Icelandic artist Björk was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Iceland University of the Arts during a graduation ceremony at Harpa Music Conference Hall on June 16, 2023. It marks the second time in the university’s history that such an accolade has been bestowed.
“No ordinary musician”
At a graduation ceremony at the Harpa Music Conference Hall on June 16, 2023, Icelandic artist Björk Guðmundsdóttir was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Iceland University of the Arts. She received the honour in recognition of her “significant artistic contributions.”
As noted by a press release on the university’s website, the honorary doctorate is bestowed upon individuals who have made a distinctive impact on art and culture and serves as an opportunity for the institution to pay homage to the recipient’s achievements and contributions to the academic realm of art.
To be eligible for the recognition, recipients must have made an important contribution and “garnered respect within their respective fields, be it as artists, academics, or influential figures in the realms of culture, art, or art education.”
During the event, Friða Björk Ingvarsdóttir, President of the Iceland University of the Arts, delivered a speech highlighting the career of Björk, describing her as a formidable force. “Björk is no ordinary musician; a different set of laws seem to be govern her work. As a solo artist, she has consistently revitalised her bond with her compositions and her own image. Each new creation she presents brings us an unforeseen and harmonious world.”
“Most of us are familiar with the story of how Björk practically introduced Icelandic music to a global audience,” Fríða Björk continued. “While other Icelandic musicians have garnered acclaim and left an impression worldwide, Björk was the trailblazer who effectively brought Icelandic music into the international spotlight. Her groundbreaking achievements have undoubtedly benefited subsequent artists who have followed in her footsteps.”
Two works by Björk were performed at the ceremony: a performance of Atopos by Murmura, on the one hand, and a performance of Tabula Rasa by Viibra.
This marks the second time in the university’s history that such an accolade has been bestowed. Composer Hjálmar H. Ragnarsson was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2016.