Purple reign: Salford celebrates the life of Prince
- Published: Wednesday, 05 July 2017 10:39
- Written by University of Salford
by Dr Kirsty Fairclough, Senior Lecturer in Media and Performance
When I decided to organise an event looking at the life and legacy of Prince, it was obvious that this wasn’t going to be a standard academic conference.
The Purple One touched a lot of hearts – including my own – and while his passing last year was incredibly sad, it made me question why his work has never been given the full attention it deserves. When I put out a call for academic papers for the conference at the end of 2016, I was amazed by the number of responses I received, the range of institutions they came from, and the range of subjects covered – from Prince’s contribution to music to his spirituality.
But while we attracted academics from New York University, Harvard, and the Smithsonian museum – as well as from Amsterdam and New Zealand – it was clear that Purple Reign – An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Work of Prince would also be able to fulfil an important public engagement element.
We wanted to engage with Prince’s worldwide army of fans as well as the local community – and most importantly, we wanted this to be an imaginative event that people would remember for years to come. We worked in collaboration with our US partners, Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) who were essential in bringing one of the event’s biggest draws – former Revolution guitarist Dez Dickerson who took part in a fascinating public Q&A session talking about his time playing with Prince.
We worked with HOME Manchester, the arts complex where we hosted a screening of Prince cinematic rarity Under The Cherry Moon, and with The Lowry in Salford, where much of the conference itself took place, were also essential. But it was our collaboration with Salford City Council which really helped us turn the conference into an event. They took Purple Reign to heart, arranging tie-ins with local businesses, promoting it as an event for the city, and helping us pull off one of our most visual coups – lighting public buildings up in purple throughout the event.
The responses of those who flew thousands of miles to attend the event left no doubt that it was a success. Sharon Davis, who came from the US, said:
“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. It has been inspirational for me.”
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.”
But one of the most powerful reactions came from a group who had flown over from Washington State. Tragically, the conference came just days after the horrific attack which occurred just miles from our campus at Manchester Arena – a terrorist atrocity which the city of Manchester met with inspirational strength and resilience. The Manchester bee – a long-standing symbol of the city’s industrial heritage – became a symbol of defiance in the face of terror and was tattooed on the arms of proud Mancunians and Salfordians.
Carmen Hoover, her daughter Astrid, together with Dawn Barron, her daughter Sonrisa and family friend Ayana Eagans, were so overawed by the way the city pulled together they chose to travel into the city centre to get bees of their own – only to find huge queues outside every tattooist. Not to be deterred, they flew back to the US and had them done at home. Carmen said:
“I am back in my classroom now, but Manchester and the conference are never far from my mind.
“Manchester’s grief and horror was contagious, but so was your fight, your love, your songs, your dignity—and somehow through the whole week, you were welcoming to strangers and outsiders like ourselves. We felt immediately at home.”
Mike Taylor, Head of Industry Partnerships who also sits on the Salford City Council Cabinet, said:
“Our close relationship with Salford City Council enables us to co-design, plan and implement collaborative City wide events with students, academics and industry.
“The current University Strategy 2016 – 2021 is underpinned by our vision of pioneering exceptional industry partnerships to will lead the way in real world experiences preparing students for life. The focus is on developing cross-sector ‘industry’ partnerships building upon the University’s heritage and embracing our future aspirations.
“The Prince Conference is a perfect example of how when we work together as a HEI & LA our collective impact in the local community & economy is far greater.”
Image courtesy of PxHere under Creative Commons CC0
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It was a logical step for the University of Surrey to build a relationship with the Guildford video games industry – an initiative which has rapidly reaped results.
The University of Plymouth has a strong track record of working in partnership with industry, developing lasting relationships with innovative SMEs.
Graded ‘outstanding’ by Innovate UK, the KTP has supported the University’s longer term strategic partnership with Panalpina.
Driven by sense of place, the people and the culture of the Llŷn Peninsula, the main aim of this initiative is to support the region’s tourism business.
A KTP between Llamau Limited and Cardiff University has improved the charity’s service provision for vulnerable and homeless young people in Wales
Successful collaboration between businesses and universities is dependent on the same quality as any successful relationship – trust and a common goal.
Rolls-Royce partner with Southampton University to introduce an advanced automated design methodology to improve product efficiency.
Based in Ulster University, the Connected Health Innovation Centre (CHIC) is focused on business led research in the area of connected health.
University spin-out, Medherant, is developing the world’s first ibuprofen pain relief patch, based on research conducted at the University of Warwick.
Cranfield University’s newest world-class facility opened this year, the £35 million Aerospace Integration Research Centre (AIRC).
