13 July 2000

By Danny Coleman,2014-05-06 11:38
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13 July 2000

13 July 2000

Doctor of Letters

    Amanda Nevill

Chancellor, a week ago, the University had the opportunity to entertain the Chief

    Executive of the Higher Education Funding Council - the body that funds higher

    education in this country. It was his first visit to the University, and to the City, and,

    not surprisingly, we were anxious that he departed with the best possible impression

    indeed, we had a financial incentive to ensure that he did so. We wanted to convey

    the message that Bradford was exciting, pioneering, imaginative and collaborative.

    Despite a very tight schedule we were keen to include a brief visit to the National

    Museum of Photography, Film and Television, located here in Bradford, as part of the


Like every other visitor to the Museum, he was captivated by what he saw or, rather,

    what he experienced - for seeing is perhaps too passive a concept for what greets the

    visitor to the most visited museum outside London. Even the most senior and hard-

    nosed public officials can fall prey, almost childlike, to its spell. Our guest‟s verdict

    was unambiguous it was, he said, quite simply the „best museum‟ he had ever

    visited. Few would quarrel with the assessment.

Our honorary graduand this morning has the credit - she would say the privilege - of

    being head of the Museum, part of the National Museum of Science and Industry.

    But even the epithet „national‟ fails to do justice to something that is, by any

    standards, truly world class.

    Amanda Nevill has good Yorkshire credentials. Born in Leeds, schooled in York, we

    might forgive that it took her a little time to reach Bradford. One of five children born

    to John and Jill King, her family background provides little clue about her future

    destiny. Amanda‟s father ran the family firm established by her great grandfather.

    On the face of it, Chancellor, intimacy with the manufacture of metal chains and

    conveyors appears of little direct relevance to someone whose main interests in life

    were to be cultural and visual. However, it is perhaps fortunate that Amanda inherited

    at least some family genes, notably an aptitude for initiative, a capacity for hard work,

    and sound commercial acumen.

Leaving Bar Convent School in York, Amanda moved to Wennington School at

    Wetherby and, subsequently, to Gateways School at Harewood, near Leeds. Though

    offered a place at university, she chose instead to follow her interests in French

    language and literature at the British Institute in Paris, emerging with impressive

    results in phonetics, grammar, translation and 19

    th century French literature.

    Returning to England in 1976, she attended the French Institute in London for a year

    adding a pretty nimble speed in French shorthand to her portfolio of qualifications.

    But by this stage, a clear career path had begun to emerge and, like many things in life,

    it was part serendipity. When asked to list the crucial influences in their life, few

    people would include the local bus schedule. But, in this case, Amanda has some

    cause to be grateful to the irregularity of Leeds City Transport. Returning from

    shopping trips to town with her grandmother, and faced with a long wait at the

Headrow bus stop, she would pop into the adjacent Leeds City Art Gallery whilst

    waiting for the next No. 21 bus to Roundhay. Unusual among municipal galleries at

    that time, Leeds had a policy of buying good contemporary art, and it was there that thshe saw her first work by Bridget Riley. She was fascinated by what she saw. century Dutch still life. It is difficult to imagine too many eleven-year

     olds preferring this to the more usual trip to the seaside or to the theme park, but

    Around the same time, the end of term „treat‟ at Bar Convent School in York was a Amanda can still recall being „mesmerised by the lecture from start to finish‟. Indeed,

    lecture on 17as a teenager, her first trip to London was to see a Turner exhibition at the Royal


The time spent in Paris gave her opportunity to experience first hand the art and the

    culture that had, hitherto, been limited to the printed page or pictoral reproductions.

On leaving the French Institute in 1977, Amanda applied successfully for a job at the

    Rowan Gallery. It would be a major achievement for any art lover to land such a job,

    but especially so for a twentyyear old just starting out. The Rowan Gallery was

    seriously into contemporary art, acting as agents for the likes of Andy Warhol,

    Bridget Riley and sculptor Philip King.

    On her 21st birthday, Amanda decided to treat herself to a painting. It is not clear whether she actually emerged with a painting under her arm but what she did come

    away with was a new job in her pocket. She met Francis Kyle who was about to

    establish a new Gallery and was quickly snapped up to help with the enterprise.

