The University of Salford’s School of Arts and Media is to host an academic conference on the life and legacy of Prince.

The three-day international conference, held in partnership with Middle Tennessee State University, will re-examine Prince’s life and legacy.

Dr Kirsty Fairclough, Senior Lecturer in Media and Performance and the organiser of the conference said: “I’ve been a huge fan of Prince for a long time, so I didn’t need much persuasion to hold the conference.

“We have speakers coming from universities across the world, from New Zealand, The Netherlands, Spain and North America, including Yale and Harvard.

“We are thrilled that scholars at that level are coming to Salford.”

Dr Kirsty Fairclough
Dr Kirsty Fairclough

Dez Dickinson, guitarist from Prince’s band, the Revolution, will open the conference on Wednesday, May 24, with a public Q&A at Peel Hall.

Two full days of conference will follow, with a special panel discussion with Aziz Ibrahim, guitarist for the Stone Roses, Paul Weller and Simply Red.

HOME will also mark the event with the screening of the 1986 musical, Under the Cherry Moon, which Prince directed and starred in and will create a speciality raspberry cocktails for guests.

To close the conference, students from the University’s Music programmes will perform music in homage to Prince to delegates, while art and design students will create branding and exhibit their art for the event.

Professor Sarah Niblock, one of the keynote speakers at the conference said: “Prince was and is a phenomenal icon for multi-disciplinary critical scrutiny on so many levels. Until Prince’s premature death, there had been surprisingly little scholarly attention and much of that had centred on his music.

Sarah Niblock
Sarah Niblock

“We’re only really beginning to unpack his immense contribution to popular culture and identity politics. We must view Prince as a multi-talented, multi-disciplinary artist and thinker, and not just assess him through the lens of a popular musician.

“It behoves all of us as researchers to capture and record Prince’s work for current and future generations.”

Salford University has also partnered with Salford City Council, who will ‘paint the city purple’, lighting buildings such as The Lowry and HOME in purple to mark the conference.

Business owners will also have ‘purple dress down days’ and hotels will offer ‘purple packages’ for the duration of the conference.

Tim France, Director of Music and Dance at the University of Salford said: “It will certainly bring international exposure to Salford and the university.

“Prince was a hero. We all need help, advice and an influence. For many people, millions, he was that influence.”

To buy tickets for the conference, click here.

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