• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Linkedin
  • Share by email

Over 90 arts professionals were recognised for services to the sector in 2021.

Peter Murray at Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Peter Murray at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

India Hobson

Leaders of organisations across the arts were widely celebrated in this year’s New Years honours, in particular for their contributions during Covid-19.

Imperial War Museum Director General Diane Lees became a Dame for services to museums and cultural heritage, alongside actresses Joanna Lumley and Vanessa Redgrave for their services to drama.

Sadler’s Wells’ Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding and Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) Founder Peter Murray were knighted, as were film director John Boorman and photographer Horace Ové.


Murray, who recently announced his retirement after 44 years at YSP’s helm, said it was a great honour for him and the park.

“I think the award acknowledges the importance of the organisation to the wider pubic and the contribution it continues to make to arts and culture and the economy.”

Spalding said his recognition reflected the vibrant dance culture at Sadler’s Wells: “Dance is, of course, a team effort, and the honour is very much shared with my wonderful team at Sadler’s and our artists and collaborators.”

National Theatre Executive Director Lisa Burger, Wigmore Hall Artistic and Executive Director John Gilhooly, English Heritage Trust Chief Executive Kate Mavor, and Theatre Royal Plymouth Chief Executive Adrian Vinken were awarded CBEs.

Burger enjoyed a moment of “real reflection” as she comes towards the end of her role at the National Theatre.

“To be acknowledged for my contribution to UK culture is incredibly humbling.”

Recipients of OBEs include Birmingham Opera Company’s Music Director Alpesh Chauhan and Director of the Association of British Orchestras Mark Pemberton.

Among those receiving MBEs were Serendipity Arts Founder Pawlet Brookes, RIFCO Theatre Company Founder and Director Prayesh Kumar and Co-Founder of BLK Art Group Claudette Johnson.

Services through Covid-19 

Seven recipients were acknowledged for their work during Covid-19.

Historic England Chair Laurie Magnus received a CBE and Association of Independent Museums Chair Andrew Lovett an OBE for services to heritage during Covid-19. Cultural Recovery Board member Carol Lake and Deputy Director of DMCS Arts and Libraries Louise Smith received OBEs for their contributions to the arts during the pandemic. 

Lovett said the honour “simply reflects the value people attach to their museums – especially museums that enjoy and thrive because of their independence”.

“I am very grateful for, and humbled by, the appreciation shown for the part I was privileged to play, allowing a future to be seen.”

Literature and libraries

Awards for services to libraries and literature featured heavily in this year’s list, with 20 recipients.

Authors Anthony Horowitz and Claudia Roden received CBEs and Crime writer Anne Cleeves became an OBE.

Ten British Empire Medals for services to public libraries were handed out, alongside MBEs for Reading Agency CEO Karen Napier and the British Library curator Rob Perks.

Napier was delighted to receive the accolade during the reading charity’s 20th year.

“I would like to pay real tribute to the inspiring work of The Reading Agency as it continues to tackle life’s big challenges through the proven power of reading.”

Arts professionals in the New Years honours

Dames and Knighthoods

Diane Lees
Joanna Lumley
Vanessa Redgrave
John Boorman 
Peter Murray
Horace Ové 
Alistair Spalding


Charles Edward Alexander
Timothy Edward Douglas Allan
Barbara Broccoli
Esmeralda Devlin
John Gilhooly
Paul Greengrass
Anthony Horowitz
Laurie Magnus
Katherine Mavor
Norman Loch Murray
Claudia Roden, 
Moira Stuart
Thomas Peter Usborne
Adrian Vinken
Michael Gregg Wilson


Pauline Black
Leslie Brotherston
June Brown 
Philippa Charles
Alpesh Chauhan
Ann Cleeves
Nitin Ganatra
Aonghus Coinn Huntly Gordon
Carol Lake
Andrew Lovett
Steven George McNeil Osborne
Mark Pemberton
Charlie Phillip
William Roache 
Mark Sealy
Louise Smith
Ann Sutton


Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante
Syima Aslam
Ashley Banjo
Darren Barker
Peter Broadbent
Pawlet Brookes
Robert Franklin 
John Arthur Cooke
Alan Charles Cotton
Margaret Davenport
Maureen Elizabeth Dunn
Sally Elizabeth Embree
Susan Deborah Fleet
William John Griffiths
Andrew Michael Haigh
Cherylee Houston
Oliver Brendan Jeffers
Claudette Elaine Johnson
Neil Emile Elias Kenlock
Siobhan Mary Kenny
Pravesh Kumar
Daniel William Munro Martin
Jackie McCoy
Omeima Mudawi-Rowlings
Karen Napier
Christopher Nash
Berendina Norton
Jacqueline O'Hanlon
Angelina Osborne
Adele Parks
Robert Perks
Irna Mumtaz Qureshi
Emma Redding
Ella Ritchie
Emma Simpson
Bharatkumar Jagatsingh Sisodia
David Smith
Michele Louise Alma Taylor
Clare Twomey


Mohammed Zoinul Abidin
Nikki Anne Iles 
Kim Johnson 
William James Edwin Johnston 
Elizabeth Lenten 
William McFarland
Alexis Page 
Stewart Parsons
Nicholas James Partridge 
Barbara Mary Peters 
David Stephen Rowe 
Darren Smart 
Mark Douglas Ashley Strachan 
Ann Elizabeth Margaret Thompson 
Krystal Ann Joan Vittles
Fiona Carol Williams
Andrew Charles Wright

For any omissions please contact editors@artsprofessional.co.uk