Between them, the two jobs were perfect grounding Rowan allowed unparalleled

    access to leading contemporary art and working with Francis Kyle exposed her to a

    fiercely entrepreneurial spirit.

    A year later, Amanda moved to Bath and soon, like many women, career interests had

    to be juggled with family responsibilities. Even so, it did not prevent her from

    launching the first contemporary art fair as part of Bath Annual Festival. Despite

    some resistance, and the fact that the market for such work was, at that time, relatively

    small, tickets were sold out on the first day. Amanda was to run the fair for five years.

But, by far, the „productions‟ of that period in which she takes greatest pride are her

    daughters, Abigail and Cordelia, both of whom, along with Amanda‟s mother, we are

    pleased to welcome today.

Fate was soon again to step in when Amanda discovered that, in partnership with the

    BBC, Kodak was organising an exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society entitled

    the Living Body. Feeling bold, she wrote to the President of the Society offering her

    services. She was slightly surprised to be summoned for interview by an intimidating

    array of grey-suited chief executives but they were clearly impressed since, by the

    time she had driven home to her parents in Leeds, a representative of Kodak had

    tracked her down and was ringing to offer the job. He asked two questions would

    she do it and how much did she want to be paid? The first was simple to answer; she

    had no idea how to respond to the second. It was fortunate that her father was on

    hand to suggest a figure a rather large sum that Amanda feared would cause them to

    withdraw the offer - but, wisely, they agreed to pay.

    The Royal Photographic Society was to be Amanda‟s workplace for the next nine years, first as administrator (in effect, the public face of the Society) and then, following the retirement of the Society‟s Secretary in 1990, as Chief Executive and Secretary. Not bad for a 33 year-old.

    The Society‟s loss was to be Bradford‟s gain when, in 1994, Amanda was persuaded

    to come to Bradford to head up the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. Already established as one of the country‟s most successful and innovative museums under its first director, Colin Ford, it has gone from strength to strength under Amanda‟s energetic and visionary stewardship.

    For many here today, early recollections of museums may conjure up the picture of an enforced school tour around a dark and dingy building with dusty and glass-encased exhibits, guarded by a crusty curator whose prime aim in life appeared to be to keep visitor and exhibit as far apart as possible. Nothing could be further away from what the four million visitors who have come to the National Museum have experienced.

    Boasting more visitors than the V & A, and even occasionally outperforming the Dome, the Museum is home to the nation‟s collection of photographs with over three million items. Though often known simply as the „National Photographic Museum‟, as its proper title suggests, its remit and displays cover the whole range of cinematography and television. Its exhibits range from the earliest film footage and John Logie-Baird‟s prototype televisions through to the most up-to-date visualising

    and imaging equipment. Notably, it installed the first IMAX screen in Europe, and this remained the only such facility in Britain until two years ago.

    In common with museums, it celebrates the past but, unlike many, it also has its eyes set firmly on the future. Although devoted to the visual, it exploits all of the senses. Above all, it epitomises the growing convergence of science, culture, entertainment and education. The University is certainly very proud of its association one that is

    manifested in this hall by the array of Electronic Imaging students who are graduating today.

    And what then of Amanda‟s particular contribution to this success story? Quite simply she is the driving force. Through energy and a continuing dedication to enhancing the visitor experience, the museum goes from strength to strength. It is illustrated by the way that she negotiated the funding, and steered the Museum through its recent ?17 million refit. In reality, it was much more than a refurbishment, with its new Imaging Frontiers, it was a total transformation.

    But when pressed about her personal accomplishments, she is quick to deflect and to pay tribute to others, both her colleagues at the Museum and those whose work and views have shaped her own. Prominent amongst these are the Director of the National Science Museum, Sir Neil Cossons, who has been such a staunch supporter and mentor, and David Putnam, Chair of the Museum‟s Advisory Committee, whose own energy, imagination and simple thirst for knowledge are so well mirrored in our honorary graduand.

Amanda is universally described by colleagues as energetic, focused, committed she

    demands the highest standards, both of herself and of others. She is a person of boundless energy who is, in every sense, an inspirational leader.

