Published on 26 February 2018
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Graeme Thompson, has been awarded the Royal Television Society's Pilgrim Award, which recognises outstanding voluntary service to the Society.
As well as Graeme's responsibilities for engagement and culture at the University, including his role as Chair of the new Sunderland Culture Company, he also chairs the Arts Council-funded community arts project, The Cultural Spring and was on the Steering Group for Sunderland’s City of Culture 2021 Bid. Graeme is also Chair of the International Group of the North East Cultural Partnership and the Royal Television Society Education Committee in London.
Graeme was nominated for the Pilgrim Award in recognition of all that he did for the Royal Televison Society during a successful 15 years as Chair of the North East and the Border Centre, a role he stood down from in June 2017.
New Chair, Will Nicholson and Deputy Chair, Joanna Makepeace-Woods nominated Graeme for the honour; Will commented: "Graeme leaves a remarkable legacy and an enthusiastic committee to take the Centre forward. He has been a Trustee of the charity and is probably one of the few individuals who have served as a committee member across two RTS Centres.
Joanne added: "Graeme was Managing Director of ITV Tyne Tees and Border until 2009 and drew on the experience of his diverse and fascinating career. His passion for hosting educational and industry relevant events for the RTS meant that whether you were a student or an industry professional, his outlook for the Centre ensured that attendees went away with a greater understanding of the industry in which they worked, or wished to work in. Education is central to Graeme and the synchronicity between the University and the RTS has been greatly beneficial.
"Graeme is a real champion for the RTS both regionally and nationally. On a personal level he is the reason I got involved with the RTS as a committee and now Vice Chair. He has encouraged and supported me since our first meeting and I’m sure many can say the same. He has championed so many talented individuals and companies in the region it’s only fitting that he gets this recognition."
The RTS Young Persons Media Festival (YPMF) was created by the North East and the Border Centre and has always had the full support of Graeme and the committee. It is hosted at the impressive Media Centre at the University of Sunderland and the University's commitment inspires the next generation to have their work showcased in a very professional manner.
Graeme continues as Chair of the RTS Educational Committee. He is very proud of the bursary scheme that encourages talented but less affluent students to pursue a career in television. He is passionate about this and being at the University the committee is well placed to draw on his experience.
Will concluded: "Graeme has given to the RTS, the North East and the education sector for most of his career. His service to the charity has been and continues to be exemplary and it is for he thoroughly deserves to receive the RTS Pilgrim Award in recognition of his hard work, dedication and legacy."