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Tate Modern director and Hollywood film editor among University honours

Posted on 14 January 2019

Director of Tate Modern, Frances Morris, and British film editor, Joe Walker are among six leading figures to receive honorary degrees from the University of York this week.


Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern

They will be honoured alongside plant biologist, Professor Dame Caroline Dean; social geographer, Danny Dorling, British financier, Dame Helena Morrissey, and Director of Amnesty International, Giovanni Rufini.

Frances Morris has been involved in Tate Modern since its inception in 2000, first as Head of Displays and later as Director of Collection, International Art. She became the gallery’s first British and female Director in 2016. She has been credited with developing Tate Modern’s international profile, with an attendance of over 5.8 million visitors annually. 

Based in Los Angeles, Joe Walker, trained as a classical composer at the University of York, before joining the BBC Film Editing Department. In a career spanning over 30 years, Joe has twice been nominated for an Academy Award - for 12 Years a Slave and Arrival - and three times for a BAFTA, most recently for Bladerunner 2049. 


Joe Walker, British film editor

Giovanni Rufini is an Italian researcher, lecturer and columnist on humanitarian and human rights issues. He is the Director General of Amnesty International in Italy. He carried out more than 60 missions in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Balkans in his nine years of field work. He was engaged in activities ranging from rural development to health aid and assistance for street children. 

Professor Dame Caroline Dean is a British plant biologist at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. After gaining both a BA and a PhD in Biology at the University of York, Dame Caroline moved to California to research molecular biology. She began working at the John Innes Centre in 1988, where her primary interest is in vernalisation, the process by which plants accelerate their flowering after periods of prolonged cold. 

Social Geographer, Danny Dorling, currently holds the Halford Mackinder Professorship in Geography at University of Oxford. He is one of the leading thinkers on inequality in the UK. He has written a number of critically acclaimed books and articles on the issues of housing, health, employment, education, wealth and poverty. He is a co-creator of the internet-based Worldmapper project. 

Dame Helena Morrissey is a British financier and campaigner. Dame Helena is currently Head of Personal Investing at Legal & General Investment Management. In 2010, she established the 30% Club to campaign for greater female representation on company boards through voluntary, business-led change. The proportion of women on Britain’s top company boards has risen from 12.5 per cent to 30.6 per cent. 

They will receive their honorary degrees at a ceremony on Friday, 18 January, at the University’s Central Hall.