and produced records for Aled Jones. 

As a broadcaster, Professor Pope has presented shows on all of the BBC Network stations and hosted the BAFTA award-winning music programme ‘The Mal Pope Show’ for ITV Wales.  His documentary about the roots of Black Gospel Music, ‘Heaven’s Sound’, won a major prize at the New York Television Awards.

In 2009 Mal set up the ‘Grand Slam Theatre Company’ to produce his latest musical ‘Cappuccino Girls’.  The show toured across the UK before setting up a 24-week residency in the purpose-built ‘South Wales Evening Post Theatre’ on Swansea’s High Street becoming the longest-running musical outside of the West End.

In 2012 Mal set up YJB Films and his first Feature Documentary Film ‘Jack to a King’ was premiered at the Empire Leicester Square, London in September 2014, receiving 3 Bafta Cymru Awards a year later.

Professor Pope is currently working on a number of new projects including a musical based on the life of Richard Burton. He is Chair of the Swansea International Festival which next year celebrates its 70th Anniversary and in 2020 will become High Sherriff of West Glamorgan.

Marc Rees

Born and living in Wales, Professor Marc Rees is an interdisciplinary creative with an established track record of delivering ground-breaking, provocative and risk-taking projects.  On receiving the title of Professor of Practice at UWTSD, Professor Rees said:

“It’s such a great honour to be given this role.  It’s something that is really close to my heart as I went to an arts school and I have a close affiliation with Swansea growing up here so it’s fantastic to be affiliated with the Arts School and I hope I can be of use and an ambassador for the arts school in the future.”  

For the last fifteen years he has developed a number of more architecture-driven artworks; notably the location specific projects En Residencia and For Mountain, Sand & Sea, commissioned by Teatro de la Laboral and National Theatre Wales respectively.

Adain Avion was Professor Rees’ most ambitious project to date, selected as Wales' flagship project for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and London Festival 2012. His work Tir Sir Gâr, made in collaboration with writer Roger Williams for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru was the most nominated production in the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards 2014, with five nominations.

In 2014 Professor Rees created a re-imagining of the world of Dylan Thomas' much celebrated Under Milk Wood, entitled Raw Material: Llareggub Revisited for National Theatre Wales and BBC Wales that incorporated the whole of the township of Laugharne as part of the DT100 Festival.

In 2015, he united Wales' two national companies Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and National Theatre Wales (along with S4C) for the very first time with a site-specific, multi-platform event that commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of Y Wladfa, the Welsh colony in Patagonia, Argentina.

He is currently working on his 14-18 NOW commission NAWR YR ARWR / NOW THE HERO, an ambitious, large scale site specific event to commemorate WW1 that will take place in and around The Brangwyn Hall in Swansea this September in conjunction with NOW FOR MORE a city-wide mini Arts festival.

John Wood

John Wood is Emeritus Professor of Design at Goldsmiths University of London.  He added:

“I’m delighted to be here – it was 1853 when the Swansea College of Art started and I’m delighted to be supporting a proper arts school.  I’m looking forward to doing some research here and working with your wonderful people.  Thank you very much indeed for the honour.”

In his student days, in the mid-1960s, he attended Manchester Art School, now called Manchester Metropolitan University. During his Fine Art studies, he built interactive electronic installations and sound toys.  

After graduating with a first class honours, he worked for a further two years at their Institute of Advanced Studies, creating his ‘Machine for Saying Sorry’ and a computer-assisted play with 27 characters (‘King of Shouting House’), which was performed at London’s ICA. By this time, he had acquired a strong concern for environmental matters and had invented several solar energy devices, which drew some press attention.

Professor Wood has taught Fine Art at a number of universities in the UK and Asia, although mostly at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he served as Deputy Head of Fine Art, from 1978-1988, when the main YBA cohort were gathering. After this time he wrote and launched several radical design degrees which subsequently formed the basis for the current Department of Design.

In collaboration with Dr Julia Lockheart, Professor Wood co-edits the Journal of Writing in Creative Practice (Intellect). Since the mid-1970s he has written several books and many book chapters, articles, papers and given keynote talks, most of which reflect on the role of designers in confronting environmental crises, such as global warming and biodiversity losses. His AHRC & EPSRC funded research findings on metadesign can be accessed via the Metadesigners website.


Further Information

 For more information please contact Arwel Lloyd, Principal PR and Communications Officer, on 01267 676663 / arwel.lloyd@uwtsd.ac.uk