AWARD-winning filmmaker Mike Leigh OBE returned to his Manchester roots to collect an Honorary Doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Leigh, who spent much of his childhood in Salford where he attended Salford Grammar School is known for his films including Vera Drake, Life is Sweet and Topsy Turvy.
He won the Best Director award at Cannes Film Festival for Naked in 1993 and the Palme d'Or in 1996 for Secrets and Lies.
The former Manchester School of Art acting lecturer whose son Toby is also a graduate (BA (Hons) Illustration 2000) was honoured for his contribution to British culture at a graduation ceremony at the Bridgewater Hall.
Reflecting on how the city had changed so enormously since his youth, he themed his speech around time and place, recalling his days at the Free Trade Hall, Central Manchester Railway Station, the Library Theatre and a pub with a foul-mouthed mynah bird.
“In film, I reflect on time, how elastic it is, how we capture it, expand it and distort it.
“It must seem like yesterday that you arrived at MMU, but what a lifetime’s experience you’ve crammed in as an undergraduate.
“Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. I wish you all much luck on your journey. Congratulations!”
John Deeney, principal lecturer in contemporary arts at MMU Cheshire described Leigh as “one of the most important, influential and instantly-recognisable artists to have emerged from post-War Britain”.
Manchester Metropolitan University is a leading university for the professions and a powerful driver of the North West economy.
The University educates and trains large numbers of the region’s legal and business professionals, scientists, engineers, teachers, health workers and creative professionals. It enjoys an excellent reputation for teaching and applied research and is a recognised innovator in partnership working with its local communities. The University is currently investing almost £300 million in its estate and facilities.
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