I might give two examples not many bosses would be able to persuade colleagues to

    join them on teambuilding exercises on the sands at Sunderland. (I would certainly not advise our Vice Chancellor to test the loyalty of his senior colleagues by

    suggesting something similar!) Even fewer would attempt, as she did when meeting the Queen a couple of weeks ago, to try to flog a family ticket to see

    IMAX…..although, to be fair, I think she did offer a small discount as the Queen

    Mum‟s birthday present.

    Amanda says that, when she leaves the house each day, she feels as if she is starting afresh. Those who consider themselves „all knowing‟ are the people who have

    stopped learning. She is passionate about what she does and absolutely committed to conveying that passion to her visitors.

    Chancellor, Amanda Nevill thinks she‟s lucky to have the job she enjoys. We know that we are the lucky ones to have her, and the Museum, in the heart of our City. The University values many collaborations with institutions, both here and overseas, but I can think of none that have given us so much enrichment, and enjoyment, as that with the National Museum of Photography, Film, and Television.

    Chancellor, for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, I present Amanda Elizabeth Nevill.

Oration given by Professor Colin Mellors

Doctor of Letters

George Layton

My Lady and Chancellor, happy are those who actually enjoy their remunerative

    employment. Not only do they experience a deep sense of personal fulfilment in their

    work, but in general their performance is enhanced by the pleasure derived from what

    they do. Such happy people appear to be in a minority these days. Far too many of us

    are occupied in boring and dead-end jobs, undertaking repetitive, routine tasks,

    communicating only via the screens of personal computers, studying endless spread-

    sheets, being slaves to drudgery and bureaucracy, all in the cause of making money.

But George Layton, our present nominee for an honorary doctorate, is most certainly

    one of the happy minority, and throughout the forty years of his career to date his

    strong sense of „joie de vivre‟ has been matched by an equally ample sense of „joie de

    travailler‟. He was born on 2 March 1942 here in Bradford at St Luke‟s Hospital,

    about half a mile from the spot where he is now, and he‟s come a long way since then!

    He was the son of Austrian parents who had settled in Bradford. He attended

    Lilycroft Primary School in Manningham, where one of his teachers, Mrs Hartney, set

    George on the way to a career on the stage. It was at that time when George was

    rehearsing for, and appearing in, a school play that his mother, Edith, recognised that

he had become much easier to control. One wonders whether the same applies still


But George‟s next school, Belle Vue Grammar School, needed some persuasion that

    he was made for an acting career. While he was a pupil there during the 1950s, he

    was involved in his own extramural activities at the Civic Playhouse in Bradford,

    where the secretary received a written request from George‟s headmaster at Belle Vue,

    asking that he be discouraged from participation in the theatre; happily the secretary

    had recognised George‟s Thespian talent and potential, and she went personally to the

    school to persuade the headmaster to withdraw his request. Subsequent events have

    shown what a lesson that is for all of us who are professionally involved in education.

    It was from the Civic Playhouse in the late 1950s that George went on his first

    theatrical tour, to the Torre Abbey Theatre in Torquay to perform in “Seagulls over

    Sorrento”, an experience marred by difficult relationships between the all-male cast

    and a formidable female stage-manager.

From school in Bradford, George won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of

    Dramatic Art in London, where he won the Emile Littler award for Most Promising

    Actor. So his professional stage career was launched, enabling him to do what he

    always wanted and loved. He starred at the New Theatre, Bromley, with Helen

    Shapiro in the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, which

    sounds like a course which we ought to run at the University Management Centre!

    And when Miss Shapiro moved to play the part of Nancy in a production of “Oliver”

    at the Albery Theatre, George went with her as Fagin, the first of his two spells in that

    role, first at the Albery and later at the Palladium. He recalls with relish how once,

    while Fagin was counting his ill-gotten cash on stage, a five-pound note was blown

    off stage into the orchestra pit, only to be grasped back from the conductor by the

    avaricious Fagin. Or again, at the same point in the show, how the siren of a police-

    car was heard passing the theatre, much to Fagin‟s spontaneous consternation. Or

    again, when Fagin was teaching his gang of boys “How to pick a pocket or two”, how

    he found that young Oliver had actually gone to sleep. All actors should beware of

    the dangers of appearing with children or animals!!

