The Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury

Awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy by the University in 2016, The Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury (Chris Smith) is a former Culture Secretary.

Born in 1951, Chris was educated in Edinburgh and then Pembroke College, Cambridge, achieving a double first in English, and later a PhD on Wordsworth and Coleridge.

Chris entered politics as a Labour Councillor, becoming MP for Islington South and Finsbury in 1983. In 1992 he became Shadow Environmental Protection Secretary, followed by a number of Shadow Cabinet posts. Chris became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Chairman of the Millennium Commission in 1997.

As Secretary of State, he restored free admission to national museums, established the Foundation for Youth Music, the Film Council, and oversaw the expansion of cultural sector funding.

Chris currently sits in the House of Lords as an independent peer. Beyond politics, he has served as Chairman of Judges for the Man Booker Prize, the Art Fund, and the Wordsworth Trust.

It is for Chris’s tremendous support of the arts and creative industries that we recognise him today.