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Pioneering Deaf and Disability Arts champion receives honorary recognition 


A pioneering Disability Arts champion has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Wolverhampton in recognition of her media career and charitable work supporting Deaf and disabled people. 

As the first Deaf presenter on TV, Maggie Woolley has been recognised for championing the arts to disabled and Deaf people throughout her career.  

Maggie received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at a graduation ceremony at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre on Thursday, 16 September 2021. 

She said: "As an artist and a Deaf person I see absolutely no logical reason why deaf or disabled people can still be excluded from enjoying the arts and working in the arts and cultural industries. It is not our impairments which disable us but the barriers which society can place in our way whether they be social, attitudinal, environmental or economic.  I wish to thank the University of Wolverhampton for this lovely honour. I also congratulate you on pioneering incredible support for Deaf students and staff here for over 20 years." 

Maggie Woolley was a founder member of the National Union of the Deaf and chair of the Deaf Broadcasting Campaign, which spearheaded the UK-wide deaf people’s campaign for accessible television and regular programmes in British Sign Language.  

Maggie has spent over five decades in the arts and creative industries as a published author, actress, qualified teacher of drama, TV presenter, producer and as a former CEO of the disability-led arts organisation Shape which promotes equality in the arts with disabled people. 

She also helped establish Graeae Theatre Company as a professional theatre company led by disabled people; chaired Fairplay, the campaign for equality in the arts for disabled people; and helped establish the National Disability Arts Forum and the National Disability Arts Archive. 

Honorary awards are presented by the University of Wolverhampton to people who have made a significant contribution to their field of expertise.  

The University's graduation ceremonies take place at the Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton, from Thursday 9 September to Friday 17 September 2021.  

The 17 ceremonies will see over 3,000 students who completed their studies in 2020 collect their awards.  

It is the first time the University has held a graduation ceremony since December 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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