North East Connected

Celebrated figures to be awarded honorary degrees from Northumbria University

Three eminent figures from the fields of politics, physics and fashion, will be awarded honorary degrees from Northumbria University, Newcastle, this summer.

The degrees will be awarded during the University’s annual honorary degree ceremonies, which take place between Thursday 4 July and Wednesday 10 July.

Historian and former Labour politician Dr Tristram Hunt, Director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, is to receive an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law Degree.

Dr Hunt, who was M.P. for Stoke-on-Trent-Central from 2010-2017 and Shadow Education Secretary between 2013 and 2015 under then Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, has always had an interest in the intersection of science and the arts. From 1997 to 2000 he was a Special Adviser to Science Minister, Lord Sainsbury. He was an Associate Fellow at the Centre for History and Economics at King’s College, Cambridge and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research.

His passion for history came to the fore in 2001, when he was appointed Senior Lecturer in History at Queen Mary, University of London. As well as presenting radio and television history programmes for both the BBC and Channel 4, Tristram is also the author of four history books, including the award-winning biography, “The Frock-coated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Frederick Engels.” During his Parliamentary career, he also served on the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art.

Dr Hunt stood down from the House of Commons in 2017 following his appointment as Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he has since overseen the opening of V&A Dundee, a central part of a £1 billion transformation of the city’s waterfront.

He is also no stranger to Northumbria University, nor to Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums (TWAM). In March last year he gave a lecture “V&A – The Civic and the Global”, hosted in partnership between the University and TWAM.

Dr Hunt actively supports the importance of regional museums, and the vital contribution that they make to civic life in Britain. The V&A has worked closely with colleagues at Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums for many years, and the V&A’s touring exhibitions have travelled to Shipley Art Gallery, Hatton Gallery, South Shields Museum and Laing Art Gallery.

With an interest in the history of great exhibitions – the V&A itself born from the Great Exhibition of 1851 – Tristram has been an advocate of the Great Exhibition of the North. With his support, the V&A has provided important content for the major hub exhibition at Great North Museum, in Newcastle.

North East-born designer Louise Trotter, Creative Director at Lacoste, is to be made an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law.

One of the most influential British women in fashion, Louise was last year appointed the role of Creative Director at French brand Lacoste.

After attending Northumbria University’s predecessor, Newcastle Polytechnic, where she graduated with a Fashion degree in 1991, her early career began at British high-street clothing store Whistles, where she progressed quickly to become Creative Director, overseeing design and buying.

Her success continued as she then relocated to New York to assume the position of Head of Womenswear at Calvin Klein. After that, she became the Vice-President of Womenswear Design at Gap, before taking another top role of SVP Creative Director at Tommy Hilfiger, both roles within the PVH Corporation, one of the largest global apparel companies.

In 2007, Louise moved back to the UK and joined British label Jigsaw as Creative Director, where her first collection for the label was well received by the fashion press. She then took over the reigns as at Joseph as Creative Director in 2009. Following nine game-changing years at Joseph, Louise arrived at the helm of Lacoste ready to write the label’s next chapter. She delivered her first Ready to Wear show for the prestigious French fashion institution during Paris Fashion Week in March.

Prize-winning physicist Professor Julia Yeomans is to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Professor Yeomans is a theoretical physicist, researching how mathematics can be used to understand topics as diverse as waterproofing, how bacteria move, and biological machines.

Professor Yeomans began her academic career at the University of Oxford graduating with a first class degree in Physics. She was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from Oxford in 1979, before moving to the USA as a Research Associate at Cornell University.

She returned to the UK in 1981, taking up a post at Southampton University before moving to an appointment as the Pauline Chan Fellow and Tutor in Physics at St Hilda’s College, Oxford in 1983. In 2002 she was appointed Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford.

Professor Yeomans is a Fellow of the Royal Society, and currently a member of their Council. She has received numerous accolades including the EPJE Pierre Gilles De Gennes Lecture Prize in 2013. Her service in the field of physics has been extensive from chairing Royal Society committees to major international research funding panels. Her latest appointments include the editorial boards of the Journal of Physics A, Molecular Physics and the Oxford Encyclopaedia.

As well as being an official role model for Women in Engineering, Professor Yeomans serves on the advisory panel of the Institute of Physics’ Women in Physics Group. Here in the North East, she has completed four years as Chair of Northumbria’s own Think Physics/NUSTEM Advisory Board.

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