Exeter Degree Ceremony

OU honours campaigners of social equality

The Open University has honoured independent filmmaker, Professor Franny Armstrong, and campaigner for social equality and justice, Ms Ceri Goddard, for their contribution to society by awarding each an honorary degree.


Professor Franny Armstrong

Professor Armstrong is one of the most important and innovative independent filmmakers in Britain. Her films focus on issues of public interest, particularly raising awareness of climate change, one of the most significant and urgent challenges our society faces.

Her first full-length film, McLibel, about McDonald’s attempts to sue two activists, was nominated as one of ‘Ten documentaries which changed the world’, by the British Film Institute (BFI). In 2004, she pioneered the use of crowdfunding for a new film about the catastrophic effects of climate change. The Age of Stupid was backed by £400,000 in donations.

Professor Armstrong is currently a Professor of Film at the University of Wolverhampton. In honour of her achievements and in support of her commitment to democratic accessibility, environmental awareness, and social justice, The Open University presented Professor Franny Armstrong with the honorary degree of Doctor of the University at its Exeter Degree Ceremony.


Ms Ceri Goddard

Ms Goddard has devoted her life to campaigning for social equality and progress. An impassioned and effective advocate for the rights of minorities and marginalised groups, she has made a vital contribution to shaping a fairer and more equal Britain.

Ms Goddard began her career as an activist and campaigner working for a variety of community-based groups. Subsequently, as Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, which champions the cause of equality between men and women, she became known and admired as a campaigner with great authority and personal impact across the UK. Under her leadership, the Fawcett Society put gender issues centre-stage in economic and political debates.

Ceri is currently the Director of Equality Innovation at The Young Foundation, an independent centre that works to transform society through research and practical work relating to education, gender, health and investment. This is reminiscent of the mission of The Open University, which is not a coincidence; the work of the founder of the Centre, Michael Young, greatly inspired the establishment of the OU.

Ms Goddard is an outstanding role model and is one of the most significant social reformers making a difference in Britain today. Acknowledging her work and her vision of a fairer and more equal nation, especially for women, Ms Ceri Goddard was presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of the University at its Exeter Degree Ceremony.