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Artists and visionaries to receive Honorary Professorships

Four distinguished figures to be made Honorary Professors by Norwich University of the Arts

Norwich University of the Arts will confer Honorary Professorships to four outstanding individuals next week during its summer graduation ceremonies.

An Honorary Professorship is a major accolade awarded by Norwich University of the Arts in recognition of outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the University’s mission.

Among the esteemed recipients are Gita Wolf, renowned author, publisher and co-founder of the acclaimed Indian publishing house Tara Books; Ian Griffiths, the visionary Creative Director of Max Mara; prolific British photographer and artist Joy Gregory; and Simon Devereux, founder of the influential industry diversity and inclusion movement ACCESS:VFX.

They will receive their Honorary Professorships during the University’s graduation ceremonies alongside over 900 students receiving their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at Carrow Road on 9 and 10 July 2024.

Speaking about the Honorary Professorship recipients, Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr, Vice Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts, said:

“We are honoured to celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of these Honorary Professors.

“Their diverse expertise and extraordinary dedication to their fields are a source of inspiration for our graduates. We are proud to recognise their outstanding contributions to society.”

Gita Wolf, author, publisher, and curator, and one of the founders of Indian publishing house, Tara Books

Honorary Professor in recognition of their contribution to Publishing and Children’s Literature.

Gita Wolf was born in Calcutta but educated in different cities in India, including New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.

She started Tara Books in 1994, as an independent publishing house based in Chennai, India. The publishing house, run as a collective, creates its own books, as well as collaborating with a range of unusual talents, from signboard painters to tribal and textile artists. A highly original and creative voice in contemporary Indian publishing, Gita continues to pursue her interest in exploring and experimenting with the form of the book and its status as a revered cultural object.

Beginning with The Very Hungry Lion in 1995, she has written over 25 books for children and adults. Several have won major international awards and been translated into multiple languages. Seed, her latest book, brings together her experience as a farmer and a publisher.

Ian Griffiths, Creative Director, Max Mara

Honorary Professor in recognition of their contribution to Fashion Design and Fashion Education.

Ian Griffiths was a student in Manchester during the flamboyant post-punk music and club culture. He studied architecture initially, then fashion, and was encouraged by his tutor, the legendary Ossie Clark, to apply to the Royal College of Art.

One of his first design projects was a competition sponsored by Max Mara, which he subsequently won. On graduating in 1987, he joined the company as a designer. Over three decades, he has formulated a vision of empowering fashion predicated on wearable modern classics, discrete luxury, and intelligent design, with a street-smart sense of cool. His iconic ‘Teddy Coat’ has sold hundreds of thousands and has been worn by numerous celebrities.

As Creative Director of Max Mara, he believes in nurturing design talent. He has also been involved in setting up various scholarships to allow those from underprivileged backgrounds to enter the world of fashion.

Joy Gregory, prolific British photographer and artist

Honorary Professor in recognition of their contribution to Photography and Fine Art.

Joy Gregory, a graduate of Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal College of Art, has developed a practice focused on social and political issues, particularly exploring history and cultural differences in contemporary society. She challenges conventional notions of beauty and its language in relation to race and gender.

Gregory is associated with the Black British photography movement alongside artists like Sunil Gupta and Roshini Kempadoo. She works closely with Autograph, the Association of Black Photographers. Born in the UK to Jamaican parents, she has always been intrigued by the impact of European history and colonisation on global perceptions of identity, memory, and folklore. Her photography uses various media, including video, digital and analogue photography, and Victorian print processes.

For nearly three decades, Gregory has been involved in art education, serving as an Honorary Research Associate at the Slade School of Art and a Visiting Scholar at Yale Centre of British Art. Gregory has received numerous awards, including an Honorary Fellowship from the Royal Photographic Society. She and Whitechapel Gallery are the winners of Freelands Award 2023 with a major solo show opening in Autumn 2025.

Simon Devereux, founder of industry diversity and inclusion movement ACCESS:VFX

Honorary Professor in recognition of their contribution to Animation and Visual Effects Education.

With a background as a freelance illustrator and with over 18 years working in the creative industry, Simon Devereux has previously worked as part of talent development and learning teams in visual effects, games, television and commercial radio. Notably, he led the Talent Development Team at Framestore, a leading VFX company.

Simon is also founder and director of ACCESS:VFX, the global industry movement pursuing inclusion, diversity, awareness and opportunity within the VFX, Animation & Games industries.

ACCESS:VFX has successfully united over 100 passionate people around the common goal of addressing the lack of diversity in the VFX industry. Together, they have organised more than 50 events and reached thousands of potential future professionals of primary school age and above across the UK, US and Canada – working with organisations including We Are Stripes, Into Film and This Ability.

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Norwich University of the Arts
Francis House
3-7 Redwell Street
Norwich
NR2 4SN