Dawn Airey, an internationally acclaimed executive in the broadcast and media industries, was today made an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University.
Brought up in Preston and with a 33 year career to date, Dawn has run, managed or chaired leading TV channels in the UK including ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, and now leads Getty Images, the world-leading creators and distributors of award-winning still imagery, video, music and multimedia products.
In her speech to graduands, Dawn provided them with some invaluable advice about how they, as individuals, can help change the world we live in.
“Today is where the truly hard work really begins because the world rests on your shoulders, and the world needs educated, imaginative, collaborative, generous, kind people in it,” said Dawn.
“You’ve got to go forth in your careers and break new ground, but not just break it, you need to smash it. You need to rip apart the world as we know it to create a more equitable, inclusive and loving society.”
“The phrase from Gandhi that is very relevant is ‘be the change you wish to see in this world’ and remember as you trailblaze throughout your career, the relationships you will forge, and have already forged in this room, will help you build your network. Your network will probably be a key determiner of your success and happiness.”
Dawn was nominated for this award in recognition of her international excellence in the field of broadcast media which initially commenced in UK domestic television, and latterly has taken in the technologically and globally driven digital media, and significantly also in recognition of her origins and roots in the North West region.
With access to over 250 million images and having sight of the key search words hitting the Getty Images site, Dawn can see how the world is changing, as words such as inclusion, LBGT and disability are cropping up more than ever before.
“Narratives are told within and around images, and those narratives are the ones that are going to stick with us,” said Dawn. “Knowing the power a single image can wield, it’s really important to consider the stories our collective visual culture is telling.
“I tell you this to remind you that in order to provoke change, you’ve got to choose more diverse and inclusive imagery as you move through life and you share your story.”