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Doctor Frankie Williams

Frankie is wearing a blue and yellow graduation gown with a dark blue velvet PhD hat with yellow tassels.

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Music


Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Dr Frankie Williams for the award of Honorary Doctor of Music.

Frankie Williams is a pioneer in the field of music therapy, and a long-standing advocate and supporter of Anglia Ruskin University.

Her academic journey began in the 1960’s, studying Music at Nottingham University, followed by a  PGCE at Birmingham University, and later a MA then Doctorate at the Institute of Education at UCL.  She is also a Finzi scholar. 

After graduating, Frankie’s first teaching role was at the prestigious Queenswood School in Hertfordshire, where her passion for music and performance created immediate impact.

She was soon offered the Head of Music role at a large comprehensive school in Luton. And it was here that Frankie first championed music as a core subject for children and young people, particularly for those who had no previous experience of live performance.

Ever willing to back her beliefs with action, she staged the first-ever amateur performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and later set up and ran a Saturday morning music school for local youngsters.

Frankie’s growing experience and burgeoning reputation led to a wide variety of invitations for diverse roles.

As an advisor in Bedfordshire in the 80’s, she championed the introduction of computers and music in schools. And Frankie was a major influence in establishing music therapy services within education… across  Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire… and working for many years to connect schools with music therapy professional practice.

She helped drive positive change through an insightful briefing on Music Technology - to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate.

And she successfully acquired funding from the Department for Trade and Industry, and the Department for Education - to equip and launch a Music Technology Bus, which led the field in Music Technology in schools throughout the 1980’s and 90’s. She was also a Schools Inspector in Cambridgeshire for over twenty years.

Frankie has a unique understanding of the therapeutic power of music, of its ability to enhance quality of life. And she has enjoyed an extraordinarily active career, bringing her unique energy, enthusiasm and expertise to a wide range of projects and communities.

Frankie co-founded and conducted the Bedfordshire Junior County Youth Orchestras, and as Vice Chair of the National Association of Youth Orchestras, she helped set up the largest season of concerts on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to great critical acclaim.

She co-founded the European Association of Youth Orchestras, serving on many local and national committees and advised on the education elements of many arts projects including the BBC Proms, the Sage Gateshead.  Frankie also worked on some ground-breaking projects with the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne Opera House. 

Our university has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Dr Williams. Her expertise and wide-ranging connections have enhanced the impact and reputation of Anglia Ruskin. She has been an influential advisor to the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research, and has selflessly given many hours of her time to support fundraising campaigns and to mentor Anglia Ruskin staff.

Frankie will be an inspirational role model for all our students, especially for those within our Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research.

In recognition of her distinguished career, her positive impact on diverse communities, and her many years of advocacy and support, we are delighted to welcome Dr Frankie Williams to our Anglia Ruskin Honorary community.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Dr Frankie Williams for the award of Doctor of Music, honoris causa.