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All at the University of Salford are deeply shocked and saddened by the events of Monday night. Our thoughts are with all of those involved, their families and their friends. We urge everyone to come together at this time and support all those affected by this tragic event.

As advised and urged by Greater Manchester Police we will be proceeding with business as usual as far as possible and will be going ahead with the Purple Reign event at all venues. We wish to make all conference delegates and audiences aware that there will be extra security measures in place at the University campus and HOME, plus bag searches on arrival at The Lowry. Please assist us by only bringing essential items with you to the venue to ensure this process is as smooth as possible.

Transport in and around the city centre continues to be affected so please allow for extra time to make your journey to and from the conference. For the latest transport updates please visit



Purple Reign: An interdisciplinary conference on the life and legacy of Prince is a three day international academic conference hosted by the School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK and the Department of Recording Industry, Middle Tennessee State University, USA.

The conference, taking place between 24th-26th May 2017,  will provide fresh perspectives on the creative and commercial dimensions of Prince’s career, re-examining the meanings of his work in the context of his unexpected death.

Purple Reign presents a timely consideration of the cultural impact, iconic status of Prince and his global legacies across many media platforms. It will examine all aspects of his creative output and the ways in which it intersects with video, performance, literature, theatre, film, digital culture, design and fashion.

We will address the issue of Prince’s significant influence and lasting appeal from a number of multi-disciplinary perspectives. We have welcomed scholars from across the globe, covering study fields of popular music and sound, gender and culture, television, film and celebrity studies, visual arts, performance studies, and digital media.

Dez Dickerson

Our keynote address will be delivered by Dez Dickerson, Prince’s guitarist from The Revolution, and Prof. Sarah Niblock, co-author of Prince: the Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon.

Former Stone Roses guitarist, Aziz Ibrahim will also speak on an industry panel at the world’s first conference devoted to Prince. The guitarist, who played with The Stone Roses following the departure of John Squire and has also played/co-wrote in Ian Brown’s solo band, will take part in a discussion before Prince’s 1986 musical drama Under The Cherry Moon, alongside pop culture commentator Karen Gabay and University of Salford film expert Andy Willis at The Lowry.

HOME will also mark the event by screening the 1986 musical drama Under the Cherry Moon, which Prince directed and starred in, alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Steven Berkoff.

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.

Click here to book your attendance now.

Are you experiencing problems paying for your ticket?

Upon purchasing your ticket, just bring your confirmation with you on the day of your attendance.
Your name will be added to our attendee list.

For enquiries please contact Kirsty Fairclough on 0161 295 6060, or email

Twitter: @PurpleReignconf

This conference has been organised in partnership with:

Keynote Speakers

64x64Dez Dickerson

Dez Dickerson is a music business professional with over 46 years experience in all facets of the music entertainment industry, including record company President/CEO, distribution company President, artist manager, A&R executive, artist, performer, songwriter, and record producer. His rich and extensive experience includes five years as the original guitarist with Prince and The Revolution, recording tracks such as 1999 and Little Red Corvette.

In the late eighties, Mr Dickerson made the transition to the business side of the music entertainment industry. Since that time, his professional history includes five years as VP/A&R with StarSong Communications (now part of EMI), founder/CEO of Absolute Records, founder of Pavilion Music Distribution, Pavilion Entertainment, and Pavilion Synergies. He is an alumnus of Leadership Music, and has served on the Board of Governors with the Nashville chapter of NARAS.

Mr Dickerson currently serves as President/CEO of The Pavilion Group, comprised of Pavilion Entertainment and Pavilion Synergies, a strategic social marketing agency. He has released an autobiography entitled My Time With Prince, in which he chronicles his involvement in the meteoric rise of the pop icon, and is currently writing the follow up, entitled Parties Weren’t Meant To Last.


64x64Prof. Sarah Niblock

Professor Sarah Niblock is a journalist, broadcaster and author whose scholarly research includes journalism studies, media and cultural studies, visual culture and musicology. She is co-author (with Stan Hawkins) of Prince: The Making of a Pop Icon (Ashgate) and numerous other books, chapters and articles. Sarah’s work embraces reflexivity and closing the theory/practice gap.

