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Taylor Swift on stage performing
Photograph: Paolo Villanueva via Wikimedia Commons

Paging all Swifties: Melbourne is set to host an academic conference dedicated to Taylor Swift

Swiftposium 2024 will provide an opportunity to discuss and debate the global cultural impact of the pop powerhouse

Leah Glynn
Written by
Leah Glynn

Are you ready for it? An international academic symposium – aptly titled ‘Swiftposium’ – will transform the University of Melbourne into an arena of friendship bracelet-wearing experts keen to engage in discussions about Swift’s popularity and her influence on gender, fandom, the economy, the music industry and much more.

The first-ever event of its kind has been organised by scholars from seven universities across Australia and New Zealand and will coincide with the Melbourne leg of Swift’s sold-out Eras Tour, which begins on February 16 at the MCG.

Academics from across Asia-Pacific (particularly postgraduate researchers and early career researchers) are invited to submit proposals for the conference, with traditional and non-traditional approaches encouraged. Suggested themes include “If I was the man, then I’d be the man”, which unpacks Swift in relation to gender and sexuality; “You know I adore you, I’m crazier for you”, which dives into the phenomenon of fandoms; and “I can read you like a magazine” which explores all the literary representations of Swift.

“I think it’s very important to look at how celebrities or artists impact on our lives and the different facets of our life,” said Dr Jennifer Beckett, a senior lecturer in media and communications at the University of Melbourne, and a co-organiser of Swiftposium.

“Taylor Swift has such an outsized impact on elements of everyday life. For example, she’s been credited with drawing attention back to public transport in a post-pandemic era. A lot of the cities she’s going to – the public transport planners have been speaking out about adding extra services.”

Registration for the conference – which will take place both online and in person – opens on November 30. A public event will also take place at Federation Square, with more information to be revealed soon. And who knows, with Tay Tay in town, our wildest dreams may come true, and she could show up – organisers have confirmed they will invite her to attend. Watch this blank space for more info as it comes to light.


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