Australian University to host Int’l Academic Symposium on impact of Taylor Swift

MELBOURNE-Australia is set to hold a world-first international academic symposium on the impact of Taylor Swift. The “Swiftposium” will explore the megastar’s influence on everything from the music industry to culture and the economy. Organisers of the three-day event hope it will draw researchers from across the Asia-Pacific region. It will be held in February - the same week Swift brings her record-breaking Eras Tour to Australia. Swift, who shot to stardom as a teenager has found herself at the centre of huge cultural moments and debates throughout her career. The 33-year-old has become one of the highest-earning and most-decorated artists of all time, all while igniting conversations about everything from streaming royalties and music ownership to misogyny and cancel culture. Such is the effect of Swift’s current Eras Tour that she has crashed ticketing sites, experts have coined a new “Swiftonomics” trend, and places like Victoria in Australia have rushed through scalping law reform. “She’s quite a phenomenon,” Swiftposium organiser Jennifer Beckett from the University of Melbourne told the BBC. And so, while the idea for the event started with a half-serious tweet earlier this year, it quickly won the backing of seven universities across Australia and New Zealand. “Taylor Swift really does have a very concrete impact globally, across things that affect all of us,” Dr Beckett said, pointing to things like the role of women in industry, entertainment law, and even GDP. “World leaders are begging for her to bring the Eras Tour to their country because of the economic benefits that it brings,” she added. While Swift has been the subject of university courses in the US, this is the first time a global symposium is being held to discuss her influence. Organisers hope the conference will explore themes like the fandom phenomenon, Swift’s team’s “marketing masterclass”, and the singer-songwriter’s impact on discussions of gender, identity, race, and intersectionality. Critical analysis of her brand and influence is also welcome, they say. The speakers will be finalised over the coming months, and plans for a ticketed event for fans to take part in is in the works. But they have saved a Blank Space in the line-up for the superstar herself, if she wants to drop in. “If Taylor Swift wants to come… I think all of us would have to spend some time picking our jaws up from the ground, but that invitation is definitely there,” Dr Beckett said. “TayTay if you want to come, we’d love to have you.”

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