David Morrissey revealed his delight at Liverpool Hope University’s commitment to creative subjects as he expressed concern for what the UK’s increased focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) could mean for the Arts.
Widely regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation, Morrissey was speaking as he received an Honorary Degree at Hope’s 2023 Winter Graduation ceremony in recognition of his distinguished 40-year acting career and his work with social justice charities.
The 58-year-old performer was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and later hosted a Q&A session with students at the University’s Creative Campus.
The Walking Dead star revealed he was particularly pleased to forge a link with an institution that invests in and promotes performing arts and was equally impressed with the calibre of the students he encountered.
“It’s in my home city, but the fact that it has a creative arts campus, which is something I looked into and was very impressed by,” he said when asked what pleased him about receiving an Honorary Degree from Hope.
“This is my passion, in terms of education, that we take our creative arts seriously and give them as much support and kudos as classic studies, such as maths, English and the sciences, so I was delighted that Hope puts that at the heart of its University.
“I was very impressed by the questions, the diversity of questions, and the complex nature of the questions [the students asked]. They seemed very engaged so it was a wonderful experience.”
Passionate about his industry, Hope’s commitment to the creative arts is important to Morrissey.
The Liverpool-born performer admits he is concerned by the increasing focus on STEM subjects and, whilst he believes those with a passion or talent for maths or science should be encouraged, he feels frustrated when creative pursuits are referred to as a ‘soft option’.
“I’m concerned by a narrative that is being put out there by our leaders that we have to work on STEM subjects,” he added.
“Maths is the one that came out recently. I think people should study maths if they have a capacity for it, a desire for it and a real skill for it, but that shouldn’t be at the expense of other subjects that might not be recognised as academically worthwhile in the eyes of our leaders.
“The creative arts industry brings billions of pounds of revenue to this country and the thing that annoys me is when expressions like ‘soft options’ are used around certain subjects which I have seen transform lives.
“People who have worked in the Arts with me, who might not have had an academic education, have had their lives changed by being involved in the creative arts and that is absolutely to be encouraged.”
Check out the photos from David Morrissey's Q&A with our students.