Plymouth University’s Mace is carried at the head of the procession at all Graduation ceremonies and performs the same function as the one used in the House of Commons to say that ‘business has opened’. By tradition in represents the rule of law and the authority of the House. Of course it is purely used on ceremonial occasions but its real purpose, with its weighty head, was to cudgel opponents who tried to get their own way.
In the early part of the Millennium when Plymouth first gained it Royal Charter one of the design technicians in the Faculty of Arts designed a mace which incorporated the design identity (now jokingly nick-named 3 fags in an ash tray) along with the city of Plymouth Crest and that of Devon County.
The new identity which Toucan has been implementing over the past four years has now been inscribed onto the original mace and I was responsible for replacing one of the sides of the head before being asked to create a replica ‘instrument’.
Why? Today Plymouth University runs Graduation Ceremonies in Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Singapore and China where it gives degrees to partner Universities and, naturally, the Mace has to head up each Country’s academic procession.
But with international security at the fore, airlines do not like the mace being stuffed into private baggage or carried, as is usual, in a gun case over a manager’s shoulder with a value of over £12,000.
A simple lightweight version that can be easily dismantled has now been made for a fraction of the cost and I'm seen here practising my stance!