Sir Trevor Phillips receives City Freedom

The founding chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Sir Trevor Phillips, has today been awarded the Freedom of the City of London, in recognition of his services to the Barbican Centre, and his commitment to equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Sir Trevor is a writer and television producer, a former member of the Barbican Arts Centre Board and advisor to the City’s Corporation’s Members Diversity Working Group.

He presents Sky News’s flagship Sunday morning politics show ‘Sunday morning with Trevor Phillips’ and is a Times columnist, shortlisted for Comment Writer of the Year in 2020.

He is the co-founder of the data analytics consultancy Webber Phillips, Chairman of Green Park Interim and Executive Search, and a non-executive director of the AIM-listed behavioural science consultancy Mind Gym. He also chairs the global freedom of expression campaign charity Index on Censorship.

He was nominated for his Freedom award by Chair of the City of London Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh, and former Alderman and 684th Lord Mayor, Sir David Wootton, who attended his ceremony at Guildhall with invited guests.

The City Corporation is the owner, founder, and principal funder of the Barbican Centre - a world-class art and learning organisation, which showcases all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre, and visual arts.

A Brutalist icon, it is Europe's largest multi-arts centre, and one of the UK’s greatest post-war buildings, attracting almost two million visitors annually. It is a major contributor to the economic, social, and cultural life of the City, London, and the UK, making an annual £40 million contribution to the capital’s economy and supporting over 800 jobs.

The arts venue is a cultural cornerstone of the City Corporation’s flagship Destination City programme, which sets out a vision for the Square Mile to become a world-leading leisure destination for UK and international visitors, workers, and residents to enjoy.

Speaking after today’s ceremony, Sir Trevor Phillips, said:

“It is a great privilege to be recognised in this way and to be accorded an honour that is nearly eight centuries old. Against that background, my own family is a relative newcomer to the metropolis; but it is testament to the longstanding tradition of our city, and the quality that sets it above most other world cities, that we came as strangers and that within a generation we have become Londoners.

“I am particularly grateful to the Barbican board, led by Tom Sleigh and to the former MD, Sir Nicholas Kenyon for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the cultural life of the City. The arts, culture and media sectors contribute many billions to our nation’s prosperity, but more importantly, they are central to the telling and retelling of our national story, to reminding us who we are as a people and to showing us the best that we can be.”

City Corporation Policy Chairman, Chris Hayward, said:

“Sir Trevor Phillips is a trailblazer for inclusivity in the UK.

“This award is a well-deserved recognition of his outstanding contributions to public life and his unwavering dedication to making our society more inclusive.

“We are proud to honour him in this way today.”

Chair of the City Corporation’s Barbican Centre Board, Tom Sleigh, said:

“Sir Trevor Phillips has been a dedicated advocate for anti-racism and a valuable member of the Barbican Centre Board.

“His commitment to promoting equality and diversity has left an indelible mark on our Barbican Centre community and across UK society.

“It is a privilege to nominate him for the Freedom of the City of London.”

One of the City of London’s ancient traditions, the Freedom is believed to have begun in 1237 and enabled recipients to carry out their trade.

As well as being nominated for, or applying for, the Freedom, it is also offered by the City of London Corporation to individuals as a way of paying tribute to their outstanding contribution to London or public life, or to celebrate a very significant achievement.

Recent high-profile recipients include theatrical legend, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, LGBTQ+ activist and London Night Czar, Amy Lamé; Bank of England Deputy Governor, Sir Jon Cunliffe; and Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, who initiated and led the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.