SFS President Diana Holmes honoured for French arts and culture research


Diana Holmes, Professor of French at the University of Leeds, has received the honour of Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters).

The accolade places her among star-studded company, with other Officiers including Sir Elton John, Van Morrison and French actresses Jeanne Moreau and Marion Cotillard.

Awarded by the French ambassador to the UK, Madame Hélène Duchêne, the honour has three grades: Chevalier, Officier and Commandant. Professor Holmes was presented with the award for her significant contribution to French arts, literature and cultural inheritance, including her innovative research about French women writers, popular fiction, feminism and cinema.

Madame Duchêne also recognised Professor Holmes’ international promotion of French culture. As President of the Society for French Studies in the UK and Ireland, Professor Holmes plays a leading role in encouraging and supporting intellectual enquiry in French studies.

Professor Holmes, of Leed University’s School of Languages, Cultures and Societies, said: “I am delighted and deeply honoured to receive this decoration, and it was especially good to do so in the presence of family, friends and colleagues.”

She was joined by colleagues Professor Emma Cayley and Professor Margaret Atack for the ceremony at the French Institute in Kensington.

Professor Simone Buitendijk, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of Leeds, said: “This is an excellent and well-deserved honour for Diana, whose research focuses on gender inequalities in French arts and culture. It is vitally important that we innovate and research the arts and humanities and their effects on humans, and Diana’s work shows the huge impact of taking an international approach to this.

“Diana has made a brilliant contribution to French studies, collaborating with peers in the higher education sector globally in her role as President of the Society for French Studies. It is fantastic that her work has been honoured by the French government.”

France has awarded l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 1957, to recognise eminent artists and writers, and people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.