Richie Hawtin Awarded an Honorary Doctorate

Richie Hawtin and Sir Patrick Stewart OBE (Chancellor, University of Huddersfield)

Veteran DJ, producer, label owner and tech enthusiast Richie Hawtin has been bestowed an Honorary Doctorate of the University of Huddersfield, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the world of music technology.

If that wasn’t enough of a trip for the Canada-born artist, he was presented with his accolade by Sir Patrick Stewart, the British actor known to millions as Star Trek’s Captain Picard (he's also Chancellor of the university).

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“Today I went back to University and had the great privilege to accept the Honorary Doctorate from the University of Huddersfield -- a faculty renowned worldwide for its attention and innovations with technology,” Hawtin said after the ceremony Monday (July 13) at the British campus. “I thank the University of Huddersfield for the honor of this award and congratulate the graduating class from the Music & Technology faculty. At its core, technology based music is driven by the constant innovation and development of technology. It is my belief that this is what will forever keep us feeling challenged, excited and inspired for what lies just around the corner.”

Hawtin’s talent for minimal techno made him an icon in the early '90s underground dance music scene. As a 20-something, Hawtin forged a long association with Daniel Miller’s Mute Records. In 1993, Miller's Novamute released the “Sheet One" EP through Hawtin’s alter-ego, Plastikman. The following year came the mini-album “Recycled Plastik” with its iconic “Spastik,” which to this day is considered a genre-defining piece of work.

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A fierce advocate of developing technologies, Hawtin has collaborated with such music software companies as Native Instruments, Ableton, Subpac (a wearable audio technology) and played an instrumental role in the development of digital DJ technologies like Final Scratch. He also founded the labels Plus 8 Records and M_nus and last year shared his first new Plastikman album in a decade, EX, which he recorded in November 2013 at New York’s Guggenheim. 

The Honorary Doctorate is the third major honor for Hawtin in the past year. Last September, he was feted with the Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the Assn. for Independent Music’s annual awards ceremony in London, and at the Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto, Japan last October he was presented with the Sake Samurai Award by the Sake Samurai Association. He was one of eight recipients of the University of Huddersfield's Honorary Doctorate for 2015.