Professor Will Saunders, from StoryFutures, has been named as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the Creative Industries.
Professor Saunders’ MBE recognises his service to the Creative Industries, having spent a storied career working on a wide variety of creative endeavours, ranging from producing the Mike Flowers Pops cover of Wonderwall to writing for Graham Norton on Channel 4, running Red Nose Day online for Comic Relief and managing Digital Production for BBC Studios.
He has more than thirty years production experience on television, radio and online and has been a Creative Director at the BBC, an advisor for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), and consulted on digital innovation for broadcasters in Canada, Taiwan and Nigeria.
He joined Royal Holloway, University of London as the StoryFutures project Chief Creative Officer and Professor of Creative Industries in 2021, with his work forging significant and impactful partnerships between the University, the creative industries and government. He has been instrumental in pioneering new forms of award-winning creative experiences and facilitating ground-breaking research and development (R&D) projects with The National Gallery, BBC Three and Discovery Network amongst others.
Professor Saunders’ contribution to StoryFutures programmes has been a key feature of Royal Holloway’s recent announcement as the lead partner for the CoSTAR National Lab for research and development in Creative Technology for the UK’s screen and performance sectors in November 2023.
The Lab marks the largest single investment to date in Creative Industries R&D by UK Research and Innovation and Professor Saunders will form part of the team leading this unprecedented and exciting initiative.
Professor Will Saunders, upon being named in the New Year Honours, said: “To be recognised in this way is genuinely humbling, and I am enormously grateful to all my fellow comrades and kindred spirits who have inspired and educated me along the way. Here’s to the next 30 years.”
Professor James Bennett, Director of StoryFutures and the CoSTAR National Lab added: “Professor Saunders has had a deep and wide impact on the creative sector, bringing that to Royal Holloway in how we build meaningful connections within the sector. It’s great to see his dynamism and creative brilliance recognised with this honour.”
The New Year Honours list names new members of the orders of chivalry, such as MBE and OBE recipients, as well as recipients of other official honours. This year’s New Year Honours were announced on December 30, 2023, with Professor Saunders among those named.