Buildings across Greater Manchester will be lit up in the late icon’s signature colour as the University of Salford hosts Purple Reign: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Life and Legacy of Prince in May.

Hosted by The School of Arts and Media, University of Salford, UK and the Department of Recording Industry, Middle Tennessee State University, the two-day international conference will take place 24th-26th May 2017.

The conference aims to 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. It seeks to address the issue of Prince’s significant influence and lasting appeal from a number of multi-disciplinary perspectives. Proposals have been accepted 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.

Taking place at the university’s MediaCityUK campus and the Lowry arts centre at Salford Quays, the event will feature a keynote address from Dez Dickerson, who played guitar and sang backing vocals in The Revolution, including on hit songs 1999 and Little Red Corvette.

He will be sharing his stories of touring and recording with the star, as well as answering fans’ questions during a public event on May 24, at Peel Hall, which will be lit up in purple along with the MediaCityUK campus and Salford City Council’s Swinton Civic Centre.

The conference 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 cultures, design and fashion.

The keynote address will be delivered by Dez Dickerson, Prince’s guitarist from The Revolution, and Dr Sarah Niblock, co-author of Prince: the Making of a Pop Music Phenomenon. The celebrations will also spill over into Manchester, where First Street arts centre and cinema HOME will be showing 1986 musical drama Under the Cherry Moon, which Prince directed and starred in alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Steven Berkoff.

Dr Kirsty Fairclough, a senior lecturer at Salford’s school of arts and media, said: “Prince’s death was one of 2016’s saddest losses, but this event will give us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate his life and to examine the remarkable impact he had as a musician, a songwriter and a style icon who changed our ideas of celebrity forever.

“Prince touched the lives of thousands of people and so we want this to be much more than simply an academic conference. As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, this will be a truly landmark event which will be for everyone, welcoming Dez Dickerson to Salford to offer fans a unique insight into this most enigmatic star, lighting buildings across the city purple and arranging a series of public events to involve the local community.”

Students from Salford university’s music programmes will be performing Prince songs at a closing party for conference delegates, and the council will also be working with the university to engage local communities, schools and colleges to encourage performances, workshops and arts projects in celebration of the star’s life.

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “Salford has a reputation as creative and innovative – just like Prince – and music and the arts have always played a major role in its life. It’s a fantastic opportunity to honour one of the best-selling artists of all time and show young people across Greater Manchester that following your dream can lead to incredible success.”

More details can be found at