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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

NI’s Oscar Winner James Martin awarded honorary doctorate by Ulster University

James Martin. (Photo: Nigel McDowell / Ulster University)

Oscar Winner James Martin has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Ulster University for his outstanding contribution to the arts.

This award was conferred on James on Wednesday (5 July) during an Ulster University graduation and celebration ceremony in the ICC, Waterfront Hall Belfast, following his appearance in the Academy Award-winning film An Irish Goodbye.


James is no stranger to applause from the Ulster University community. Earlier this year, President Joseph R Biden applauded James during his visit to Ulster University’s Belfast campus, giving him a well-deserved shoutout in his speech. 


Filmed in rural Northern Ireland, the short film An Irish Goodbye has made history winning an Academy Award, a BAFTA and the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) award for live action short, The University is recognising the outstanding contribution to the arts of one of its lead actors, James Martin.

Belfast-based James is the first person with Down’s Syndrome to win an Oscar and the University was delighted to host him recently on our Belfast campus during President Joseph R. Biden’s visit, during which he received a special mention from the President who said he was going to “brag to his daughter about meeting James”.


James commented:

“I will be delighted to receive this Honorary Doctorate from Ulster University in recognition of my contribution to An Irish Goodbye. We had a great team working on the movie which told a universal story that people really connected with and enjoyed watching. The impact it has had on people with learning difficulties has been very positive.”


James is pictured (above) with his mum, Professor Suzanne Martin, a Professor of Occupational Therapy at Ulster University.


This year’s 11 honourees also include a World Champion gymnast, a prize-winning poet, Ford’s UK Managing Director, a BBC Radio 3 broadcaster, a leader in women’s football and experts in peacebuilding and health and social care.


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