George Layton‟s face has become known to millions through his many television

    appearances. In the first “Dr Who” series, with Patrick Troughton in the lead, George played the part of Navigator Penn. In “It Ain‟t Half Hot, Mum” on BBC Television

    he took the part of Bombardier Solomons, and he created the role of Paul Collier in

    the London Weekend Television programmes “Doctor in the House”, “Doctor at Large”, “Doctor in Charge”, and the BBC programme “Doctor at the Top”. And, for

    all these Doctor programmes, George was the scriptwriter, so we can now speculate

    on whether there will soon be a new series entitled “Doctor of Letters”. His

    scriptwriting activities also created six series of “Don‟t wait up” on BBC TV with

    Nigel Havers and Tony Britton, which was awarded Best Comedy Series of 1990 by

    the Television and Radio Industries Club. And to show his versatility further, George

    provided the voice-over for the gormless Sydney in the commercial TV advertisement

    for Tetley‟s tea bags.

His skill as a writer has already produced two best-selling books, first “The Fib”

    published by Longman in 1975 and secondly, “The Swap” by Macmillan in 1998,

    both of which are collections of short stories about a schoolboy growing up in a

    northern industrial town. While these books are fiction, the reader may easily detect the scene set in Bradford about 1950. And George is now at work on a novel set in North West London, wherever that may be!

    We extend a warm welcome today to this son of Bradford, to his wife, Moya and members of the family, and we wish him continued success in all the work that he enjoys so much, especially in the role of Mr Selophane in the musical show “Chicago”, which he is due to begin at the Adelphi Theatre next month. I know that he is “right chuffed” to be here today, and we are “right chuffed” to see him here.

    Chancellor, I present to you, for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters, George Michael William Rafael Layton, for his contribution as an actor and a writer.

Oration given by Dr Edmund Marshall

Doctor of the University

Emeritus Professor David Howson

Chancellor, this oration is a Tale of Two Cities Bradford and Florence. You may

    say what a strange conjunction is this! Bradford is where I work and Florence is

    where I go on holiday. What relevance does this have to today‟s address? Let me elaborate: Bradford represents Technology and Florence represents Art. It is a Tale

    of Two Cultures. C.P. Snow wrote about the problems and challenges in his book of the same title. More of this in a moment.

    David Howson was appointed a Professor of Electronic and Electrical Engineering in the University of Bradford in 1967, following a Senior Lectureship at the University of Birmingham. He was Head of the Deptartment of Electronic and Electrical Engineering here for many years and Dean of Engineering for 3 terms (8 years in all). He was also founder of the Dept of Electronic Imaging and Media Communications (EIMC for short) in 1991. He was awarded a DSc by the University of Birmingham in 1968. His move to Bradford was to start a brain drain of distinguished telecommunications researchers from Birmingham to Bradford, including Professor John Gardiner and Dr Peter Bowron. His was also a Director of Aerial Facilities plc from 1974-1997, a company which grew to over 200 employees during this period.

    It was the golden age of telecommunications research. Money, staff, and space were plentiful. An international reputation for the research and the Department was soon established.

    My colleagues often speak of David Howson‟s enterpreneurial approach. On one occasion the necessary equipment was not to hand so he drafted in some empty beer barrels from the car park to act as electronic resonators in a particular experiment. It was a cause of much merriment at the time, and also several papers! He developed innovative taught courses including 3 joint MSc courses, 2 with UMIST and 1 with

Loughborough, and several MEng courses jointly with industry. He also served as

    EIMC Admissions Tutor for many years as well as being Head of the Department.

In 1990/91 he saw the first signs of a drop in undergraduate applications to EEE and

    also a decline in industrial opportunities. Hence the move to develop something new

     EIMC was born.

What is it this EIMC that David Howson has produced?

Technology, Media, Art & Design. How can I best describe this? May I use some



    Technology is like the serve of Pete Sampras 135 mph very fast, cutting edge, and

    the platform on which the rest of the game is built. However, unlike the Sampras‟

    serve, technology doubles in speed every 1.5 years. Imagine coming back to next

    year‟s Wimbledon as a potential competitor and finding the Sampras‟ serve had gone

    up to 270 mph. Wow! This is what technology does for you! When humans reach the limit of their capability, technology can assist us to do so much more.


