Susan Philipsz was named the winner of this year's Turner prize for her sound installation Lowlands: a recording of the artist singing a traditional folk song played under bridges on the River Clyde in Scotland.
Miuccia Prada presented Philipsz with the £25,000 award at Tate Britain against a very different soundscape - that of students protesting against the coalition government's education cuts.
The protesters were kept out of sight during the ceremony by a makeshift barrier but could clearly be heard by attendees. Despite the physical division, Philipsz expressed sympathy with the concerns of the students:
"My heart goes out to them. I really support them."
Director of Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota, added that the cuts could have an effect on the prestigious art prize:
"Everyone who cares about the arts is bound to be concerned by cuts to arts in higher education. Art schools have been laboratories for the kind of work that has gone on to win the Turner prize."
Philipsz beat competition from Dexter Dalwood, Angela de la Cruz and the Otolith Group to become the first artist to win the prize for a sound sculpture and the fourth female winner in the award's history.