She is a public speaker on popular culture, with appearances at the ICA, South Bank Centre, Latitude Festival and is a frequent contributor to broadcast and online journalism in the UK and internationally. She enjoys strong links with the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, having reported on major stories such as Hillsborough. She has supervised doctorates to completion and assisted on others in the UK, Australia and Scandinavia.

Sarah is on the editorial board of four international peer reviewed journals. NCTJ-trained, Sarah began her career in local and regional newspapers and, while volunteering as a trainer on a project for disadvantaged youth in Liverpool, developed her passion for media education. She has since combined academic work with ongoing journalism practice. Her work has been published in Cosmopolitan, Company, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, MTV and other outlets.

Sarah has a PhD in psychoanalytical theory and visual culture. She has also subsequently trained in psychotherapy and coaching.


64x64Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson is Dean of the College of Media and Entertainment at Middle Tennessee State University and president of the First Amendment Center. He is also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today and remains a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues.

He is also the host of ‘The Songwriters’, a television show featuring interviews with inductees into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Throughout his career, Paulson has drawn on his background as both a journalist and lawyer, serving as the editor or managing editor of newspapers in five different states. He was on the team of journalists who founded USA Today in 1982 before moving on to manage newsrooms in Westchester County, N.Y., Green Bay, Wis., Bridgewater, N.J. and at Florida Today in Brevard County, Fla.

He also is a former president of the American Society of News Editors, the nation’s largest organisation of news-media leaders.

Paulson also was the host of the Emmy-honoured television program ‘Speaking Freely’, seen in more than 60 PBS markets nationwide over five seasons, and the author of ‘Freedom Sings’, a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that continues to tour the nation¹s campuses.

For 12 years, Paulson was a regular guest lecturer at the American Press Institute, speaking to more than 5,000 journalists about First Amendment issues. He was honoured with the API Lifetime Service Award. In 2010 and 2011, he served as chair of the PBS Editorial Standards Review Committee.

In 2007, he was named fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists, ‘the highest honour SPJ bestows upon a journalist for extraordinary contributions to the profession’. In 2008, he received the Robert S. Abbott Memorial Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications from the Southern Regional Press Institute. He has also been elected to the Illini Publishing Hall of Fame at the University of Illinois.

In October 2012, he received the Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism.

He is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He also has served as an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School.


64x64Dr. Kirsty Fairclough

Kirsty Fairclough is Director of International and Senior Lecturer in Media and Performance in the School of Arts and Media at The University of Salford, UK.

Kirsty has published widely on popular culture and is the co-editor of The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop (Routledge), The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment (Bloomsbury and. Music/Video: Forms, Aesthetics, Media. New York, (Bloomsbury) and author of the forthcoming Beyoncé: Celebrity Feminism and Popular Culture (I.B Tauris) and co-author of American Cinema: A Contemporary Introduction (Palgrave). Her work has been published in Senses of Cinema, Feminist Media Studies, SERIES and Celebrity Studies journals and she has made several television and radio appearances.

Kirsty has lectured internationally on popular culture, feminism and representations of women most notably at The Royal College of Music, Stockholm, The University of Copenhagen, Second City, Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Middle Tennessee State University, Unisinos Brazil and Bucknell University, Pennsylvania.

Kirsty has significant experience in international partnership development, particularly in North America and developed the Salford Popular Culture Conference series with international partner universities, including I’ll See You Again in 25 Years, Twin Peaks and Generations of Cult Television: A Two Day International Conference (University of Salford, May 2015) and Mad Men: The Conference (Middle Tennessee State University, May 2016).

Tim France

Tim France is a saxophonist and Director of Music and Dance at the University of Salford. The Music and Dance Directorate has nearly 500 students within undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD programmes in the heart of the University’s campus. The New Adelphi building houses some of the most advanced facilities in Europe for the study and practice of music and dance enabling students to prepare for the diverse requirements of the creative industries.

Tim has worked professionally for over 20 years and toured extensively throughout Europe and, more recently, in North America. His work has predominantly been freelance/session work across many different genres with artists such as Bryan Ferry and the BBC Philharmonic. He has also been recorded for BBC radio and television including the soundtrack for the film “RKO-281” starring John Malkovich, Melanie Griffith and Liev Schreiber.

He is currently working with the John Bailey Quintet who released their first album in 2015 on ASC Records entitled ‘Black Ship Bright Sea’. The band received the Northern Line Ambassador Artist accolade and support for their tour of the same year. The second album was recorded recently with double bass legend Arild Anderson and is due for release with Edition Records later on in the year. A third is scheduled soon featuring Professor Julian Arguelles from KUG, Institute of Jazz, in Graz Austria.

