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Leading actor awarded Honorary Professorship from Norwich University of the Arts

One of the UK’s most well-known actors, Russell Tovey has been made an Honorary Professor For Services to Acting and Advocating for Contemporary Art during the Norwich University of the Arts summer graduation ceremonies, which were held at Carrow Road on 11 and 12 July.

With an extensive background in film, television and theatre, award winning actor Russell Tovey can most recently be seen starring as Patrick Read in Ryan Murphy’s eleventh season of the FX horror anthology American Horror Story. He was also nominated for a Critic’s Choice Award for best supporting actor for his role in the critically acclaimed BBC/HBO Drama series Years and Years written by Russell T. Davies alongside Emma Thompson and Jessica Hynes.

Russell Tovey (Photograph by Jason Dimmock)

Speaking about his honorary Professorship, Russell said: “To be awarded an Honorary Professorship of Contemporary Arts from an institution of such high esteem as Norwich University of the Arts means a great deal to me. I am extremely honoured to be listed alongside this year’s talented graduates. This appointment is a tribute to the impact that art has had on my life and I will continue to strive to make art more accessible to the world. Art is for everyone!”

Apart from acting, Russell is also a passionate art collector, “art geek”, and co-hosts art podcast, Talk Art, with friend and gallerist Robert Diament, where their aim is to make art more accessible through interviewing leading artists, curators, celebrities and gallerists about their shared passion of art and have interviewed world renowned names such as Sir Elton John, Billy Porter,  Lena Dunham, Edward Enninful and Sharon Stone to name a few. Their first book “Talk Art:  Everything You Wanted To Ask About Contemporary Art But Were Afraid To Ask” has been listed as one of The Sunday Times’s Top Ten Bestsellers, and their second book “Talk Art The Interviews” has just been released this spring. 

Russell was also on the judging panel of the 2021 Turner Prize and has curated multiple shows with emerging and established artists internationally and this year is WeTransfer’s arts curator- recently completing a national tour of Blue Now – performing live Derek Jarmans final film “Blue” as one of the first of many engagements in his curatorial steer.

Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr, Vice-Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts, said:

“His unique acting talent and internationally recognised contribution to the performing certainly deserves this recognition. However, his commitment to LGBTQ+ advocacy and to contemporary fine art practice, make Russell an absolutely ideal candidate, especially in the year when our first Acting students graduate.”