University of Liverpool to host conference to ‘debate and deconstruct’ Taylor Swift’s work

‘Tay Day’ will be held on June 12th ahead of the Eras Tour in Liverpool

The University of Liverpool is hosting a Taylor Swift focussed debate ahead of her performances for the Eras Tour. Fans, students and lecturers are being invited on campus to discuss the “cultural phenomenon that is Taylor Swift” and host various debates and workshops to commemorate her career, according to the BBC.

Iconically branded as the ‘Tay Day’, the academic event is one of the many events organised in Liverpool ahead of Taylor’s performances across three days in the city, beginning on June 13th.

As the birthplace of The Beatles, The Lightning Seeds and Atomic Kitten, Liverpool is one of the UK’s music capitals, and more importantly, the hosting city for three of Taylor Swift’s shows for her UK and Europe leg of the Eras Tour 2024. With Eurovision 2023 celebrations recently written into the city’s historical musical legacy, it is safe to say that Liverpool will not be shy in going all-out with its preparations for the shows at Liverpool FC’s Anfield Stadium in June.

The city centre will be receiving a Swift makeover in anticipation of Taylor’s arrival, as well as the 150,000 Swifties who will be descending on Merseyside to celebrate the first three English dates of the tour, which was announced in the wake of the 2022 album Midnights. Liverpool City Council has proudly announced that the city will become ‘Taylor Town’ for the week-long period surrounding the live music events, with a trail of 11 art installations directly inspired by each era of the tour being placed in and around the city to entertain fans and locals alike. This range of creative displays, musical events, and artworks will most likely become a part of Liverpool’s Folklore – it’ll be like something from your Wildest Dreams!

So what do we know about the ‘Taylor Town Trail’ so far? It has been said that Liverpool One, Royal Albert Dock, the Metquarter and eight other locations would be decorated to reflect each of Swift’s albums, paying homage to the singer’s country era in the 2000s and re-recorded Taylor’s Version albums such as Red and 1989. Installations curated by the Culture Liverpool team and the creative enterprise Make CIC will include an Evermore-inspired moss-covered grand piano, giant hearts in tribute to the Lover album, links to Red via a specially-constructed ‘red room’ and a Fearless-inspired painted mural which incorporates Swift’s iconic number 13.

Fans from across the world travelling to Liverpool will be able to follow this trail before and after the shows, meaning that all Swifties will have an opportunity to come together and celebrate not only the return of the singer after 6 years away from the UK, but also the long-standing musical history of the city. Kirsten Little, the co-founder of Make CIC – the creative brains behind the trail – said the collaboration was a testament to “vibrant artistic talent”.

“This inclusive and accessible experience invites fans and visitors alike to immerse themselves in the energy of Liverpool’s art scene, uniting Taylor Swift fans, locals and visitors to the city,” she said.

Liverpool Councillor Harry Doyle also said, “If there was ever going to be a city that would go all-out with a welcome for Taylor Swift and the Swifties, it was bound to be Liverpool”.

However, there definitely won’t be a Blank Space in fans’ itineraries after completing the trail; the Metquarter is also hosting a ticketed Swiftie art workshop in the form of Liverpool Loves Taylor (Craft Version) where visitors are invited to make collages, upcycle denim to create showstopping outfits for the three nights at Anfield Stadium, decorate cupcakes, and create Taylor Swift inspired origami pieces which will then form part of another wider installation later on in the week.

Also, previously featured on The Liverpool Tab is the female-led wellness group Girls on The Go, who have organised their own Eras Tour celebrations across the city to create an all-girl community ahead of the upcoming shows. Their ticketed events include an Eras Quiz, a setlist play-through for fans without tickets to experience their own version of Taylor Swift’s concerts, and friendship bracelet-making groups to help fans socialise before heading to Anfield Stadium in June.

An impressive Liverpool Loves Taylor banner has also been installed on the façade of St George’s Hall as an additional welcome to fans as they venture around the city and absorb the atmosphere during the week. And to top it all off, the I Can See You music video was recently shot in Liverpool and features the beloved Cunard Building – just to add to the list of points of interest for visiting Swifties.

Via @liverpoolguild on Instagram

Now, You Need to Calm Down if you think that this is all that Liverpool has to offer when it comes to the megastar that is Taylor Swift. The University of Liverpool themselves are getting involved, with a fully planned-out ‘Tay Day’ on June 12th, “a symposium for fans, students and academics to engage with the cultural phenomenon that is Taylor Swift”. Hosted by the university’s Institute for Popular Music, the full-day event will see scholars and students sharing their love for the singer and academic works that delve into the undeniable social, musical and economic impact of her career and global recognition, and will include workshops and academic conferences discussing her role as a feminist icon, her vinyl records, and place in the LGBTQIA+ community. The organisers of the event, Dr Sam Murray and Dr Amy Skjerseth, are looking forward to the debates and deconstructions of Swift’s work as a musical sensation. “There’ll also be the chance for everyone to take part in interactive discussions including about their favourite Taylor Swift Era, and instead of a keynote speaker we’re closing the conference with critical karaoke” they said.

Via Liverpool Guild of Students on LinkedIn

It’s safe to say that local and travelling Swifties are in for a treat during the upcoming week in June. Preparations across Liverpool are in full swing and will be a spectacle for all music fans no matter your taste – the city is clearly cementing its place as one of the best upcoming locations for hosting huge live music events including Eurovision and Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, and will continue to do so as long as creative minds and cultural organisations are involved. Are you Ready For It?

Featured image via Liverpool Guild of Students on LinkedIn. 

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