Prof. Mike Alleyne

Professor Mike Alleyne has been teaching in the Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) since 2000. He is the author of The Encyclopedia of Reggae: The Golden Age of Roots Reggae (2012) and contributing editor of Rhythm Revolution: A Chronological Anthology of American Popular Music – 1960s to 1980s (2015).He has lectured internationally at Linnaeus University in Sweden, the Pop Akademie in Germany, Concordia University in Montreal and at the University of the West Indies in the Caribbean. He has given conference paper presentations on popular music in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica and South Africa, among other territories.His articles have been published in Popular Music & Society, the Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Rock Music Studies, The Journal on the Art of Record Production, The Grove Dictionary of American Music, Popular Music History, Social and Economic Studies, Small Axe and Billboard magazine.

In addition to his numerous academic publications on popular music including book chapters, London-born Prof. Alleyne was also a consultant for the estate of Marvin Gaye in the 2015 copyright infringement trial involving the 2013 hit song “Blurred Lines.” He has contributed track notes to the forthcoming CD collection, The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop & Rap, and is currently writing a book on Jimi Hendrix due for publication in 2018.

His areas of specialization include the history of album cover art and graphics and the commercialization of reggae and Caribbean popular music. Prof Alleyne’s research interviewees have included producer/guitarist Nile Rodgers, rap veteran Chuck D of Public Enemy, and pop superstar Phil Collins. His involvement with popular music also includes roles as a writer and publisher member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers) and PRS (Performing Right Society).


Schedule Information

Your full conference ticket will include access to the full programme of events below, with lunch and refreshments included throughout the conference.

Full conference package includes:

  • Wednesday evening: A drinks reception at the New Adelphi Building, University of Salford, for full conference delegates. Followed by a Q&A with Dez Dickerson hosted by Ken Paulson (Dean of the College of Mass Communication at MTSU, President of the First Amendment Centre and former editor-in-chief of USA Today). Attendees that have booked for the £12 Dez Dickerson tickets will not be entitled entry to the full conference ticket holder drinks reception.
  • Thursday and Friday: A two-day conference at The Lowry Theatre and University of Salford, MediaCityUK.
  • Thursday evening: A screening of Under The Cherry Moon at HOME, Manchester.
  • Friday evening: A closing party with live performances at University of Salford, MediaCityUK.

Click here to view a detailed breakdown of our speakers and their abstracts.

Full conference details

7:00pm: Keynote address in Peel Hall. MTSU’s Ken Paulson interviews Dez Dickerson.

9:15am: Keynote address from Dr. Sarah Niblock (University of Westminster).

10:30am-12:00pm: Panels

Delegates will choose one session for this time allocation

Sound, Performance and Presence

Alex Case (University of Massachusetts Lowell, USA)

Prince Shifting: Transformations of character through performance with vocal pitch shifting

Ed Montano (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)

Do I Believe in God: Electronic dance music aesthetics and remix culture in the work of Prince

Pier Penic (Smithsonian National Museum, USA)

Dialogue with disco-iconography and Prince’s Erotic City

Tom Attah (University of Salford, UK)

To Make Purple, You Need Blue: Prince as embodiment of the postmodern Blues aesthetic

Andrew Scott (Humber College, Canada)

“While His Guitar Gently Wept:” Locating meaning in a Prince performance

Michael Ugrich (University of South Dakota, USA)

For You: A study of the neglected guitar style of Prince

Roberto Fassone (Artist, Italy)

Nothing Compares 2 Prince

Steve Griffin (Secondary Teacher, USA)

Prince, the Transcendent Poet

Jaap Kooijman (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Royal Rivalry and the 1980s Crossover Debate: Prince, Michael Jackson, and the Politics of genre.

12:00pm: Lunch

1:00pm-2:30pm: Panels

Delegates will choose one session for this time allocation


Simon Price (Writer, UK)

Prince and Performance Style

Ian Cummins & Martin King (University of Salford, UK)

In through the Outdoor: Gordon Burn and the death of the modern celebrity

Dawn Pichón Barron (Northwest Indian College, USA)

Prince: A mentor in breaking boundaries

Sam Coley (Birmingham City University, UK)

Adore: Online Prince fandom and ‘Purple Tears’

Andrea Foy (Author, USA)

Prince + Fans = A Rock and Roll Love Affair!

