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City Lit Fellows

City Lit Fellowships were established by the Board of Governors in 2015. City Lit Fellowships are awarded to individuals who have shown a significant commitment to adult education in the United Kingdom and who have provided support and inspiration to City Lit and our students.

Gillian Anderson City Lit Lifetime Fellowship Award

Gillian Anderson OBE is an award-winning film, television, and theatre actress whose credits include the roles of Special Agent Dana Scully in FOX Television's long-running and critically-acclaimed drama series, ‘The X-Files’, ill-fated socialite Lily Bart in Terence Davies' masterpiece ‘The House of Mirth’ (2000), and Lady Dedlock in the very successful BBC production of Charles Dickens' ‘Bleak House’. In 2003, she won the Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers' Choice Best Actress Award for her West End debut in Michael Weller's two-hander ‘What the Night Is For’. The following year, she starred in Rebecca Gilman's play ‘The Sweetest Swing in Baseball’ which ran at London's Royal Court Theatre from March 25 through May 15, 2004. From May 14 through July 18, 2009, she played Nora in a new version of Ibsen's ‘A Doll's House’ at the Donmar Warehouse in London.  She received a Laurence Olivier Nomination for her performance. The 2010 period drama ‘Any Human Heart’ earned her a Bafta nomination for her role as Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor whom King Edward VIII abdicated to marry. She played Miss Havisham in the award-winning BBC adaptation of "Great Expectations" in 2011 and in the summer of 2014, she was Blanche DuBois in the Young Vic's critically-acclaimed production of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. Read more about Gillian's Fellowship Award...

City Lit Fellow Ed Balls

Ed Balls is a broadcaster, writer and economist. He is a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and Visiting Professor at King’s College London, co-Chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation and Vice-President and former Chairman of Norwich City Football Club. His popular BBC TV series ‘Travels in Trumpland: with Ed Balls’ was broadcast in July 2018 and a second series ‘Travels in Europe with Ed Balls’ will air on BBC 2 later this year.

Ed, a former Member of Parliament, was UK Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (2011-2015) and served in the UK Cabinet as Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (2007-2010). He was the UK Minister for Financial Services (2006-2007) and the Chief Economic Adviser to the UK Treasury (1997-2004) during which time he was Chair of the IMFC Deputies and UK G20 Deputy. While Shadow Chancellor he was co-Chair with Larry Summers of the Center for American Progress Inclusive Prosperity Commission.

Ed is married to Yvette Cooper MP. They have three children and live in London and Castleford. His interests include learning the piano, running, cooking, sailing and supporting Norwich City. Ed was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing 2016 and was nominated for a Bafta for TV moment of the year in 2016 and as part of the ITN General Election team in 2017. In February 2019, Ed climbed Kilimanjaro with eight other well-known climbers, raising over £2m for Comic Relief.

In 2016, we welcomed Ed Balls back to City Lit to discuss his political career, life after Strictly Come Dancing, and how the speech therapy classes at City Lit helped him manage his stammer...
Watch the interview

Malorie Blackman OBE has a long connection with City Lit as a former student attending diverse courses with us since the late 1980s.  Having written over fifty books, Malorie is acknowledged as one of today’s most imaginative and convincing writers for young readers. She has been recognised with numerous honours for her work, including the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award. Malorie has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. In 2005 she was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her contribution to children’s books, and in 2008 she received an OBE for her services to children’s literature. Malorie was the Children’s Laureate 2013–2015

Nick Boles MP served as Minister for Skills in the Departments for Education and Business, Innovation and Skills from September from 2014 until July 2016. He was responsible for the dramatic expansion in apprenticeships and the introduction of the apprenticeship levy. Before being elected as MP from Grantham and Stamford in May 2010, Nick led David Cameron’s Implementation Team. He founded Policy Exchange in 2002 and was its Director until 2007.

Gary Bourlet

As co-founder of Learning Disability England, Gary Bourlet is passionate about representing those with learning disabilities. Gary is a former City Lit student, and we’re incredibly proud of his achievements and outstanding advocacy on learning disabilities. Through his work and his longstanding connection with our learning disabilities team, Gary personifies the aspirations of City Lit and our students in striving to make a difference for others. Read more about his Fellowship event here...

The Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable is Leader of the Liberal Democrats and MP for Twickenham. He has been an outstanding advocate for adult education, when he was Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills he was steadfast in his personal commitment in protecting funding for adult skills.  As well as his political career he has authored several books and reports on international economics, trade and environmental issues. Vince read Natural Science and Economics at the University of Cambridge, where he was President of the Union, followed by a PhD at Glasgow University.

