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Murray Grigor OBE Honorary Doctor of Arts, 2010
Bio | Citation

Murray Grigor is an independent Scottish film-maker, writer and exhibition curator who has won international acclaim for his ongoing contribution to the arts spanning over 40 years.

Born in Inverness and a graduate of St Andrews University, he started his career with the BBC, leaving in 1967 to direct the Edinburgh International Film Festival, an event which he helped rejuvenate by recruiting a creative team which made it a key event in film culture well into the seventies.

His own first film in 1968 featured the then neglected Glasgow architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, winning five international awards and helping to re-establish the reputation of the architect, designer and artist, now celebrated world-wide as one of the most creative figures of the early twentieth century.

Since then Murray has made over 50 films covering arts and architecture.

In 1976 he was awarded a UK/US Bicentennial Fellowship in the Arts to research a film on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, which led to his multi award winning feature documentary, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, with the architect's granddaughter Anne Baxter. For this he received a Citation of Excellence from the American Institute of Architecture, the first ever to be awarded to a film-maker.

Films on artists and architects include Space and Light, 1973, on St Peter's Seminary, Cardross; The Hand of Adam on the architecture of Robert Adam, 1975; E.P. Sculptor on the art of Eduardo Paolozzi which won the Rodin prize at the 1992 Paris Biennale; The Architecture of Carlo Scarpa, 1995 with Richard Murphy, which opened the Montréal Festival du Films sur l'Art.

Murray has also made a number of humorous and polemical films and exhibitions.

Areas Of Interest: Writer/Journalist, News & Media
Faculty: Arts, Law & Social Sciences
Citation:

"Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Murray Grigor for the award of Honorary Doctor of Arts.

Murray Grigor is an independent Scottish film-maker, writer and exhibition curator who has won international acclaim for his ongoing contribution to the arts spanning over 40 years.

Born in Inverness and a graduate of St Andrews University, he started his career with the BBC, leaving in 1967 to direct the Edinburgh International Film Festival, an event which he helped rejuvenate by recruiting a creative team which made it a key event in film culture well into the seventies.

His own first film in 1968 featured the then neglected Glasgow architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, winning five international awards and helping to re-establish the reputation of the architect, designer and artist, now celebrated world-wide as one of the most creative figures of the early twentieth century.

Since then Murray has made over 50 films covering arts and architecture and I can only mention a small number today.

In 1976 he was awarded a UK/US Bicentennial Fellowship in the Arts to research a film on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, which led to his multi award winning feature documentary, The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, with the architect's granddaughter Anne Baxter. For this he received a Citation of Excellence from the American Institute of Architecture, the first ever to be awarded to a film-maker.

Films on artists and architects include Space and Light, 1973, on St Peter's Seminary, Cardross; The Hand of Adam on the architecture of Robert Adam, 1975; E.P. Sculptor on the art of Eduardo Paolozzi which won the Rodin prize at the 1992 Paris Biennale; The Architecture of Carlo Scarpa, 1995 with Richard Murphy, which opened the Montréal Festival du Films sur l'Art ( this festival honoured him with a week long retrospective in 1999);.

Other notable film works include In Search of Clarity,1995, on the architecture of Gwathmey Siegel and English Architect - American Legacy, 2005, on Sir John Soane's influence on the contemporary American architects Philip Johnson, Richard Meier, Michael Graves, Henry Cobb, Robert Stern, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.

Murray has also made a number of humorous and polemical films and exhibitions which include Big Banana Feet, documenting the 1975 Irish tour of Billy Connolly; Edge of Britain with A.J.P. Taylor for Granada; Sean Connery's Edinburgh 1982; Irony Curtain, for Channel 4's series, Soviet Spring, on the art and politics of the 20th century between the USA and the USSR and Scotch Myths with Barbara Grigor, Channel 4's first Hogmanay show, based on its provocative touring exhibition was initiated by the Crawford Centre in St Andrews before becoming a sensation at the Edinburgh Festival. This wry exposé of Scottish kitsch questioned why Scotland is so often portrayed in stereotypes of fatigued romanticism.

Scotland Creates, on the other hand, celebrated 5000 years of Scottish art and design to become the hit of Glasgow's year as European City of Culture in 1990. Its success was equalled the following year with Seeds of Change - an exploration of Scottish innovation and inventiveness at the National Museum of Scotland.

Murray was the first film-maker to be made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland and the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts. He was the first recipient of the Royal Television Society Reith Award for 'consistent and innovative effort in television.' In August 2007 he was appointed to the Scottish Broadcasting Commission established by the Scottish Government.

Being a Scot, his collaboration with Sir Sean Connery on the cultural politics and history of Scotland, was launched in August 2008 at the Edinburgh Book Festival. He is continuing his collaboration with Sir Sean in his latest project just announced: a film charting St Andrews University's 600 year history.

We were delighted when Murray accepted the position of Visiting Professor of Film Studies with us and continue to benefit from his close links with us and the Cambridge Film Festival. We are also delighted to say that his daughter Sarah is one of our graduates. He has supported our Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences in many ways, offering students and staff access to his immense knowledge and expertise.
He recently premiered his film Infinite Space on the architecture of John Lautner in The Ruskin Gallery for the benefit of staff, students and the Cambridge community.

Vice Chancellor, for his outstanding and unending talent as a writer and film-maker, it is my pleasure to present Murray Grigor for the award of Doctor of Arts, honoris causa.
"

An image of Murray Grigor
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