A TikTok conspiracy theory says this uni’s Vice-Chancellor is actually Banksy

Apparent evidence includes a Banksy mural suspiciously appearing the day after he had the day off work 👀

Right, so a TikTok conspiracy theory theory says a UK uni’s Vice-Chancellor is actually Banksy and it’s jokes.

The theory gives “evidence” that Paul Gough, VC of Arts University Bournemouth, is in fact Banksy. It’s all detailed in a TikTok video, shared by the uni itself.

Paul has a Master’s degree in fine art so is suggested to have the skills to be Banksy, and is a Banksy expert who has written books on the artist.

He is also the former Deputy VC of UWE in Bristol, which is known for having lots of Banksy paintings.

He started working at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) in 2020, when Banksy created a piece of artwork to dedicated NHS staff for their work during the pandemic and donated it to a Southampton hospital, just 30 miles from the uni’s campus.

Paul apparently also took a day off from work in 2021, and the very next day a new Banksy mural appeared in Reading. Coincidence??? (Probably, yes.)

The theory says he’s travelled all over the world and says these have been similar to where Banksy’s art has popped up. It also says Banksy was “quieter” between 2014 and the pandemic, after creating lots of art in the 2000s and early 2010s. Suspiciously, Paul worked as the Vice President of a Melbourne university and moved to Australia from 2014-2019.

Paul is a Banksy expert and says “it’s easy to become fascinated by the anonymity of the artist”, but says he’s always been more interested in the art itself and the messages behind it than who the artist is.

“It’s tempting to consider Banksy as a man, but it could just as easily be a woman, a non-binary individual, or a group of people who wilfully protect each other’s identity.

“I’m always struck by how many people respond to the topic of Banksy. It certainly strikes a chord.”

A spokesperson for AUB said the theory that Paul may be Banksy “had been circulating for a while” but the uni is not aware of where or how it started.

Paul has filmed a video on the uni’s TikTok account reacting to the theory and seems perplexed by the whole thing.

Speaking about the TikTok, AUB said: “Reactions have been very interesting, especially as others have joined in on the theory, sharing extra details and observations about Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Gough and his connection to Banksy.

“Some of these being entirely new points and suggestions.”

Paul Gough said: “I’m over sixty, and I was born in Plymouth, though I moved around all over UK and Europe, as I grew up in a military family.

“My current book on Banksy looks at the artist and the art, rather than the anonymous and notorious Robin Hood prankster, who tends to dominate the headlines.”

Featured image via SWNS and TikTok @inspiredAUB

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