As a renowned artist and sculptor Sir Antony Gormley OBE has made a huge contribution to the arts in the UK. One of his best known works is the ‘Angel of the North’, a public sculpture in Gateshead in the North of England. Gormley won the Turner Prize in 1994 with ‘Field for the British Isles’. He has been a Royal Academician since 2003, and was a Trustee of the British Museum from 2007-2015. Gormley was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to the arts. Half of our courses at City Lit are in the performing and visual arts and we play a crucial part in the nexus of London’s Creative Arts industry.  Half our courses at City Lit are in the performing and visual arts and we play a crucial part in the nexus of London’s Creative Arts industry. 

Baroness Sheila Hollins receives her Fellowship from Dame Moira Gibb

The first fellowship was awarded to Baroness Sheila Hollins (pictured right receiving her Fellowship from Dame Moira Gibb), who has made an outstanding contribution to education for adults with learning disabilities in the UK and overseas.  Sheila established and leads the ground-breaking social enterprise Beyond Words, which produces books and learning resources for people with communication difficulties who find it easier to understand pictures than words.

A Professor of the Psychiatry of learning disability at St George's, University of London, Baroness Hollins became a crossbench life peer in the House of Lords in 2010.  She was President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from 2005 to 2008.  She is a former President of the British Medical Association and is currently Chair of the BMA Board of Science.  In 2014, Pope Francis appointed her a member of the newly created Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. 

The growing partnership between Beyond Words and City Lit has also provided huge inspiration for our teachers and students involved.

David Lammy MP at the City Lit Awards

The Rt Hon. David Lammy MP is a huge advocate of adult education and a great supporter of City Lit. He is the leading voice in parliament and beyond in raising awareness of the importance of adult education and the critical need for a national strategy. His deep personal commitment and understanding of the positive effects of lifelong learning comes from his mother, whose life was transformed by adult education.  We are extremely fortunate to have such a strong champion in David. David was our Guest of Honour at the recent City Lit Awards 2018, where he presented students and staff with their awards and he received his own City Lit Lifetime Fellowship Award. Watch a summary of the ceremony

In Conversation with City Lit Fellow Andrea Levy

Our much-loved friend and former student, the best-selling international author Andrea Levy, who has died aged 62, honed her writing skills and confidence on classes at City Lit and remained a great support of City Lit throughout her life. In 2016, Andrea was awarded a City Lit Lifetime Fellowship in recognition of her commitment to adult education in the UK, and the huge inspiration her writing and career provides City Lit students. 

Andrea studied here for six years, and recalled that starting writing classes here at City Lit was both ‘terrifying and thrilling’. She remembered thinking, as her new fellow learners arrived, ‘I bet their writing is better than mine’. She says the City Lit classes were all about ‘building confidence, finding your voice, finding what it was you wanted to talk about, who you were going to be expressing, who you were going to be as a writer’.

Andrea met her fellow author and another Lifetime Fellow, Malorie Blackman in the queue when she enrolled. In those days, you signed up in person, and the students queued all around the building. Malorie was behind her and Andrea recalled hearing her say she’s written 52 books, and thinking, ‘wow!’. Both then studied in the same class for a time.

Andrea said ‘I can’t express how strongly enough, how important City Lit was in my career. It made me realise what writing was.’ In an interview with City Lit Principal Mark Malcomson to receive her Lifetime Fellowship, Andrea said she barely used her degree and felt passionately that it was her adult education at City Lit that was the real professional catalyst: ‘My two hours a week at City Lit has made me into a best-selling international author. Who knew it would be that way around?!’

Read more about Andrea here or watch her interview with City Lit Principal Mark Malcomson.  

City Lit Fellow Lulu

Internationally renowned artist and music legend, Lulu has made a huge contribution to music in the UK and around the world. As Guest of Honour at the 2017 City Lit Awards, Lulu spoke passionately about City Lit and enthused about our students and their achievements. Students and staff alike were deeply impressed by her warmth and wowd by her rendition of 'Shout' with the City Lit Percussion Orchestra. We are honoured to have Lulu's continuing support. 

Our great friend and Fellow Sir Jonathan Miller CBE has passed away on 27 November 2019. Sir Jonathan was a distinguished theatre and opera director, in addition to his talents as an author, photographer, sculptor, broadcaster and a qualified doctor. Sir Jonathan was an active part of City Lit's family. He was the Patron of our Drama Department for the last decade; he became a Fellow of City Lit; and was Guest of Honour at our 2010 Award Ceremonies.  In 2015, we hosted an ‘in conversation’ with him, which was truly fascinating, and he acted as Artistic Director of "She Stoops to Conquer" which was the debut production after the John Lyons Theatre was refurbished. He was witty and erudite, an avid supporter of the work we do at City Lit, and a lovely, kind and generous person.

Munira Mirza is a Former Deputy Mayor of London who has worked for a range of cultural and charitable organisations including the Royal Society of Arts, the independent think tank Policy Exchange and Tate.  In 2009 she completed her PhD in Sociology at the University of Kent. She has written extensively about cultural and social policy in the UK.  Munira is a member of Arts Council England, London Regional Council; the Royal College of Music Council; and the boards of the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Cultural Olympiad.

