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Melbourne University announces international academic symposium on Taylor Swift

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Melbourne University announces international academic symposium on Taylor Swift
Australia’s highest ranked university, according to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2024, the University of Melbourne will host a three-day international academic symposium on the global pop icon Taylor Swift next February.

Already dubbed the “Swiftposium”, the event is sponsored by the university’s media and communications department and runs from February 11 to 13.

It will cover the impact of the singer-songwriter on the music industry, pop culture and even the economy itself.

The event will be staged in the days leading up to her record-breaking Eras tour stopping in Australia – Swift will play three dates in Melbourne from February 16 to 18, before four dates in Sydney from February 23 to February 26. Her concert could break the 109,500 attendance record at the Melbourne Cricket Ground set last March by UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.

Symposium organiser, Dr Jennifer Beckett, in announcing the event, said Swift had a global impact as evidenced by requests to her from country leaders to bring her tour to their country. One US-based research firm has estimated that Swift’s current tour would generate US$5 billion and if she was a country she would be economically larger than at least 50 countries.

Swift released her first album at age 16. She lost the rights to the master recordings of her first six albums to Scooter Braun when he purchased the record label she was signed to in 2019 and has been lauded for her decision to circumvent the issue by re-recording all her old music in order to own the rights to a produced version of those songs and albulms.  Her millions of fans, nicknamed “Swifties” have reportedly re-purchased the newly recorded old songs as a show of support.

micenet reached out to the event organiser for comment, but had not received a response at the time of publication. 

However it has been reported that the likely themes for the university’s event include the 33 year-old singer’s 21st century economic impact, which has entered the lexicon as “Swiftonomics”. It will also study her marketing strategy, influence on the entertainment industry, gender identity, race and the culture of her fan base.

micenet wanted to ask whether Swift herself might deliver a keynote in person or virtually, how many delegates were expected to participate and from where, whether music might be part of the event and what overarching goals were expected to be achieved.

The symposium is currently calling for papers.

This article was updated on October 4 to reflect that Taylor Swift released her first album at 16, not 17 as previously stated.

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