It was a pleasure to join host Anna Smith, BBC Asian Network’s Ashanti Omkar and Waad al-Kateab, director of the incredible documentary For Sama, to review current releases and discuss classic films from a female perspective.
We previewed HOME’s Not Just Bollywood season, Jeanie Finlay’s Seahorse and paid tribute to the great Juliette Binoche by discussing some of her most entertaining and provocative work.
Listen on iTunes here:
Sound and Vision: Pop Stars on Film, July-August 2019
From the relatively early days of cinema, popular music figures have made forays into acting. Sound and Vision: Pop Stars On Film offers an overview of some of the most influential performances from a diverse range of cultural icons.
Co-curated by Dr. Kirsty Fairclough, University of Salford and Jason Wood Creative Director: Film and Culture at HOME.
Barry Adamson, Omar Ahmed, Mark Cousins, Fraser Elliott, Jennifer Hall, Rachel Hayward, Steve Jenkins, Bob Stanley, Andy Starke, Peter Strickland, Andy Willis.
In partnership with MUBI.
Call for Papers
78-88: Prince, The First Decade: An Interdisciplinary Conference.
A two-day international conference hosted by
The School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, United Kingdom
and the Department of Recording Industry, Middle Tennessee State University, USA.
June 3 & 4, 2020,
The Robert E. Jones Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center, University of Minnesota, 2001 Plymouth Ave. N., Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
Dr Mike Alleyne, Dept. of Recording Industry, College of Media & Entertainment, Middle Tennessee State University.
Dr Kirsty Fairclough, School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK.
Kristen Zschomler, Minneapolis-based historian and writer, Sound History, LLC.
Proposals are invited for a two-day international, interdisciplinary conference on Prince during the first decade of his career. The conference aims to provide fresh perspectives on the creative and commercial emergence of Prince as an artist during the period 1978-1988 and seeks to address Prince’s significant influence on popular culture during this time.
The first decade laid the foundation of his creatively fruitful career and established Prince as both a musical and cinematic artist, as well as a complete entertainer. The conference invites explorations of elements that established the cornerstones of Prince’s identities and offers opportunities for interconnecting stylistic components of the albums through which he asserted his creative authority.
We welcome proposals from scholars in the fields of popular music studies, sound studies, gender studies, cultural studies, television studies, celebrity studies, film studies, visual arts, performance studies, digital and social media and related disciplines.
Proposals for are invited for 20-minute papers and panels.
Single and panel proposals are invited on, but are not limited to, the following which must focus on the period 1978-1988:
• Prince and Minneapolis, including the Northside.
• Prince as musician.
• Prince as songwriter.
• Prince as producer.
• Prince as auteur.
• Prince and fandom.
• Prince and racial representations.
• Prince, feminism and gender relations.
• Prince and performance style.
• Prince’s music videos.
• Prince and fashion.
• Prince as star/celebrity.
• Prince and media representations.
• Prince as enigma.
• Prince and films, including writing, acting, directing, and soundtracks.
• Prince as mentor.
Please send: (1) a 250-word abstract, (2) a proposed title, (3) a clear indication of presentation format (4) institutional affiliation (if any), by Monday, September 30th, 2019 to:
The Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson is not affiliated, associated, or connected with the 78-88: Prince, The First Decade Conference, nor has it in endorsed or sponsored the 78-88: Prince, The First Decade Conference. Further, the Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson has not licensed any of its intellectual property to the 78-88: Prince, The First Decade Conference.
It was a pleasure to speak at Celebrity Culture Club at the AllBright, Mayfair on Women, music and celebrity. The evening interrogated women’s status in the music industry from a variety of perspectives. In essence, the panel discussed the ways in which pop music culture circulates representations of women that both shape and reflect their role in pop culture. At both ends of the spectrum it is a site for some of the most regressive gender tropes and some of the most excitingly resistant, norm-shattering responses to them.
I shared the stage with the following fabulous women:
Ayse Hassan, the bassist for Mercury Prize shortlisted, all-female post-punk band, Savages. She makes music in collaborations Kite Base and 180db and solo as ESYA.
Maxie Gedge does Communications for PRS Foundation, the UK’s leading funder for new music and talent development. She is the Director of the record label Gravy, and the drummer for both angry pop girl group Graceland and Current Bond. She has an MMus in Sonic Arts, has worked for festivals, venues and talent development organisations, programmed hundreds of new music shows, and promotes and DJs at queer dance parties.
Carla Marie Williams, Songwriter on Beyonce’s Grammy winning album Lemonade
Chair: Dr Hannah Yelin Senior Lecturer in Media and Culture, Oxford Brookes University.
International Prince scholarship continues apace with the BATDANCE symposium at Spelman College, Atlanta. At the end of the month I’ll be presenting on the the evolution of the Batman soundtrack album, the eleventh full-length studio album by Prince, and the first and only soundtrack album by Prince for a movie in which he was not involved as an actor. With a number of Purple Reign scholars speaking at the conference, we will be building on our international network with a view to further developments.
