Honour for arts guru

Darren Henley OBE

Published on 11 July 2019

Darren Henley OBE is author of more than 30 books. He is a journalist, broadcaster, and as Chief Executive of Arts Council England, is the country’s strongest advocate for art and culture in all its forms.

Born in Kent he began his career as a freelance radio journalist and joined Classic FM in 1992, when it first went on air. At the station he rapidly rose through the ranks to become Managing Director in 2006.

In 2011 Darren was asked by the Government to undertake an independent review into music and cultural education and in 2013 was awarded an OBE for services to music. In the same year he was awarded the Sir Charles Groves Prize for his outstanding contribution to British music.

In 2015 he was named as the new Chief Executive of Arts Council England, and very soon afterwards visited Sunderland. He has returned often, and describes the city as a very special place “with creativity in its DNA”. He says that he shares the great work being done in the city, and our University, whenever possible.

He said: “Sunderland is a city full of creativity and it has an established reputation for manufacturing and making things.

"The University is very much at the centre of this creativity and innovation, as well as being at the heart of many of the changes happening in the city. 0It must be very special if you are a student to come here and experience the changes that are happening.

"Of course, now we have the School of Medicine opening so it will be very interesting to see the fusion between that and the arts and creative side of the University. These days arts play a huge role in the wellness side of things, so I think they will sit well together.

"I am chuffed and grateful to be honoured in this way. This is a great University which produces great students and carries out great research. I wish all the graduating students all the luck in the world."

Darren Henley OBE was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts for his career championing the role of culture and creative industries in shaping society.