Students from Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon kicked off the first UAL graduation ceremonies of the week yesterday.

Chancellor Kwame Kwei Armah

The class of 2012 crossed the stage of the Royal Festival Hall in front of their family and friends to become the University’s newest alumni.

They were joined by distinguished figures from the world of art who were awarded honorary doctorates and fellowships in recognition of their contributions – renowned sculptor Tony Cragg, conservator Christopher Clarkson, art writer and critic Adrian Searle and production designer Sarah Greenwood.

Tony Cragg, Christopher Clarkson and Sarah Greenwood

Sarah, a Wimbledon alumnus now famed for her designs for films including Atonement and Sherlock Holmes, recalled that she graduated in the early 1980s, a time of similar economic conditions to those faced by this week’s graduates. “In these times, we fight back hardest with our creativity, our bite and our drive,” she declared.

“We continue to reinvent and create, providing a world for others to escape to.”

Adrian Searle

Agreeing that creative talent is vital to today’s world, Tony Cragg added, to cheers from the audience: “Art should have a greater influence. We should not leave the future to politicians and business people.”

Graduates at the Royal Festival Hall

All the week’s graduation ceremonies are being streamed live online – watch them here: