Licensed to Think: The Goldsmiths Honourary Graduates


Each year at our Graduation Ceremonies, we honour individuals whose achievements reflect values important to the Goldsmiths community. This growing list includes alumni, former staff, internationally-respected academics and public figures. All our honourary graduates are encouraged to speak their minds, without fear of censorship by the institution.

Podcasts in this series

Martin Rowson - Honourary Graduate

Martin Rowson

"The world is a frivolous, hilarious, joyous playground." 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.

Wed, 10 Sep 14 2

Dame Zaha Hadid - Honourary Graduate

Dame Zaha Hadid

"Education is important to all of us it gives us power to conquer the next step." 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.

Wed, 10 Sep 14 2

Neil Ascherson - Honourary Graduate

Neil Ascherson

"Our duty falls on you who have just graduated in these three disciplines. Musicians - sing loudly and rooted to this nation! Wake it up. Anthropologist - lay bare it’s curious relationship to the public sphere. Historians - compose a better story which you can tell to itself." 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.

Tue, 09 Sep 14 2

Peter Tatchell - Honourary Graduate

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.?

Tue, 09 Sep 14 2

George Szirtes - Honourary Graduate

George Szirtes

"What had chiefly attracted me back then was the generous provision of studio time and the availablity of a studio in the cellar of the disused car showroom then used by Goldsmiths for the course. The college seemed to accept that one’s life as an artist had not come to an end with teaching. You could teach and yet be an artist." 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.

Mon, 08 Sep 14 2