Oscar-nominated actor Ralph Fiennes, BAFTA-winning actor Tom Hardy, Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing and fashion designer Phoebe Philo are among twelve leading figures in the creative and cultural sectors to be given honorary awards by UAL this year.

Honourees slider
L-R – Tom Hardy, Phoebe Philo, Ralph Fiennes, Gillian Wearing

They will be recognised for their outstanding contributions to the creative industries at UAL’s graduation ceremonies at the Royal Festival Hall from 14th-17th July 2015.

The full list of honourees for 2015 is:

  • Bill Amberg, accessories designer
  • Zeinab Badawi,journalist
  • Jonathan Barnbrook,graphic designer
  • Simon Costin,set designer
  • Ilse Crawford, interior designer
  • Tacita Dean, photographer and filmmaker
  • Theo Fennell,jewellery designer
  • Ralph Fiennes, actor
  • Tom Hardy, actor
  • Phoebe Philo, fashion designer
  • Peter Saville, graphic designer
  • Gillian Wearing, artist

Ralph Fiennes studied at Chelsea College of Arts in 1981, before going on to study acting at RADA.

He said on receiving this honorary award: “I was only at Chelsea College of Arts for a year but I know that the intense stimulation of that course provoked me, or perhaps challenged me, to want to act – to be an actor.

“A career as an actor is not a career as a visual artist but for me there are strong links and connections between all artistic disciplines and expression. The work of an actor and the work of a painter or of a director may join forces.

“The questions and challenges I encountered during that brief time at Chelsea College of Arts were rigorous: they were about life, ways of seeing, ways of interpreting the world, ways of communicating. They haven’t gone away. I feel deeply honoured to receive this Honorary Fellowship from University of the Arts London.”

Tom Hardy studied at Drama Centre London before going on to win the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2011.

He said on receiving this honorary award: “It is an unexpected pleasure to be honoured by UAL in any way. I am very grateful and proud to receive this honour and be acknowledged at all by such a prestigious establishment.”

Gillian Wearing studied at Chelsea College of Arts before going on to win the Turner Prize in 1997.

She said on receiving this honorary award: “Being accepted at Chelsea College of Arts in the mid-eighties changed my life. I had worked for six years before as an office clerk/secretary before applying to art foundation course. Being refused by all except the Chelsea Art and Design BTEC, I had gone there to become a graphic designer but was told by a tutor that I had a fine art sensibility and that I should pursue that. It is now incredible that I have the honour of returning, having been awarded an Honorary Fellowship for my outstanding contribution to Conceptual Art, and it is with deep gratitude that I accept this honour as I became an artist because of the college.”

The honourees will be recognised for their contributions to their fields in eight graduation ceremonies over four days at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank. Each will address graduating UAL students and share their experiences and advice for a successful career in the creative industries. For full biographies of all 12 honourees, please visit our dedicated graduation page.

The ceremonies will be streamed live on UAL’s website and live-tweeted under the hashtag #UALgrads.