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PJ Harvey and award-winning architect Dame Zaha Hadid to be honoured at graduation ceremonies

Internationally acclaimed musician PJ Harvey and award-winning architect Dame Zaha Hadid are just two of the six creative and visionary individuals who will be awarded Honorary Degrees and Fellowships at our graduation ceremonies this September.

Others recognised for their important contributions to their particular fields include:

  • LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell
  • Orwell Prize winning journalist and writer Neal Ascherson
  • Satirical political cartoonist Martin Rowson
  • T.S. Eliot Prize winning poet and Goldsmiths alumnus George Szirtes

Goldsmiths and its honorands

Liz Bromley, Registrar & Secretary of Goldsmiths, said: "Our honorands this year are a remarkable group of people. They have changed communities through their inspiring architectural designs. They have pointed out the ridiculous in the news and made us laugh. They have inspired us with their words, their music, and their art. They have fought for our rights. And they have helped us to understand who we are now by looking to the past.

"Today we are celebrating their achievements. We have invited them to join the Goldsmiths family and will be welcoming them into our community. They will now be a part of an institution that prides itself on empowering individuals from all walks of life to become visionaries, just like them."

The six individuals will receive their awards alongside hundreds of our students, who will all get the chance to rub shoulders with the honorands at the graduation ceremonies.

Honorands from previous years

Each year, the university awards a number of honorary degrees and fellowships to those who have achieved distinction in their chosen calling. Other notable honorands from past years include: Sir Michael Caine; the Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre, Jude Kelly; Jools Holland; Columbia Records' Chairman Rob Stringer; and Placebo frontman Brian Molko.

More about the honorands this year...

Neal Ascherson

Scottish journalist and writer Neal Ascherson studied history at Cambridge, and was described by the late Eric Hobsbawn as "perhaps the most brilliant student I ever had." After a two-year stint in the Royal Marines he started pursuing a journalism career, working for the Manchester Guardian and the Scotsman before becoming a reporter and foreign correspondent for the Observer. He has won awards including the Orwell Prize for political writing, and has published several books – most recently, Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland.

Dame Zaha Hadid

Described as "one of the most gifted practitioners of the art of architecture today", Zaha Hadid's inventive approach, and eagerness to challenge conventions, have pushed the boundaries of architecture and urban design. Her practice has worked on nearly 1,000 projects, including the Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, and she was the first woman to receive the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. In 2010 and 2011, her designs were awarded the Stirling Prize by the RIBA. In 2012, Hadid was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

PJ Harvey

Polly Jean Harvey has released eight studio albums and is the only artist to have won the Mercury Prize twice, for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2001) and Let England Shake (2011). In addition to her musical career PJ Harvey paints, draws, sculpts, and writes poetry. In December 2013, she gave her debut public poetry reading at the British Library, and was a guest editor on BBC Radio 4's Today programme. She was also awarded an MBE for services to music.

Martin Rowson

Martin Rowson is a cartoonist specialising in political satire. His 'visual journalism' – "[the] scourge of the political establishment" – regularly appears in the Guardian, Daily Mirror, and The Morning Star, and he was appointed Cartoonist Laureate for London when Ken Livingstone was Mayor of the City. His books include graphic adaptations of The Waste Land, Tristram Shandy, and Gulliver's Travels, and an illustrated history of world literature in limerick form. His memoir Stuff was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize.

George Szirtes

Poet, Royal Society of Literature Fellow and Goldsmiths alumnus George Szirtes came to England as a refugee when he was eight years old. His poems have been published since the 1970s, with his first book winning the Faber Memorial Prize in 1980. Since then he has written many poetry collections, winning awards including the T S Eliot Prize (2005). He also works extensively as a translator, and has received accolades for his translations too, including the 2013 Best Translated Book Award.

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell has been campaigning for human rights and social justice for 47 years. Best known for his work promoting and defending LGBT rights, he was a pioneer of the Gay Liberation Front in the 1970s, co-founded the direct action group OutRage! in 1990, and more recently helped spearhead the campaign for same-sex marriage. He is the Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, which campaigns for human rights across the world, and has been voted one of the top ten ‘heroes of our time’ by New Statesman readers.‌


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