Mah is a practising artist, researcher and writer working in the fields of contemporary jewellery, well-making, creative health, creativity and dementia, and health psychology.
Mah's PhD study at Birkbeck College is a qualitative psychology study of the lived experience of daughters crafting with their mother who has dementia.
She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and co-editor of the Well-making special issue for the Journal of Applied Arts and Health.
She is also a director of the Lived Experience Network (LENs). The LENs works in partnership with the Culture Health and Wellbeing Alliance, the National Centre for Creative Health, and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Arts, Health and Wellbeing.
Cross-disciplinary collaboration is a key aspect of Mah's creative practice and writing. She has worked with a diverse cohort of peers including policy makers, community networkers and participants, public funding programmes, creative health stakeholders, and arts, culture and heritage partners.
Mah is interested in how community assets can be used to reduce poor health outcomes for marginalised groups.
Meanings and Attachments
As an ongoing body of work, Jewellery is Life highlights the ways we use jewellery to mark occasions and events, significant or the everyday. This includes Meanings and Attachments (2001-present), a global project creating a written and audio-visual record of people’s personal connections to the jewellery that they wear. To date over 2,000 people have taken part across 11 countries. Host venues for Meanings and Attachments include Tate Britain; Kilkenny Arts Festival; Foment de Les Arts Decoratives, Barcelona; Röhsska Museum, Göteborg; and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. The most recent event and outdoor exhibition of photography and accompanying text was at Now Gallery, Greenwich in 2020–21.
Mah's work is held in public collections including the Danner Stiftung, Munich, Crafts Council UK, National Museums of Scotland Edinburgh, and Nottingham Castle Museum.
Current and recent projects
Mah has exhibited internationally with solo exhibitions at venues including National Craft Gallery of Ireland Kilkenny, and the Röhsska Museum, Göteborg, Sweden.
She has exhibited her work internationally in group exhibitions including ‘Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery’ at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia; ‘Tallinn Applied Arts Triennial’ at the Estonian Museum of Applied Art and Design, ‘The Nomad Room’ at Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon; and ‘Mikromegas’ at the Bayerischer Kunstgewerbe-Verein, Munich.
She has also exhibited nationally with solo exhibitions at venues including Fabrica Gallery Brighton; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA); and group exhibitions including ‘Jerwood Applied Arts Prize or Jewellery’ at the Jerwood Space and ‘Significant Colour’ at Aram Gallery both in London, and ‘Jewellery Moves’ at National Museums of Scotland Edinburgh.
Public speaking events include being a guest speaker at the Victoria and Albert Museum London as part of their ‘In Conversation’ programme, guest speaker at the ‘Challenging Craft’ international conference at Gray’s School of Art Aberdeen; a guest speaker at ‘Tell-Tales’ international jewellery conference at Fundació “la Caixa” in Barcelona; and keynote speaker at the ‘New Adventures in Jewellery’ 2-day international conference hosted by Röhsska Museum and HDK-Valand – Academy of Art and Design Göteborg
Guest co-editor of Well-Making special issue for the Journal of Applied Arts and Health
Well-Making and Making-Well: Craft, Design and Everyday Creativity for Health and Well-Being, , Journal of Applied Arts & Health Volume 13 Number 3
Rana, M. and Hackney, F. (2018) Making and Material Affect: From Learning and Teaching to Sharing and Listening, in R. Prior (ed.), Using Art as Research in Learning and Teaching, Bristol:Intellect
Rana, M., & Smith J. A. (2020). Knitting with my mother: Using interpretative phenomenological analysis and video to investigate the lived experience of dyadic crafting in dementia care, Journal of Arts & Communities, Volume 11, Issue ‘Stitching Together’ Part Two, Dec 2020, p. 51 – 62
Jewellery is Life Exhibition catalogue for solo exhibition, 2001, Fabrica Gallery, Brighton , UK
(2020) Meanings and Attachments. Now Gallery, London
(2017) Cloudy, Gallery SO, London
(2015) Acts of Making- Craft as Performance. Crafts Council touring exhibition Bilston Crafts Gallery, Shipley Art Gallery, UK
(2013) Beyond Precious. Helene Aziz Gallery, Paris
(2014) Solo exhibition. Blå Stållet Cultural Centre, Gothenburg
(2010) Solo exhibition, National Craft Gallery of Ireland, Kilkenny
(2012) Unexpected Pleasures: the art and design of contemporary jewellery. The Design Museum, London National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
(2007) European Voices. Objectspace, Auckland, New Zealand
(2007) Tell Tales. Textile Museum, Barcelona
Royal Society of Arts Fellow.
Peer reviewer for the Qualitative Health Research, https://journals.sagepub.com/description/QHR
2023: Advisory panel member for the AHRC UKRI’s National Coordination for the Mobilising Cultural and Natural Assets to Combat Health Inequalities Programme.
2020 – present: Visiting Lecturer
BSc (Hons) Psychology, and MSc Psychology, MSc Clinical Psychology at London Southbank University
2020–23: BA Jewellery Design and Technology programme monitor for New Zealand Quality Assurance.
2015–18: External Examiner for MA degree Contemporary Jewellery at University for the
Creative Arts, Rochester.
2018–20: External Examiner for MA Jewellery and Metal at the RCA.
2018: MA Design Validation Team heading MA Fine Jewellery, Istituto Marangoni, School of Fashion, London.
2014: Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic & vocational qualifications (HKCAAVQ) panel member for the Programme Validation for BA (Hons) Jewellery and Metalwork for delivery at the School for Higher and Professional Education (SHAPE) & Vocational Training Council (VTE).