News / 19 Oct 2023

Cerys Matthews to be awarded Honorary Masters Degree by Leeds Arts University

University News

Award-winning songwriter, author and broadcaster Cerys Matthews will receive an Honorary Master of Arts Degree from Leeds Arts University during a graduation ceremony held at The Royal Armouries, Leeds, on Tuesday 24 October 2023. The ceremony will celebrate graduating students from across the University’s postgraduate and undergraduate degree courses.

“We are delighted to present this year’s Honorary Master of Arts Degree to Cerys Matthews. As an artist working in the fields of music, spoken word, broadcasting and creative writing; she is an inspirational example of how diverse and rewarding a career in the creative industries can be. A champion of artistic freedom and creativity, and supporter of new and diverse talent, Cerys is a worthy recipient of this award. I hope our graduating students are encouraged by her success as they take their next steps into their creative careers.”

Professor Simone Wonnacott, Vice-Chancellor, Leeds Arts University

Cerys Matthews is a songwriter, author and broadcaster.

Cerys said: “‘I’d be a damn fool’ if I didn’t accept this honour from Leeds Arts University - (quoting Dylan Thomas there). LAU is the only specialist arts university in the North of England- the exceptional work they do there in terms of film, fashion, art, acting, writing and music (and more) is one thing, but they also share my open eyed and armed attitude to learning too. With gusto, I said yes.”

Cerys Matthews, musician and broadcaster

In 2022, the BBC Radio 4 music show, ‘Add to Playlist’, which Cerys hosts and writes with Jeffrey Boakye, won both the Prix Italia and Prix Europa. Cerys was voted UK Blues broadcaster of the year in 2022 and 2023 for her BBC Radio 2 Blues Show and the BBC 6 music cross-genre radio show, which she programmes and hosts, won the Radio Academy Award in 2013. 

Cerys has been a music collector and fan since she was a young child growing up in Wales. She has curated and composed for theatres, including the Tate Modern and the National Theatre, London and was artistic director for the opening ceremony of the World Music Expo 2013. She was awarded an inaugural St David Award for her services to culture from the First Minister of Wales in 2014 and the same year, was awarded an MBE for her services to music.

Cerys was a founder member of multi-million selling band Catatonia, is a vice-president for Shelter, was an artistic director with Manchester International Festival in 2021/2. Cerys is a patron of the Dylan Thomas Society and Ballet Cymru.

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