From education to employment

University of the Arts London announces 2023 honoraries

University of the Arts London (UAL) is delighted to announce twelve exceptional changemakers and creatives who will be awarded honorary degrees at the 2023 graduation ceremonies, starting on 11 July.

From pioneering technologies for textile circularity to broadcasting on the frontline of the war in Ukraine, this year’s honoraries span a wide range of practices and fields – each using their creativity to drive change against global issues such as the climate injustice, structural racism, and economical and regional inequality.

James Purnell, Vice-Chancellor and President of UAL, said “Creativity has a role in solving great problems — to imagine and shape a b­etter world. Our remarkable honoraries are the epitome of this, using their creative and cultural influence to initiate significant change.”

Beatrix Ong MBE

Graduating from Central Saint Martins, London College of Communication, and London College of Fashion, luxury fashion designer Beatrix Ong MBE won the role of Creative Director of Jimmy Choo at age 22. Ong forayed into furniture, which toured and was displayed in design museums across the globe from Milan, Hong Kong and Korea to Chicago.

Cyndi Rhoades

With an ambition to combat the global challenge of textiles waste, using business as a platform for change, Cyndi Rhodes founded Worn Again Technologies – which pivoted to science for an answer and began development of a world-leading polymer recycling technology for end-of-use polyester and cotton blend textiles, with a vision to replace the use of virgin resource use in textiles.

Florence Adepoju 

British-Nigerian entrepreneur, cosmetic scientist and London College of Fashion alum, Florence Adepoju founded makeup company MDMflow, in response to the lack of diversity in the beauty industry. Her brand has garnered a cult following – being featured in New York Times, Vogue and Grazia. She continues to advocate for greater representation of women of colour, working with aspiring entrepreneurs and young women of colour who are looking to break into the beauty industry.

Gavin Jantjes 

Gavin Jantjes is an artist, activist, educator, curator, historian and artistic director. The first Black full-time senior lecturer in Fine Art at the London Institute (now UAL), he developed the Institute’s policy for diversity. Exiled from South Africa during the apartheid years, his work is often referenced in discussions about apartheid, cultural reciprocity and freedom of expression. He exhibits internationally and recieved numerous commissions from the United Nations Commission on Apartheid, the UN Refugee Council and the Nobel Peace Centre.

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford OBE

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, OBE is the inaugural Director of V&A East, Professor of Practice at SOAS, University of London and a curator and cultural historian who writes, lectures and broadcasts widely on culture. He received a fellowship for service to the arts and a SOAS Honorary Fellowship for service to Africa, and was also awarded an OBE in 2018 for his services to Arts and Culture.

Hernando (Taita) Chindoy Chindoy

Hernando (Taita) Chindoy Chindoy works with indigenous and marginalised communities in his native country of Colombia to combat poverty, hunger and inequality, through the use of traditional and ancestral knowledge, nature and community-based solutions. From 2017 -2022, Chindoy spearheaded the creation of the National Organization AWAI of the Inga Indigenous people in Colombia.

Inua Ellams MBE

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams MBE is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer. Ellams is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature as well as a Complete Works poet alumni. He facilitates workshops in creative writing where he explores reoccurring themes of his work: identity, displacement and destiny.

James Waterhouse

London College of Communication alumni, James Waterhouse is BBC’s Ukraine Correspondent and has been central to the award-winning coverage since the war started. Throughout his career he has also covered poaching in Malawi, a refugee crisis on the Syrian border and NATO’s failed attempts to deter Russian aggression in the Arctic Circle.

Dr Lesley-Ann Noel 

Design researcher Dr Lesley-Ann Noel practices design through critical and anti-hegemonic lenses with a focus on equity, social justice and the experience of those who are often excluded from design research. Lesley-Ann aims to decolonise design by highlighting the work of designers outside of Europe and North America and promoting critical awareness by introducing theory concepts and vocabulary into the industry. Noel is co-Chair of the Pluriversal Design Special Interest Group of the Design Research Society and a co-editor of ‘The Black Experience in Design’.

Peter Hoar

Film and TV director Peter Hoar has worked on several hit shows of recent years, including Channel 4’s It’s a Sin, The Umbrella Academy’s first season on Netflix, and Doctor Who: A Good Man Goes To War.

Saki Mafundikwa 

Yale design graduate, TED speaker and lecturer Dr Saki Mafundikwa is the founder and director of the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts, a design and new media training college. He wrote the first book on Afrikan typography and I the recipient of the 2022 President Award (Lifetime Achievement Award) from the UK’s Design and Art Direction association and has been published widely on design and cultural issues.

Shantell Martin 

Shantell Martin is an artist and academic, working across a wide range of disciplines. Her work centres around making connections between fine art, education, design, philosophy, and technology, exploring themes such as intersectionality, identity, and play. A former student at both Camberwell College of Arts and Central Saint Martins, Shantell has presented solo shows at some of the most renowned art institutions.

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