Grayson Perry receives his City Lit Lifetime Fellowship

Grayson Perry CBE, is an award-winning artist who works in a variety of media, including embroidery and photography, yet he is best known for his ceramic works: classically shaped vases covered with figures, patterns and text. Grayson was born in Chelmsford in 1960 and went onto study at Braintree College of Further Education and at Portsmouth Polytechnic. In 2003, he became famous as the first ceramic artist to win the Turner Prize and was awarded a CBE in 2014.

Alongside his art, Grayson has written and presented documentaries including an hour-long documentary for Channel 4 entitled Why Men Wear Frocks, in which he examined transvestism and masculinity in the 21st century. In the programme, Grayson spoke candidly about his own experiences and the effect it has had on him and his family. The documentary received a Royal Television Society award for Best Network Production. His 2012 series All in the Best Possible Taste with Grayson Perry received a BAFTA for Specialist Factional Television. Grayson also went onto win a Grierson Award for Documentary Presenter of the Year.

2018 sees Grayson co-ordinate the 250th Celebration of The Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition. Along with fellow artists, Grayson handpicked over 1,300 works to make up the biggest, brightest and most colourful exhibition yet under the theme of Art Made Now. Watch Grayson Perry in conversation with City Lit Principal Mark Malcomson

Nick Stuart CB, was educated at Oxford before going to the Department for Education and Science in 1964. He had spells as private secretary to the Minister for Arts (Jenny Lee) In 1968-1969, as private secretary to the head of the civil service (Sir William Armstrong) and as a private secretary to successive prime ministers from 1973-1976. He also spent two years in Brussels as an adviser in the cabinet of the President of the European Commission (Roy Jenkins) in 1978-1980.

The rest of his career has been spent mainly in education. He became principal finance officer in the DES in 1985 and was promoted to deputy secretary (schools) in 1987. He transferred to the employment department as director general of resources and strategy in 1992. He became director-general for employment and lifelong learning at the Department Of Education and Employment in 1995 and director-general for lifelong learning at DfES in April 2000 until his retirement in September 2001. He is currently chairman of The National Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE), a board member of Ufi Ltd, a trustee of the Girls' Day School Trust and of the Specialist Schools and Academics Trust, on the council of the University of London Institute Of Education, a governor of schools in both the maintained and independent sector, chairman of the John Lyon's Charity Grants Committee and board member of The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). Nick also chairs the QCA Audit Committee.

Carole Stott MBE, is a former Chair of the Board of Governors of City Lit and during her tenure we were recognised with an outstanding Ofsted rating and the Investors in People Gold Award. Carole is a qualified teacher who has taught in further education, schools and universities. She was Chief Executive of the National Open College Network for five years from 1999 and was a Director at Credit Works from 2004 to 2012. In 2013, Carole was appointed Chair of the Association of Colleges, the national membership organisation for colleges throughout the UK.

Jeremy Swain began working with homeless people in 1980, starting as a volunteer. After working in a variety of paid roles including as a street outreach worker he progressed to be Chief Executive of Thames Reach.

Thames Reach provides a range of services in London to over 7,000 people every year including street outreach, specialist accommodation for people with substance misuse and mental health issues, tenancy support projects, day services, health programmes and employment programmes. The organisation employs around 300 staff and 450 volunteers.  52 members of the salaried work-force are former homeless people. In 2016, Thames Reach achieved a top 100 ranking on the Sunday Times best not-for-profit organisations to work for list.

Jeremy is deputy chair of the London Housing Foundation which funds a range of different homelessness-related initiatives and a member of the London Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Group, tasked with reducing rough sleeping in the capital. He is also a board member of Homeless Link, the national body for homelessness organisations working directly with homeless people in England.

He chairs the Provider Alliance Group in in the London Borough of Lambeth which is overseeing the implementation of a major change in the delivery of mental health services in the borough focusing on early intervention and personalised, community support involving a range of organisations and individuals. 

He is a regular commentator on radio and TV on issues associated with homelessness, social exclusion and the work of the not-for-profit sector and is also an influential magazine columnist who has twice been short-listed for the Professional Publishers’ Association Business Columnist of the Year Award. Watch the interview

Ruby Wax OBE receives her City Lit Fellowship

Ruby Wax OBE is known for her extensive comedy and television interview career. Ruby has studied psychotherapy and gained her Master’s Degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from Oxford University. These days she promotes understanding of the brain and campaigns for greater mental health awareness and destigmatization. As an adult learner Ruby is a wonderful role model demonstrating the positive impact adult education can have in not only enhancing mental wellbeing but also supporting a change in direction later in life.  We were delighted to welcome Ruby to City Lit to receive her City Lit Lifetime Fellowship Award. Watch the interview