Patrick Glen (University of Salford, UK)

Wholesome Society? Looking for fans and their sexuality in the press’ reporting of Prince

Joanne Knowles (Liverpool John Moores University, UK)

Man of mystery and ‘Baaad Boy!’ Prince, the representation of male pop stars and the discourse of girls’ magazines of the 1980's and 1990's.

Harold Pride (Lecturer, USA)

Take This Beat: 1987 & the brilliant band with no name.

Carla Schriever (University of Oldenburg, Germany)

The Unutterable Desire for Prince: Male fan adoration and concealing techniques

2:30pm: Comfort Break

3:00pm: Panels

Delegates will choose one session for this time allocation

Film and Visual Art

DeAngela Duff (New York University, USA)

Under The Cherry Moon: Prince as his most authentic self

Helen Gascoyne (Lincoln College, UK)

Prince as Auteur: a reappraisal of Purple Rain (1984), Under The Cherry Moon (1986), Sign O’ The Times (1987) and Graffiti Bridge (1990)

Julie Lobalzo Wright (University of Warwick, UK)

Under the Cherry Moon: Sexuality, race and Hollywood in ‘A Film by Prince’

Chambers Stevens (Acting Coach, USA)

Creative Dramatics and the Beginning Actor: How three months of creative play freed Prince and the Revolution to make the greatest rock and roll movie of all time.

Sherry Wien (Monmouth University, USA)

Stare: A content analysis of how Prince directed and avoided gaze in his songs and movies

Casci Ritchie (Independent Scholar, UK)

Before the Rain: How Prince got the look

Joni Todd (Independent Scholar, USA)

'I’ll Paint a Beard on the Mona Lisa Even Though It’s My Favorite Jaw': The revolutionary careers of Prince and Marcel Duchamp.

Karen Turman (Winona State University. USA)

New Baudelairian Generation: Prince and 19th-century Dandyism

Sam Ward (Independent Scholar, UK)

Prince and the Erotic Explicit

4:30pm: A special industry panel discussion on the cultural impact of Prince

Former Stone Roses guitarist Aziz Ibrahim, pop culture commentator Karen Gabay and University of Salford's film expert Andy Willis discuss Prince's legacy in the music and film industry.

6:30pm: HOME

After the conference and industry panel, you will be accompanied to HOME (Greater Manchester Arts Centre). Here, you will watch a screening of ‘Under the Cherry Moon’.

9:00am-10:30am: Panels

Delegates will choose one session for this time allocation

Gender and Sexuality

Chris Aguilar-Garcia (Independent Scholar, USA)

New Power, Sexuality and Emancipation: The revolutionary queerness of Prince through a Foucauldian lens.

Scarlett Brown (King’s College London, UK)

If I was your Girlfriend: Becoming a woman while listening to Prince

Natalie Clifford (Independent Scholar, USA)

Re-Imagining Masculinity: Prince’s impact on millennial attitudes regarding gender expression

Joy Ellison (Ohio State University, USA)

When Were You Mine? Prince’s legacy in the context of transgender history

Carmen Hoover (Olympic College, USA)

On Their Knees: A meditation on sexuality, power, and feminism in Prince and the Revolution’s stage show

Jane Jones (Writer, UK)

Electric Man: On the ecstasy of Prince Rogers Nelson

Dalena Ngo (Independent Scholar, USA)

Between Binaries and Breaking Barriers: A space for self-expression

Ali Nobil Ahmad (Zentrum Moderner Orient, Germany)

Sex and Race in the Art of Prince: A British Asian perspective

Jennifer Pyke (Wake Forest University, USA)

'Take me with you': Prince and the musical space of female sexual desire

10:30am: Comfort Break

11:00am-12:30pm: Panels

Delegates will choose one session for this time allocation

Leah Stone (Journalist, USA) and Shannan Wilson (Virginia Union University, Independent Scholar, USA)

We Can’t Hate You, Because We Love You: An examination of Prince, misogyny and queerness.

