MTSU co-sponsors conference in England on music ic...

MTSU co-sponsors conference in England on music icon Prince’s work

MANCHESTER, England — Professors from MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment were among featured speakers at a conference of the late singer Prince’s life and legacy held at the University of Salford in England.

Dean Ken Paulson and professor Mike Alleyne from MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry on May 24 joined academic leaders from across the world at the conference, which convened in Manchester less than two days after the terror attack at the Ariana Grande concert.

Ken Paulson, right, dean of MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, interviews Dez Dickerson, who sang backing vocals and played guitar in Prince’s original band, at a conference in Manchester, England, on the legacy of the late rock musician. (Submitted photo)

The event, co-sponsored by MTSU and the University of Salford, paid tribute to the Minneapolis-born funk legend, who died last April. It was thought to be the first-ever conference dedicated solely to Prince and his work.


Academics from New York University, Harvard University, Stanford University and the Smithsonian Institution, as well as from the University of Amsterdam and from Australia, Canada and New Zealand discussed Prince’s impact on popular culture.

The conference came about due to the work of Alleyne and Kirsty Fairclough, senior lecturer from the University of Salford’s School of Arts and Media.

“After Prince’s sudden demise last year, Kirsty and I began discussing ways to recognize his creative and cultural legacies,” said Alleyne, who has written extensively on popular music and acted as consultant to the estate of Marvin Gaye in the “Blurred Lines” copyright infringement case.

Dr. Mike Alleyne, professor, Department of Recording Industry

Dr. Mike Alleyne

“Ultimately, we decided an academic conference would be an ideal vehicle.”

Paulson interviewed from the stage Dez Dickerson, who sang backing vocals and played guitar in Prince’s original band. They discussed Dickerson’s experiences touring and recording with the star.

Dickerson, who performed on tracks such as “1999” and “Little Red Corvette,” also took questions from the audience.

“It was a pleasure to explore Prince’s musical history with Dez Dickerson, a man who was there at the beginning of the artist’s creative ascendance,” Paulson said.

The conference concluded May 26.

MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment embraces an extraordinarily wide range of media. Its students pursue educations in journalism, public relations, broadcasting, film, animation, photography, the music business, audio engineering and songwriting, among other rich and rewarding fields.

— Andrew Oppmann (