The University of Exeter and ship repair and engineering services provider A&P Falmouth Ltd partnership generates new ideas and grow the economy in Cornwall.
Boeing Sheffield will be built alongside The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC).
Famouth University's LAUNCHPAD is a new way of incubating high growth Tech start-ups that completely reverses the way business and universities work together.
Imagine an offshore energy field that is operated, inspected and maintained from the shore, is completely future-proof and will add £6bn to the UK’s economy...
Nestled in the heart of London’s Tech City, IDEALondon is an innovation centre with a difference...
Loughborough University, HLP Architects and BRE Group work together to develop new "dementia-friendly" home.
The 3M BIC in Huddersfield has made a substantial impact on the growth of many local and regional businesses, focusing on the needs of SMEs.
This KTP will introduce elements of artificial intelligence, drawing on Aston's expertise in computational intelligence and machine learning.
The collaboration highlights how the University of Aberdeen is actively collaborating with local SMEs to develop new relationships.
Deloitte’s latest Power Up: UK skills report examines the opportunities for employers, educators and policymakers of recognising transferable skills.
Sir Martin Wood founded Oxford Instruments in 1959 as a spin-out company to manufacture superconducting magnets for research. See what they're working on today.
Thales and University of Bristol enter new phase of strategic engagement.
The Global Careers Series has received overwhelmingly positive feedback, particularly on accessing information on educational exchange and securing employment.
Pearson is working with partners to help drive access, attainment, employability and lifelong learning in Higher Education.
The University of Brighton’s Advanced Engineering Centre (AEC) has an international reputation for producing innovative, future-facing research.
The value of university education is under the spotlight. Closer collaboration is required to ensure our education system delivers for students and business.
In collaboration with the HE Sector, Unite Students is working to help improve student resilience and welfare.
A Collaborative Strategic Partnership between the University of Huddersfield and BorgWarner Turbo Systems Ltd
Working with UCL, Channel 4’s Consumer Insight Team have developed two postgraduate programmes to attract the best graduates.
In collaboration with Strathclyde Business School, Babcock International has launched an MBA for senior leaders.
Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre has advised or represented over 900 clients, working with the local community, businesses and entrepreneurs.
Canterbury Christ Church University’s Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab works with industry and prepares students for careers in the sector.
PepsiCo has successful collaborations with several universities across the UK to source the best talent in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Working with education partners, STV2 will reduce the gap between higher education and industry with an innovative approach to skills development.
A humanoid robot learning about how to play from a young child, has won a top UK science photography award
UK space industry and space science boosted with collaboration between Jisc and Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd to transform connectivity.
Robust, tangible and productive collaborations that are having a direct impact on the way business operates.
Pearson College London partner with leading FTSE100 companies to launch Degree Apprenticeship
A collaboration between Plymouth University and Softbank Robotics Europe’s AI-Lab has led to the establishment of a joint industry-academia doctoral school.
Pearson, in partnership with Nesta and the Oxford Martin School, has released new research with a blueprint for navigating the future world of jobs and skills.
The Business Engagement team has brought the project at the heart of the University of Birmingham’s strategic relationship with Twycross Zoo to life.
The paradigms of what the industry thought it knew has shifted on its axis, creating a world where start-ups have reshaped the marketplace.
Loughborough University has launched a free toolkit to help entrepreneurs understand their customers’ needs – and boost their business success.
Digital and physical environments to be interwoven, with intent-based networking at University of Northampton's new Waterside campus
BISPA, Loughborough University’s dedicated training centre supports innovation in BIM.
Interface Polymers has closed a £2m investment round led by investment group 24Haymarket to advance its unique Polarfin® copolymer additive technology.
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Loughborough University and LGC has enhanced a technology to effectively diagnose and monitor a range of illnesses.
The overall objective of the programme, which is implemented jointly by a number of organisations, is to enhance the capacities of Georgian authorities.
In June 2014, Dr Max Roser made this ground-breaking publication available online, having worked on it since 2011.
This long-standing relationship has not only benefited the NAO, but has indirectly contributed to saving taxpayers’ money.
bildr, a mobile phone app, is a product created by the Frameworks project that helps Oxford graduate students and staff track how their career is developing.
Loughborough University has partnered with DJB Instruments (UK) since 2015, and the successful collaboration has been recognised by an EADT Business Award.
The Oxford-Man Institute, founded in 2007 as an innovative collaboration between the University of Oxford and Man Group, to become part of the Department of Engineering Science focused on machine learning
Deriving insights from huge chunks of data has come on at quite apace in recent years, with projects able to detect everything from oil prices to terrorist threats by wading through big data.