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International delegates say Prince conference had ‘wow’ factor

Wednesday 31 May 2017

DELEGATES who travelled to Salford from around the world to take part in the first ever Prince conference have heaped praise on the event’s organisers.

Academics and fans of the Minneapolis music legend travelled thousands of miles to take part in Purple Reign: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Legacy of Prince held at The Lowry arts centre and the University’s MediaCityUK campus on May 24-26.

The event, hosted by the University and their US partners Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), will pay tribute to the star who died last April, was the first ever conference dedicated solely to the funk legend.

Sharon Davis, who had travelled from the USA to visit the conference, said: “I wish to send you HUGE thank you for arranging and putting together the first Purple Reign Conference. It was a pleasure to be part of and amongst wonderful people. I could see it was a huge team effort and everyone involved did a great job. Please extend my thank you to all involved.

“It has been inspirational for me. The topics and range of areas covered were huge. I wish I could have splits myself into three to go see them all.”

And Kamilah Cummings from DePaul University in Chicago said: “I want to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation for all the work that you and those who supported you did to produce a truly wonderful, insightful, and unforgettable conference.

“I am honoured to have participated as a presenter. I am also grateful that the tragic event that preceded the conference did not prevent it from continuing, as the conference was a concrete illustration of what love and compassion can produce.

Carmen Hoover from Olympic College in Washington State said: “Our whole experience in Manchester was at once amazing/wonderful/transformative. I am back in my classroom today, but Manchester and the conference are never far from my mind.”

Academics from New York University, Harvard University, Stanford University and the prestigious Smithsonian museum complex in the USA, as well as from Amsterdam, Poland and New Zealand came to Salford to discuss the lasting impact Prince had on popular culture.

Alex Case, president of the USA’s Audio Engineering Society, as well as artists from around the world also visited the conference to discuss Prince’s legacy.

Prince fans listened to Dez Dickerson, who sang backing vocals and played guitar in Prince’s original band, talk about his experiences touring and recording with the star during a public event at the University of Salford’s Peel Hall on May 24, while Home Manchester housed a packed screening of his 1986 musical drama Under the Cherry Moon.

The University of Salford’s Peel Hall and MediaCityUK buildings, as well as Salford City Council’s Swinton Civic Centre were lit up in purple throughout the conference, and staff and students from the University’s music programmes performed Prince songs at a closing party for conference delegates.

Dr Kirsty Fairclough, Senior Lecturer from the University of Salford’s school of arts and media, said: “Prince touched the lives of thousands of people and so we wanted this to be much more than simply an academic conference.

“On the same year as we marked our 50th anniversary, this was a truly landmark event which meant something very special to everyone who attended.”