University of the Arts honors Florence Welch

Florence Welch has today (July 13) received an honorary fellowship from London’s University of the Arts.

Welch was once a student at the university, but she dropped out after her foundation year in order to pursue her music with Florence + The Machine.

Welch shared her feelings of pride after receiving the fellowship in an emotional speech.

She also used her acceptance speech to discuss the importance of the arts and why they’re needed now more than ever.

“I didn’t think this would ever happen”Welch, after she received her degree.

“As you can tell, I’m so honoured to receive this. You may be aware that I was born in Camberwell, and that the college of art loomed large in my mind long before I went.

“Growing up in Camberwell, everyone who I thought was interesting or cool or who were in my favourite bands seemed to have gone to Camberwell Arts College. But much to my mother’s dismay, as a patron of higher education herself, I stepped straight out of school into working in the nearest bar.

“…Rather than applying for any universities at all, I just wanted to be in a band but at that point in my life there really was no band…it was almost the imaginary there was just a lot of drinking. I felt lost after a year and tried to apply for art college.

“…I’m so happy that they [took me]. I have to say, without that space to create and dream in that foundation year, and the structure and sanctuary it provided me, I would not be the artist I am today.”

Welch continued to describe how she took a year off after her foundation year in order to see if her band was still together. “would go anywhere”. She went on: “I was always incredibly sad to not have completed my degree, so I cannot tell you what this means to me.”

The last portion of her speech was devoted to explaining the value of the arts. “With so much talk about what is essential and non essential over the last few years, the essentialness of art can never be denied,”Welch continued. “It is a life saving force capable of making sense of the senseless and expressing the un-expressible. Please never forget that as you move out into the world that needs artists now more than ever,”She shared her thoughts with other graduates during the ceremony.

Welch also made a joke about how she “definitely owe Camberwell money” for all the Florence + The Machine gig flyers she made on the university’s photocopier and that she was worried her hat would fall off during her speech.

See more photos of the moment:

Earlier this year, Florence + The Machine scored their fourth Number One album with ‘Dance Fever’.

Florence Welch’s band’s fifth studio album beat Kendrick Lamar‘s Mr Morale & The Big Steppers’To the top spot.

The band’s previous chart toppers include 2009 debut ‘Lungs’Follow up ‘Ceremonials’ and 2015’s ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’.

Review ‘Dance Fever’, Camille Atebe said: “And for a moment / When I’m dancing / I feel free”, She sings over a buzz of shimmer and sparkle. By repeating that mantra throughout the track’s sumptuous choruses, Welch sounds energised from the thrill of this feeling – and the possibilities afforded by it. Like the majority of ‘Dance Fever’It feels like a joyful, unfurling epiphany. It’s a gift to be able to listen in.”

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