The Courtauld announces Honorary Doctorate degrees to Sonia Boyce and Asok K. Das

13 Jul 2023

The Courtauld is proud to announce the conferment of Honorary Doctorate degrees (Doctor Honoris Causa) to two distinguished figures in the fields of Art and Art History: Professor Sonia Boyce, OBE, RA and Dr Asok K. Das.

“The journey in the learning environment is a journey of creating worlds. Imagine the world and those writing and thinking and put them together and it turns into not only imagining worlds but making worlds possible – we really need you at this moment in human history!”

Professor Sonia Boyce OBE RA – to The Courtauld Class of ’23 (July 13, 2023)

Professor Sonia Boyce is an esteemed British Afro-Caribbean artist who has been at the forefront of the contemporary art scene for over three decades. Her work, which includes mixed media installations, drawings, prints, photographs, and videos, has profoundly impacted the cultural landscape. Professor Boyce, who is Chair of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London, was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 2016, becoming the first black female Royal Academician. She was selected by the British Council to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale 2022 and was awarded the Golden Lion prize with her work Feeling Her Way. A celebrated advocate for diversity and inclusion within the arts, Professor Boyce’s influence is far-reaching.

Dr Asok K. Das is a distinguished Indian art historian specialising in Mughal and Rajasthani art. A former Director of the Jaipur City Palace Museum, he is an author of several seminal works, and his scholarship has made substantial contributions to the understanding and worldwide appreciation of Mughal and broader South Asian art. Bridging cultural gaps between East and West, Dr Das’s research has reshaped perspectives on the art of the Indian subcontinent, cementing his standing in global art history. Through his exceptional academic career, Dr Das has continued to inspire, educate and encourage colleagues, students and young curators, fostering a rich dialogue between cultures and epochs. He remains an influential figure in broadening the scope of art historical discourse.

The conferring of these Honorary Doctorates underscores The Courtauld’s dedication to recognising leaders in the fields of Art and Art History who demonstrate extraordinary accomplishments and inspire future generations. The honorary degrees were presented at The Courtauld’s graduation ceremony on 13th July 2023.

Professor Deborah Swallow, Märit Rausing Director at The Courtauld, said, “We are thrilled to honour Professor Boyce and Dr Das, whose diverse and impactful contributions have broadened our understanding of art, globally and historically. Their work embodies the international perspective we strive for at The Courtauld, and their achievements serve as a beacon of inspiration for current students, our alumni, and the wider community.”

Acknowledging their outstanding contributions, The Courtauld also awarded Honorary Fellowships to Professor James Cuno, former CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust and former ex-officio Trustee and former Director of The Courtauld; Dr John Garcia, Executive Chairman of AEA Investors, former appointed Trustee and major supporter of The Courtauld; and Anya Sainsbury (Baroness Sainsbury of Preston Candover) CBE, former ballerina and a significant patron and supporter of the arts through the Linbury Trust and other philanthropic and arts organisations.

Professor Sonia Boyce, OBE, RA (L) and Dr Asok K. Das (R)
Professor Sonia Boyce, OBE, RA (L) and Dr Asok K. Das (R)