Florence Welch receives honorary scholarship from the University of the Arts

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

Welch was a student at the university, but dropped out after her formative year to pursue her music with Florence + The Machine.

In an emotional speech, Welch spoke about her pride in receiving the scholarship after being disappointed at not completing her undergraduate degree.

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

“I didn’t think that would ever happen,” Welch said after graduating.

“As you can see, I am very honored to receive this. As you may know, I was born in Camberwell and the art college was a big part of my imagination even before I went to it.

“Growing up in Camberwell, everyone I thought was interesting or cool or who was in my favorite bands seemed to have gone to Camberwell Arts College. But much to my mother’s chagrin, as a patron of higher education, I went straight out of school to the nearest pub.

“…Rather than even applying to college I just wanted to be in a band, but at that point in my life there really wasn’t a band…it was almost the idea of ​​just heavy drinking. After a year of this and feeling increasingly lost, I tried to apply to art school.

“…I’m so happy that you [took me]. I have to say that without this space to create and dream in this founding year and the structure and retreat it gave me, I would not be the artist I am today.”

Welch went on to explain how she took a year off after her formative year to see if her band “would go anywhere.” She continued, “I’ve always been incredibly sad not to have completed my studies, so I can’t tell you what that means to me.”

The last part of her speech was devoted to explaining the importance of the arts. “With so much talk about the essential and the non-essential in recent years, the essentiality of art can never be denied,” Welch continued. “It is a life-saving force, capable of making sense of the meaningless and expressing the unspeakable. Please never forget that as you venture out into the world that needs artists now more than ever,” she told fellow graduates at the ceremony.

Elsewhere in her speech, Welch also joked that she “definitely owes Camberwell money” for all the Florence + The Machine gig flyers she made on the university’s photocopier, and that she was concerned that her hat would fall off during her speech.

You can see more current pictures here:

Earlier this year, Florence + The Machine hit their fourth number one album, Dance Fever.

Florence Welch’s band’s fifth studio album topped Kendrick Lamar’s Mr Morale & The Big Steppers.

The band’s previous chart-topping hits include 2009’s debut Lungs, follow-up Ceremonials and 2015’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful.

Review of ‘Dance Fever’, NME said: “And for a moment / When I dance / I feel free”, she sings, over a whirlpool of hum and shimmer. By repeating this mantra in the track’s lush choruses, Welch sounds energized by the thrill of that feeling — and the possibilities it offers. Much like most of “Dance Fever” it feels like a joyful, slowly unfolding revelation. Being able to listen is a gift.”

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