Ladies and Gentlemen,
David Green has just mentioned it's ten years since I founded the school. In fact it goes back so much further as you all know I became Patron of the then V.I.T.A thirty years ago. So this is really just a natural extension of what Professor Keith Critchlow so courageously founded all those years ago. Funnily enough it was all the result of him writing me a letter after I'd made a speech somewhere long ago. As a result of my reading his letter and writing back to him all this association developed. We owe him huge a debt of gratitude.
As Sir David mentioned, it has been a very impressive year and there's an enormous amount to celebrate and you only have to look around the show to see just how impressive, I think, the results are in terms of the students' work. Since the Degree Show last year, my School has launched no less than three major new projects the Centre for Building Arts in Saudi Arabia, the Ahousaht First Nations Project in Canada and the U.K. Schools' Programme. The School has also extended its Outreach programmes to no less than fourteen countries in four continents. The School of Traditional Arts is, I am proud to say, a living embodiment of the universal connections that arise naturally across cultures and traditions when proper attention is given to the practice and meaning of traditional arts. In many cases I've found people are excluded from this knowledge and understanding. It's all part of the modern world and half of the battle is to reconnect people and when they are given the opportunity they suddenly become incredibly enthusiastic when they discover what they've been missing.
Now, for those of you whose work is on display today, I need hardly remind you that this year's Degree Show marks a vitally important moment in your artistic development. It is a celebration of all that you have learnt and all that you have achieved during your time at the School.
As I said I've been incredibly impressed by what I have seen here this afternoon, as I am every year, and by the conversations that I have had with some of you while going around the show. It gives me hope that the universal truths of Nature which for so long have underpinned the world's traditional arts are not dead. Despite what some would have us believe -that is actually the case mostly due to the marvellous people and a few others around the world who have come from the school and elsewhere who have kept these traditions going-they've kept the lamp burning. I can only offer my heartfelt congratulations to each and every one of you for all that you have achieved. And, I hope that as you each pursue your chosen careers you will continue to be inspired as I have been by the wisdom which can be found in the Order of Nature and which has enriched so many generations and I hope will carry on doing so as a result of the work you can do.
I just wanted to mention that I have now started a series of workshops around the country through my Prince's Trust and other organisations to bring teachers together with engineering firms and others because there's a huge shortage of engineering skills in this country and also a huge shortage in terms of other vocational skills. One of the things I have said is there should be a geometry element introduced in those workshops. Funnily enough when Khaled (Director of The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts) went to one of the first of these it was the geometry aspect that really intrigued and inspired people most.
Another intriguing factor was that in an extraordinary series called 'Meeting of Minds', which has been happening over the years with a whole lot of people brought together to discuss different subjects, recently the geometry element was introduced through a workshop by one of the people from the School. Everybody was astonished that senior design teams from a lot of these major firms turned up at these workshops and were absolutely fascinated by getting something that they had never had access to. Suddenly it was a revelation to them. It provided them with an extra dimension, another language, another set of grammar that they weren’t aware of, which provides even greater inspiration. Again I'm very proud of the work my school is doing in terms of this sort of outreach.
Of course, ladies and gentlemen, none of this would be possible without the help of our supporters and the dedication of our staff at the School. Those of you who have attended previous Degree Shows will know that I hesitate to single out individuals for praise each one of you here makes an indescribably vital contribution to the teaching and promotion of the traditional arts.
I hope you will forgive me if, this year, I take a moment or two to express my most heartfelt thanks and sincere admiration to my dear friend, Dr. Keith Critchlow, as I said, we couldn’t have done without him.
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to announce the winners of this year's Ciclitira Prize and Barakat Trust Award.
First, the Ciclitira Prize goes to Jethro Buck.
I can also tell you that the Barakat Trust Award for outstanding artwork within the Islamic Art tradition goes to Natasha Mann.