UWE awards honorary degree to Kenneth Loach

Issue date: 24 November 2008

University of the West of England Kenneth Loach is to be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural progress and understanding, particularly through film and television work.

The Honorary Degree will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Creative Arts on Thursday 27 November at 17.00 at Bristol Cathedral.

Kenneth Charles Loach was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire in June 1936 and attended King Edward VI Grammar School there. After two years of National Service in the RAF, he read Law at the University of Oxford, where he was also president of the Dramatic Society.

In 1961 Kenneth Loach joined the Northampton Repertory Theatre as an Assistant Director, and two years later he became a trainee director at the BBC. In 1964 he directed episodes of Z-cars, followed in 1965 by Up The Junction, and in 1966 by Cathy Come Home. Kenneth Loach's first feature film was Poor Cow (1967) and his second Kes (1969).

In the early 1970s, when the British Film Industry was in decline, Kenneth Loach spent most of the decade working in television, making a series of political dramas, including the BAFTA-nominated Days of Hope. In 1979 he made a feature film Black Jack. In the 1980s he struggled with political censorship, then in 1990, Hidden Agenda, a film about the British Army's shoot-to-kill policy, was released, quickly followed by other successful films.

Kenneth Loach's recent film release, The Wind That Shakes The Barley, an account of the Irish War of Independence in the 1920s, won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006. In May of the same year, Ken Loach was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship. His latest film, It's a Free World, won the best screenplay award at the Venice Film Festival for the writer Paul Laverty.


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