Rashad Shabazz (Arizona State University, USA)

Black Music in Minneapolis: Prince and the geography of the Minneapolis sound

LaToya Eaves (Middle Tennessee State University, USA)

Art Official Age: A requiem for space

Arun Saldanha (University of Minnesota, USA)

The Dream We All Dream Of: Nonhuman blackness in Prince’s "U Got the Look"


Hasit Shah (Harvard University, USA)

Prince’s misunderstood relationship with the internet

James Zarucky (Independent Scholar, Australia)

Strange Relationship: Prince’s love/hate approach towards digital technology and the internet

12:30pm: Lunch

1:30pm-3:00pm: Panels

Delegates will choose one session for this time allocation


Simon Barber (Birmingham City University, UK)

Paisley Park Is In Your Heart: Contextualising Prince at celebration 2017

Maciej Smółka (Jagiellonian University, Poland)

The Sound of Purple: Prince and the development of Minneapolis sound

Suzanne Wint (St. Olaf College, USA)

'Tears Go Here': Commemorating the Minneapolis Prince and the international Prince

Susan Campion (Independent Scholar, USA)

Prince and Minneapolis


Panel Title: 'Free the Slave': Prince’s impact on the contemporary black American freedom movement

Zaheer Ali (New York University, USA)

Slave 2 the System: Prince’s labor activism and the black radical tradition

Dereca Blackmon (Stanford University, USA)

Beyond Definition: The liberation theology of Prince

Monique Morris (St. Mary’s College, USA)

Walking in Crooked Shoes: Prince and the complication of mastery

Kamilah Cummings (DePaul University, USA)

Prince: Introduction of a new breed leader

William Robinson (North Carolina Central University, USA) and Kimberly Moffitt (University of Maryland, USA)

Transgressions in Purple: The Prince protest mixtape project vol. 1

Crystal Wise (University of Michigan, USA)

It’s All About What’s In Your Mind: The political consciousness of Prince

3:00pm: Comfort Break

3:30pm-5:00pm: Panels

Delegates will choose one session for this time allocation


John Narayan (University of Warwick, UK)

Prince and the Racial Revolution: Walking the line between the post-racial and blackness

Twila Perry (Rutgers University, USA)

Prince: Choices and strategies in the representation of race

Felicia Holman (Independent Scholar, USA)

Purple Majesty

Kimberly Ransom (University of Michigan, USA)

A Conceptual Falsetto: Re-imagining black childhood through one girl’s exploration of the artistry of Prince

James Williams (Syracuse University, USA)

Black Muse 4 U: Liminality, self-determination and racial uplift in the music of Prince

Leslie Wooden (New York University, USA)

Prince: The 'mulatto' body as an examination of race, gender, and sexuality through performance (Abstract)

Kavita Maya (University of London, UK)

Owning the Masters: Spirituality, textuality and power

Philosophising Prince

Zachary Stiegler (Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA)

'Microchip in your Neck': Prince’s war

Erica Thompson (Independent Scholar, USA)

Willing to do the Work: The spiritual mission of Prince 1958-1988

Annie Potts (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

'Flying Aboard the Seduction 747': Prince, Deleuze and the ‘Body with Humour’

6:00pm: Closing Remarks

7:00pm: Party like it's...

Find us

Purple Reign is based over three sites at the University of Salford’s main campus, MediaCityUK (The Lowry and our MediaCityUK campus) and HOME (Manchester). All of the conference locations are very close to a tram/train station and other major transport links.


Hotel Football

Our friends at Hotel Football are offering a special offer to delegates attending Purple Reign.

Overlooking Old Trafford football stadium, the home of Manchester United, Hotel Football is just a 10 minute drive from both MediaCityUK and Manchester city centre.

An exclusive rate of £129 bed and breakfast between 24th–27th May is redeemable by using the code SUNI2405.

Marketing Manchester

Marketing Manchester Convention Bureau is an official accommodation provider for Purple Reign Prince Conference 2017.

All rooms are held on an on-line system, allowing you to book and secure your own accommodation using either pro-forma invoices or credit/debit card. If you require any assistance with your reservation, support is available via the Accommodation Booking Team.

Click here to book accommodation for this event.

Negotiated delegate rates will be available to book until the end of the day on 26th April 2017, so please book as soon as possible to guarantee a room. If you require accommodation beyond this date or you have any queries about the website, please contact Visit Manchester.

For all accommodation enquiries please call the Accommodation Booking Team on 0161 238 4514 / 4563 or email:

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