Canterbury Christ Church University students have been celebrating their achievements at graduation ceremonies in Kent and Medway this week. The University also awarded Turner Contemporary’s Director, Victoria Pomery OBE, an Honorary Doctorate in recognition of her work and success in the visual arts, both regionally and nationally, during a ceremony on Friday 31 January 2020.
Victoria has spent her entire career working in the arts and is the founding Director of Turner Contemporary, having been appointed in 2002. She has led the strategy of developing an ambitious programme of arts and creativity that extends beyond the gallery and supports a cultural-led regeneration of Margate and east Kent. Since opening in 2011 Turner Contemporary has helped Margate rediscover its place as a tourist destination, attracting over 3.5 million visitors.
Victoria is also Vice-Chair of the Cultural Transformation Board in Kent, trustee of the Bethlem Gallery, as well as a Kent ambassador. She received her OBE for services to the arts in 2012.
Clive Stevens, Chair of Turner Contemporary, said: “This is a fantastic accolade and a great testament to Victoria’s longstanding commitment to and leadership of Turner Contemporary. The gallery has shown that art and creativity can drive economic and social impact and this award is a reflection of Turner Contemporary’s leading role in the South East, and beyond. Looking ahead to our 10th anniversary year, Victoria, the trustees and wider team will continue to build on the accomplishments to date and work to ensure the gallery’s ongoing success and sustainability.”
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “We are delighted to welcome Victoria to our University community in recognition of her work in the arts, and especially within our local region.
“The University has strong relationship with Turner Contemporary, working together on many research and outreach projects to support the aims and ambitions of the gallery and the creative arts. We were proud to partner with the gallery last year as it hosted the national Turner Prize 2019 exhibition, recognised as the gallery’s most popular ever autumn showcase, and was also the second most visited Turner Prize exhibition since the Prize was established in 1984. Such success demonstrates the potential of the visual arts to help transform and regenerate regions, and highlights the important work of Victoria and her colleagues, both at the gallery and across our region.”
In ceremonies held at the prestigious Canterbury and Rochester cathedrals, over 1,200 undergraduate and postgraduate students, from across all faculties, have been receiving their awards in front of families, friends and the University community.