As fellow Prince scholar and BATDANCE organiser De Angela Duff puts so incisively….
“Prince was an innovator in multiple spheres of the arts. Prince was also interdisciplinarity, entrepreneurship, and invention incarnate. He was at the forefront of recording, lighting, and stage technology. Roger Linn’s Linn LM-1 Drum Machine, the first drum machine to use digital samples of acoustic drums, is intrinsically tied to and essentially synonymous with Prince and the “Minneapolis sound” that he is known for. Prince, an early and avid adopter of the internet, conversed directly with his fans in AOL private chatrooms way before Twitter or Facebook. In 1994, before Beyonce’s visual albums, he released his music in an interactive form, even going so far as to entitle it, Interactive. He was also on the forefront of entrepreneurship, building his own 55,000 square feet media complex for audio studio recordings, film and video shoots, band and tour rehearsals that he rented out to others during its inception in 1987. After he initially left Warner Bros. in 1996, he also constantly tested several, music distribution models involving old and new media. Prince worked with Van Jones to create and fund the organizations, #YesWeCode and Green For All. Also, before diversity became a ubiquitous term, Prince’s roster of band members and staff consisted of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and religions. On top of that, Prince was a silent philanthropist donating to many organizations including educational ones such as the Harvest Network of Schools, Harlem Children’s Zone, and Eau Claire Promise Zone to name a few. “
Further details on the symposium can be found here:
Following the success of the Prince From Minneapolis Symposium and in the next stage of the development of what we are now terming “Princecology”, EYE NO Prince Lovesexy Symposium will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Prince’s tenth album, Lovesexy at NYU Tandon on June 1st and 2nd 2018.
The symposium will consist of a reception, an opening keynote with Prince collaborators Cat Glover, Dr. Fink & Ingrid Chavez, and a screening on Friday, June 1st to launch the event. A full-day of 4 panels will follow on Saturday, June 2nd with a closing keynote with Prince’s cousin, Charles “Chazz” Smith.
Professor Mike Alleyne and I will present Glam Slammed: Visual Identity In Prince’s Lovesexy. The paper will explore the ways in which Lovesexy signalled the beginning of a period where Prince wrestled with moral and spiritual questions. We will consider how the central tenet of the album, the battle between God (good) and evil (the Devil, personified as “Spooky Electric”), which largely seems to be an internalised moral struggle, is introduced early in the album. “Lovesexy” as a conceptual framework is never made fully clear, but it seems to be a state of spiritual contentment that fuses a love of God and a connection with humanity via sexuality. The paper will explore the visual presentation of such themes through an analysis of the album cover, music videos, and art direction as part of the evolution of Prince’s visual identity and will consider Lovesexy’s visual style as Prince’s personal mythos.
The paper also explores the controversies surround the Lovesexy album cover. It references the historical roles and functions of the album cover, Prince’s status as a visual icon on his cover art, and comparative perspectives on his nine preceding album covers. Moreover, the analysis incorporates the mainstream cover norms at the time of Lovesexy’s release, photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino’s collaborative approach to the project with Prince, and ways in which negative critical response to the resulting art contributed to its relative commercial failure. The assessment interrogates multiple possible readings of the cover and its implications for Prince’s visual presentation on later releases. Lovesexy is one of Prince’s career high’s, a landmark album that displays an artist at the peak of his creative powers using philosophical constructs both visually and aurally in a way rarely seen in the mainstream. Thirty years since its release, it sounds and looks more exciting than ever.
The momentum building around the analysis of Prince’s life and work is reflective of the academic interest from scholars in a range of disciplines across the world. Plans are emerging to bring this work together and will be shared soon.
The EYE NO SYMPOSIUM WEBSITE with more info bios and abstracts can be found here:
I am soon to head to Minneapolis in my capacity as a consultant and speaker at the Prince From Minneapolis Symposium.
The event will take place in the city that Prince was proud to hail from. Continuing to live and work there, he put the city firmly on the map of the music industry through the Minneapolis Sound. Until his unexpected death on April 21, 2016, he hosted parties for local fans at his Paisley Park studio. Prince is probably the only global megastar who has remained so embedded in the cultural life of his hometown.
The symposium will investigate Prince’s unique relation to Minneapolis and Minnesota. It will ask what demographic, cultural, and economic conditions were in place for Prince to emerge as a musical genius? How was a new sound born from a small African American population in a largely white and segregated state? Why did Prince stay there? How did he reinvent the aesthetics and politics of blackness? How did he simultaneously cross over to white and international audiences? How did Minnesotans, both queer and straight, react to Prince’s ambivalent black male sexuality? How is Minneapolis represented in Purple Rain? How do we interpret his spiritual explorations? What kind of utopia did Paisley Park embody? What was Prince’s mode of operation in the studio? How did the Minneapolis sound affect hiphop, jazz, rock, and electronic dance music? Why do music tourists flock to this city from Europe and Australia?
