Association of Open University Graduates

AOUG Chancellor Lord Asa Briggs Award for Arts

Asa Briggs, Baron Briggs, was born in Keighley, an industrial town on the edge of the moors in Yorkshire. He has become one of Britain’s most distinguished historians, with a wide range of interests outside of history. Among the publications he has written are his five volumes on the history of broadcasting in the UK and many books on social history, including 'Victorian Things,Victorian People' and 'A Social History of England', which covers the history of England from the Stone Age to Margaret Thatcher.

His academic career has been outstanding, gaining a First Class BA Honours from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1941, and, in parallel, an external BSc in Economics from the University of London. His memoirs of his years in the Intelligence Service are recorded in his 2011 book, 'Secret Days: Codebreaking in Bletchley Park', He has followed this up with 'Special Relationships: People and Places'. Both of these volumes have appeared between his 90th and 91st birthday in what he calls "a year of conjunctions”. He describes in 'Special Relationships' the first year of the University of Sussex, within which he served as Vice-Chancellor from 1967 until 1976, and the first year of The Open University when the students were admitted in 1971.  His vision of Sussex was to redraw the map of learning with interdisciplinary schools of study.

He has associations with many universities, including Oxford, Leeds and Chicago, and has been presented with honorary degrees by twenty of them. In 1976 he was created a Life Peer as Baron Briggs of Lewes in the County of East Sussex.

He was Chancellor of The Open University from 1978 until 1994 and his idea of interdisciplinary study continues to be the basic approach of the university. In his honour in 2008, the university renamed its Arts lecture theatres as the 'Briggs Lecture Theatres'. Lord Briggs was awarded a Fellowship of the University in 1999, one of only seven people to achieve this honour. The first AOUG Award for Arts named after Asa Briggs was presented in 1992.

Previous winners
2014 Bijon Sinha
2013 Amanda Potter
2012 Mary Sparks
2011 No recipient
2010 No recipient
2009 Philomena Sutherland
2008 No recipient
2007 No recipient
2006 Barbara Daniels
2005 Michael Hassett
2004 Philip Greaney
2001 Patricia Mitchell
1998 Bernard Gates
1997 Les Robarts
1994 Tracey Martin
1993 John Potter
1992 Barbara Whittle