    Media is like Jeremy Paxman. In your face. Getting your attention. Polling the

    international community. Putting you on the spot. There is no escape. For good or

    ill this is it. Wow!

    Art & Design

    Art is like Sir Ernst Gombrich. Author of the best-selling text “The History of Art”.

    We had lunch with Dr Gombrich some years ago. He was then 91. He had to leave at

    1.30 pm to give a seminar at Imperial College. Age doesn‟t matter where art is

    concerned. Wow!

Three “Wow Factors” behind EIMC. How can you remember them? You are already

    ahead of me. WWW. World Wide Web. It encapsulates all three aspects.

So, what is EIMC?

    1. A new degree course. Like all good engineers, David was more concerned with

    developing products than using them. In this case, the product was the integration

    of technology and media. It became very popular with a new generation of

    students wanting an interdisciplinary approach attracting an average A level st Year entry of 24.9. points on 1

2. It was a capitalisation on local partnerships. More beer barrels, if you like! But

    this time filled with vintage wine! One was the long history of Art and Design in

    Bradford College, and the other was the stunning National Museum of

    Photography, Film & Television. Special thanks are due to Mary Wilson and Tim

    Appelbee in Bradford College and Amanda Nevill (and her predecessor, Colin

    Ford) and Tony Sweeney at the Museum for supporting this vision and

    continuing to support it.

3. EIMC Graduates. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex said in a

    recent Funding Council Conference on 28 June: “Graduates are the main source

    of knowledge transmission into industry”. This year‟s 90 EIMC graduates are a

    continuation of an excellent tradition.

    The spirit in EIMC is due in no small measure to its founder!

    Since 1994, the EIMC Dept has generated 450 graduates. This represents

    approximately ?7 million in Funding Council income to the University. If we

    were to operate a royalty system to the author, of say, 5% - he would be doing

    very nicely. However, the real royalty value for the country and our future is

    the graduates, and how they go out and change the world.

4. EIMC is an opportunity for growth in the University. Our world is changing

    whether we like it or not, or whether we agree with it or not.

5. EIMC is a real challenge for University Administrators! When any new initiative

    comes along it is inevitably a challenge by definition - to the status quo. On

    behalf of the Department, I would like to thank the University for all the help and

    support we have received.

6. Above all, EIMC is FUN! This provides the BUZZ!

So if David Howson is an entrepreneur, what is an entrepreneur?

1. Someone who can use resources at hand and create something innovative and new.

    The early days of EIMC were characterised by “beg, steal and borrow”. A

    makeshift Departmental office with packing cases for a counter. Staff were

    borrowed from other areas of the University in order to get things going. And

    virtually no equipment.

2. Someone who never takes no for an answer. Many people today tell me that

    something is impossible. All they are saying is that they can‟t do it.

    3. Someone who gets ahead of the game. But you only realise this in retrospect.

    In 1995 I was asked to prepare a report for a Committee of the Higher Education

    Funding Council on this area of “new media”. I was surprised to learn that EIMC

    had already been going for 3 years, delivering its first set of graduates in 1994.

    He had stolen a march on the Funding Council and traditional lines of approach

    they were just getting around to considering it. The University got a lead which

    has been a great advantage with the subsequent rise of the competition in this area

    in other Universities. It is fair to say EIMC is the brand leader in the UK, which is

    why the short form of EIMC is so well known.

4. Someone who overcomes the opposition, or goes round it. He used his own

    ingenuity to provide solutions. You have to be a visionary, or an innovator to

    make it work and to carry it forward with a team of likeminded people. David

    Howson put that team together. Particular credit is due to the team members of

    whom are here today. In addition to those I have already mentioned, Roger Green

    was an early convert and loyal supporter, and Paula Dale has provided front line

    support from the inception of the Department and has been David Howson‟s

    shadow in converting principles into practice.

So what about Bradford and Florence? Does EIMC integrate technology and

    art? Yes, indeed!

    Does the University accept this? Most certainly. Our applications for student places in EIMC are up substantially this year. It is an unprecedented increase.

