Leeds Music lecturer adds soul to Prince's Landmark Conference

Dr Simon Warner from the School of Music gave a lecture on soul music and the civil rights movement at the 10th anniversary conference of the Prince's Teaching Institute in Liverpool on 19 November.

The Prince's Teaching Institute was created in 2002 in a bid by the Prince of Wales to stimulate innovation in the classroom, encourage inspirational teaching and broaden the aims of the standard curriculum.

This year's three-day event, as the institute celebrated its first decade, was attended by a number of notable figures from the worlds of music and art. Musician and TV presenter Jools Holland was one of the guests, while delegates attended a performance by violinist Tasmin Little. Andrea Nixon, executive director of the Tate Liverpool, also addressed the conference.

Simon Warner, who specialises in the field of Popular Music Studies, talked about ways in which political and cultural events could be addressed through developments in that field. His presentation, 'Soul of the Sixties: The soundtrack of Civil Rights', considered how soul music fed into the evolution of a dynamic US social movement, led by key figureheads like Dr Martin Luther King.

Warner comments: 'Although popular music is a relatively new arrival in the academy, the power of pop, rock and other styles to both reflect and shape cultural developments is often evident, and the sounds that accompany a tumultuous era like the 1960s can help to tell its complicated stories of progress and protest.'

The presentation represents just one element that features in the undergraduate course 'The Sixties: Music, Culture, Politics', which has been running in the School of Music for around 15 years.

Warner's new book, Text and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll: The Beats and Rock Culture, has many of the events of the era at its heart. It considers the ways individuals like Bob Dylan and groups such as the Beatles were affected by the radical literature of writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. The study will be published by Bloomsbury in the spring.

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