PJ Harvey has been announced as one of the names to receive an honorary degree from Goldsmiths University this year.
The singer, who was appointed an MBE last year, will accept the accolade from the London university next month, along with architect Dame Zaha Hadid, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, journalist Neal Ascherson and poet George Szirtes.
The ceremonies will take place between September 8 and 11. PJ Harvey will be awarded on Wednesday, September 10.
Goldsmiths University’s musical alumnus includes Blur – who played their first gig in the Students Union bar – John Cale, Katy B and Rob Da Bank. Jools Holland, Columbia Records chairman Rob Stringer and Placebo frontman Brian Molko are among the musical figures who have been honoured with Goldsmiths degrees in previous years.
“Our honorands this year are a remarkable group of people,” Liz Bromley, Registrar and Secretary of Goldsmiths, said. “They have changed communities through their inspiring architectural designs. They have pointed out the ridiculous in the news and made us laugh. They have inspired us with their words, their music, and their art. They have fought for our rights. And they have helped us to understand who we are now by looking to the past.”
In December 2013, PJ Harvey guest edited BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme Today, where she commissioned Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to deliver a special ‘Thought For The Day’, along with features from journalist John Pilger and former Archbishop Of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Actor Ralph Fiennes read the poems ‘Austerities’ by Charles Simic and ‘They Fight For Peace’ by Shaker Aamer and the show also featured extracts from works by Tom Waits and Joan Baez.
Musically, PJ Harvey has been quiet since the release of a single track last year – her first new song since releasing her eighth album ‘Let England Shake’ in 2011. The track, ‘Shaker Aamer’, is a protest song designed to raise attention to the plight of a British resident imprisoned by the US in Guantanamo Bay since 2002.
‘Let England Shake’ received widespread critical acclaim and was named NME’s Album Of The Year and won the Mercury Prize in 2011.