What is the killer argument for the remaining doubters? Benchmarking what is

    done here with international initiatives and standards. Rosabeth Kantor‟s book:

    “World Class – Thriving Locally in a Global Economy” sets out the challenge. We

    can only survive in the longer term if what we do locally stands up to international

    scrutiny and meets international standards and requirements. The Internet and media

    communications has created the global village. Our Departments in UK Universities

    can no longer be the corner store in the local village and sell our courses to a local UK

    community. If it doesn‟t meet the need, our local customers will buy global from

    somewhere better over the Internet.

    What is the closest analogue in the USA? Let‟s do a Jeremy Paxman and poll someone across the water. MIT Media Lab. This came out of the Architecture

    Deptartment, not Engineering, because its founder happened to be an architect. The

    trials and tribulations of MIT Media Lab in a very conservative engineering

    University have been well documented in the press. It was a rocky road. However, it

    is now very successful particularly in generating overseas sponsorship. It has 300

    people, 170 sponsors, 100 projects.

The world is moving on. You are either on board or left behind. Other major US

    Universities have followed MIT. Stanford has a large computer graphics programme.

    Carnegie Mellon has set up new initiatives this year in entertainment technology.

    Cornell University has one of the largest computer graphics programme in the whole

    country. Brown University does leading work in graphics and interaction. When it‟s

    validated by the Ivy League, we have most definitely ar rived.

I was very pleased recently to give a former EIMC graduate (and prizewinner) the

    highest recommendation to enter the postgraduate programme at MIT Media Lab. I

    am sure he will be very successful and hold his own with the best of them. This is

    what it‟s all about.

In conclusion, David Howson has created brand leaders and winners in both

    telecommunications, and in digital media - that can be benchmarked against

    international standards and trends. He has made the difference an example to all

    who follow

    - don‟t take „no‟ for an answer

    - listen to what the market and employers have to say

    - give the students the customers what they want

    - motivate and inspire the staff

    - train a successor to carry forward the banner

Above all create a vision. Pass the baton to the next generation. With this it will

    continue to grow and develop. The challenges he faced have been a tremendous

    learning experience for all the staff and students. This is something we can all build

    on in the future.

William Blake over 200 years ago penned these words

    “He who binds to himself a joy Does the winged like destroy,

    But he who kisses the joy as it flies

    Lives in eternity’s sunrise”

Chancellor, for his contributions to the field of radio telecommunications and for his

    pioneering work in developing and promoting interdisciplinary courses involving

    collaboration with the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television and

    with Bradford College, I present Emeritus Professor David Howson for the degree of

    honorary Doctor of the University.

Oration given by Rae Earnshaw

    Doctor of the University

Professor Emerita Sheila Allen

Success can come to an academic in many ways. Research, scholarship, teaching,

    administration, management, leadership, contribution to wider society and community.

    Most colleagues would claim distinction in one of these areas, a number in two or

    more. Few, a very few, can claim excellence in all. Sheila Allen is one of those

    remarkable few.

Sheila is a sociologist. Like all good scientists, her work is driven by an

    overwhelming curiosity. Like all good scientists, Sheila has been driven to make her

    academic mark, a significant and lasting contribution to her discipline. It is a dream

    few colleagues achieve - and a mark of Sheila‟s distinction that she has made not one,

    but two such contributions. She was first drawn to work in the area then known as

    „race relations‟. Her work helped transform it into the now widely accepted, and

    more widely relevant, field of racism and ethnic relations, work eloquently

    summarised in her seminal book New Minorities, Old Conflicts. Sheila was also one

    of the few brave academics who introduced the study of gender into British

    universities in the late sixties and early seventies. Brave because, at the time, they

    met with hostility, especially from some senior members of the profession who felt

    this new field to be unworthy of serious study. Sheila persevered. Thank goodness.

    Her work helped ensure a situation in which gender relations are now seen as central

    and indispensable to a proper understanding of society.

Many of you will already have noticed a common theme. Sheila‟s interests are in the

    distribution of power, the position of the disadvantaged and deprived, the

    development of equal opportunities and equal treatment for all. It is an interest born

    from her background. Female and working class, she went to university in the 1950s

    when entry was mainly restricted to a very small, middle-class elite. But at that time

    it was even more difficult. Many places were reserved for personnel returning from

    the war. Sheila first wanted to study Languages, but couldn‟t afford the year abroad.

    She next thought of History, but all places were taken. She turned her thoughts to

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