Appreciating Prince’s cultural impact will provide a window on fundamental questions in US and Minnesotan society. At a time when the political achievements of the 1960s are under threat, we hope understanding where Prince comes from will make some room for reimagining social change.
I am proud to join an interdisciplinary team of scholars, artists, and music industry professionals with a passion for studying Prince’s significance to the world of music and to the Twin Cities.
As well as a range of diverse academic papers, we have a number of sessions taking place that will engage fans, the local community and the music industry including from some of Prince’s closest collaborators including Dr Fink, Mayte Garcia and Shelby J.
Our opening keynote is by Jeff Chang in discussion with Daphne Brooks,
Jeff Chang is Social Historian at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, Stanford University
who has written extensively on the intersection of race, art, and civil rights, and the socio-political forces that guided the hip-hop generation. As a speaker, he brings fresh energy and sweep to the essential American story, offering an invaluable interpretation at a time when race defines the national conversation. His latest book, We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation, questions why we keep talking about diversity even as American society is resegregating, both racially and economically.
Daphne A. Brooks is Professor of African American Studies, Theater Studies, American Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. She is the author of two books: Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910 (Duke University Press, 2006) and Jeff Buckley’s Grace (Continuum, 2005). She has published numerous articles on the intersectional politics of popular music culture. Brooks is currently working on a three-volume study of black women and popular music culture entitled Subterranean Blues: Black Women Sound Modernity. The first volume in the trilogy, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Archive, the Critic, and Black Feminist Musicking is forthcoming from Harvard University Press. Brooks is also the author of the liner notes for The Complete Tammi Terrell (Universal A&R, 2010) and Take a Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia (Sony, 2011). In 2017, Brooks served as the chief conference coordinator of the conference “Blackstar Rising and the Purple Reign: Celebrating the Legacies of David Bowie and Prince” at Yale University.
More information on our range of speakers can be found here:
The full schedule of papers and events is published here:
I am delighted to be presenting work with Professor Mike Alleyne on Prince and visual identity: post-Purple Rain. Mike Alleyne co-organised Purple Reign: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Legacy of Prince The University of Salford, UK with me in May 2017,
My participation in the symposium is a part of a larger academic and public engagement project on the life and legacy of Prince from the School of Arts and Media at The University of Salford, UK.
More information will be released soon.
In quite a diversion from my normal academic life, next week I’ll be speaking at the NME Flagship LIFEHACKS event at Islington Metalworks in London. The event, in partnership with The University of Salford and Create Jobs is a series of talks and panels designed to help young people kick-start their careers in the creative industries.
Hip-hop artist Loyle Carner and Chelsea footballer Eniola Aluko will headline and I’ll be on the “What I wish I knew at 18” panel with Kanya King (founder of the MOBO Awards) Jonathan Badyal (Head of Communications at Universal Music UK) and Liv Little (Gal-dem), which will focus on giving young adults confidence in terms of starting out in their career, or looking for a career change.
How to effect positive change panel
Josie Naughton (Help Refugees)
Skills to succeed in a digital age panel
Niran Vinod (Instagram)
Lauren Thomas (General Assembly
Ibrahim Kamara (GUAP)
Lyndon Saunders (University of Salford)
What I wish I knew at 18 panel
Jonathan Badyal (Universal Music UK)
Dr Kirsty Fairclough (University of Salford)
Kanya King (MOBO Awards)
Liv Little (gal-dem)
For tickets and booking information follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nme-lifehacks-islington-metal-works-london-tickets-38271979521
I am delighted to announce my involvement, alongside my Purple Reign Conference co-organiser Professor Mike Alleyne, in the upcoming Prince From Minneapolis symposium in April 2018.
Mike and I will act as consultants to the event which will investigate Prince’s unique relation to Minneapolis and Minnesota and will explore what demographic, cultural, and economic conditions were in place for Prince to emerge as a musical genius and examine how was a new sound born from a small African American population in a largely white and segregated state.
Other key questions include:
Why did Prince stay in Minneapolis?
How did he reinvent the aesthetics and politics of blackness? How did he at the same time win over white and international audiences?
How did Minnesotans, both queer and straight, react to Prince’s ambivalent black male sexuality?
How is Minneapolis represented in Purple Rain?
How do we interpret his spiritual explorations? What kind of utopia did Paisley Park embody?
What was Prince’s mode of operation in the studio?
How did the Minneapolis sound affect hiphop, jazz, rock, and electronic dance music?
Why do music tourists flock to this city from Europe and Australia?
Appreciating Prince’s impact will provide a window on fundamental questions in US and Minnesotan society. At a time when the political achievements of the 1960s are under grave threat, we hope understanding where Prince comes from will make some room for reimagining social change.
The Prince From Minneapolis team is an interdisciplinary team of scholars, mostly based at the University of Minnesota.
Zenzele Isoke (Department of Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies)
Elliot Powell (Department of American Studies)
Sumanth Gopinath (School of Music)
Emma Balazs (Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, Australia)