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University awards honorary degrees to acclaimed ballet dancer and veteran Middle East correspondent

Dr Deborah BullInternationally-acclaimed ballet dancer and broadcaster Deborah Bull and veteran Middle East correspondent and author Patrick Cockburn were among those receiving honorary degrees from the University of Kent last week.

In degree ceremonies at Canterbury Cathedral on 19 November, the University also awarded honorary degrees to distinguished architect David Chipperfield and well-known Kent choral musical director Dr Richard Cooke.

Deborah Bull, awarded an honorary doctor of arts degree, is a dancer, writer and broadcaster who gained worldwide fame as a Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet. During her 20 years with the Royal Ballet, she danced a wide range of leading roles, including Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Born in Derby but living for part of her childhood in Kent, Deborah Bull retired from the Royal Ballet in 2001 to become Creative Director of ROH2 at the Royal Opera House, where she had earlier founded the Artists’ Development Initiative (ADI). In 2001, ADI shared the Time Out Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance. In 2008 she was made Creative Director of the Royal Opera House.

As well as her dancing career, Deborah Bull has written regularly and lectured on the arts. She has published three books and is a regular contributor to the media, including writing articles for the Times, Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Times. Her first programme for television, Dance Ballerina Dance, was screened at Christmas 1999 as part of BBC2’s Dance Night. She was also a member of Arts Council England from 1998-2005 and was a Governor of the BBC from 2003-06. She was made a CBE in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours List.

Patrick Cockburn, awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree, is an Irish journalist who has established a reputation as one of the most experienced commentators on Iraq. A Middle East correspondent since 1979, first for the Financial Times and most recently the Independent, he also written three books on Iraq’s history. His journalism has been recognised with a succession of awards, including the Martha Gellhorn Prize in 2005, the James Cameron prize in 2006 and the Orwell Prize for his coverage of Iraq and his son’s schizophrenia in 2009. In 2010, he also won a Peace through Media Award from the International Council for Press and Broadcasting at the sixth annual International Media Awards.

Born in Ireland 1950 and raised in Country Cork, Patrick Cockburn has written three books on Iraq, the first of which, Out of Ashes: the Resurrection of Saddam Hussein, was written with his brother Andrew Cockburn, also a journalist. The two other books, of which he was the sole author, were The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (2006) and Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq (2008). Cockburn’s memoir, The Broken Boy, recalled his childhood in 1950s Ireland, and chronicled his own experiences of surviving polio and the wider issue of the way the disease was handled at the time. (A picture of Patrick Cockburn is available

David Chipperfield, awarded an honorary doctor of arts degree, studied at Kingston School of Art and the Architectural Association in London. After graduating, he worked at the practices of Douglas Stephen, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster. David Chipperfield Architects was established in 1984 has since won over 50 national and international competitions, awards and citations for design excellence. Among these was the 2007 Stirling Prize.

In 2004 David Chipperfield was made an Honorary Member of the Florence Academy of Art and Design, and was made a CBE for services to architecture. In 2007, further international recognition came when he was made an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and an Honorary Member of the Bund Deutscher Architekten, while two years later he was awarded Germany’s Order of Merit – that nation’s highest tribute for services. In the 2010 UK New Year honours he was awarded a knighthood for services to architecture. Later the same year, the Royal Institute of British Architects announced that David Chipperfield would be the recipient of the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture 2011. Given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is approved personally by the Queen.

Dr Richard Cooke, awarded an honorary doctor of music degree, marked his 25th anniversary as Music Director of Canterbury Choral Society in June of last year. During this time the choir, under his direction, has given over 130 concerts in Canterbury Cathedral of works composed over four centuries. He has appeared with them every year in the Canterbury Festival since it was re-launched in 1984, usually giving either the opening or the closing concert.

Richard Cooke was born in Cornwall in 1950 and spent his early years there before becoming a boy chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London at the age of eight. Later he sang as a Choral Scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge under Sir David Willcocks. His career in conducting began at Cambridge and his training as a professional singer led him to many subsequent appointments as a choral conductor. These included seven years as Director of Choral Music at Tiffin School in Kingston-on-Thames, assistant Chorus Master to the London Symphony Chorus for six years, Conductor of The London Philharmonic Choir for ten years, and Chef des Choeurs at the Opéra de Lyon. In addition to his conducting, he is in demand as a teacher for young singers, many of whom have gone on to flourishing national and international careers.


Story published at 3:48pm 22 November 2010

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