Celebrating Please Please Me at 60: An International Beatles Symposium

Saturday, 25 March 2023 Time: 9am

The Music Team members at Liverpool Hope University would be delighted for you to join us for a weekend of scholarly celebrations of the Beatles! This interdisciplinary, international Beatles symposium will be held on 25th – 26th March 2023 at the School of Creative and Performing Arts, located in the heart of Liverpool’s vibrant city centre. This symposium is in honour of the 60th anniversary of the release of Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me. The weekend will feature two full days of presentations of the latest research on the Beatles from panels of international scholars, who will explore the musical, cultural, historical, political, and social contexts of the Beatles’ and solo Beatles’ works.

As part of the symposium, on Saturday afternoon, National Television Award nominated filmmakers Roger Appleton and David Bedford of Brightmoon Media Company, based in Liverpool, will provide a lunchtime presentation on music documentary filmmaking. 

The symposium will feature a keynote address on Saturday evening from Professor Kenneth Womack, one of the world’s leading authorities on the Beatles and their enduring cultural influence. Kenneth Womack is one of the world’s leading authorities on the Beatles and their enduring cultural influence. He is the author of a two-volume biography devoted to famed Beatles producer Sir George Martin, including Maximum Volume (2017) and Sound Pictures (2018). His book, John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life (2020), traces the story of the former Beatle’s comeback after five years of self-imposed retirement. Ken’s Beatles-related books include Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014), Solid State: The Story of Abbey Road and the End of the Beatles (2019), The Beatles in Context (2020), and Fandom and The Beatles: The Act You've Known for All These Years (2021). Ken also has a book coming out in November 2023, Living the Beatles’ Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans, which will be the first full-length biography of Mal Evans, the Beatles’ beloved friend, confidant, and roadie. 

On Sunday afternoon, Brightmoon Media Company will host a lunchtime panel of local Merseyside musicians who were active on Liverpool scene in the 1960s alongside the Beatles. The symposium will conclude with a screening of The City That Rocked The World (Brightmoon Media Company), a 90-minute feature documentary celebrating over fifty years of music made on Merseyside. Including interviews with over forty musicians and live performances recorded especially for the film, the story takes us from the early years of the Cavern when it was a jazz club through the rise of Merseybeat and the Beatles, Erics and the re-emergence in the 1980s of Liverpool as a force in popular music through to the music made in the city in the 21st century.

The following options of possible for attendance of either the full event or parts of it:

  • Full Conference registration fee (2 days, including lunches, gala dinner, keynote and film screening): £130
  • Saturday only (including lunch, gala dinner and keynote): £85
  • Sunday only (including lunch and film screening): £65
  • Concession rate (unwaged/non-Liverpool Hope University student): £50
  • Lunch and Learn Saturday only (Liverpool Documentary Filmmaking with Brightmoon Media): £15
  • Lunch and Learn Sunday only (Merseybeat Musicians Panel sponsored by Brightmoon Media): £15
  • Professor Kenneth Womack Keynote Address only: £20
  • Film screening (Looking for Lennon - Brightmoon Media): £15



Celebrating Please Please Me at 60: An International Beatles Symposium Full Programme

March 25-26, 2023

Hosted by Liverpool Hope University

School of Creative and Performing Arts

As part of the Angel Field Festival


Saturday, March 25

Registration starting at 8:30am in the Great Hall, Cornerstone Building

9-10:30 The Beatles Across the Decades (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 9:00-9:30 Jason McCool (Boston College) “The Things We Play Today: Renewed Nostalgias in Brad Mehldau’s Views of the Beatles”
  • 9:30-10:00 Audun Molde (Kristiania University College & BI Norwegian Business School), “The Second Greatest Comeback of the 1990s”
  • 10:00-10:30 Carlee Migliorisi (Monmouth University), “Beatle-People, An Ever-Growing Fandom”

10:30-10:45 Tea (Great Hall, Cornerstone Building)

10:45-12:15 ‘Paperback Writer’: The Beatles and Literature (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 10:45-11:15 Richard Mills (St. Mary’s University), “Auto-biography, Literary Fan Fiction, Ireland and the Portrayal of John Lennon in Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone (2015)
  • 11:15-11:45 Stephanie Hernandez (University of Liverpool), “‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live’: The Beatles and Book Titles”
  • 11:45-12:15 Saul Leslie (University of Liverpool), “‘Poor old Linda McCartney’: A Woman’s Voice in a Handicapped Bathroom – The Beatles, Women, and Disability in American Literature”

12:15-1:30 Lunch & Learn  (Great Hall, Cornerstone Building): Lunch and presentation on Liverpool Documentary Filmmaking with Roger Appleton & David Bedford of Brightmoon Media

1:45-3:45 The Beatles in the Studio (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 1:45-2:15 Stephen Bruel (University of Lincoln), “Remastering The Beatles Abbey Road”
  • 2:15-2:45 Anthony Meynell (London College of Music/ Univerity of West London), “Re-creation of The Beatles ‘Rain’. Using re-enactment to recapture historical recording practices”
  • 2:45-3:15 Daniel Green & James Rees (Institute of Contemporary Music Performance), “McCartney: The Record Producer & Creative Studio Practitioner”
  • 3:15-3:45 Jan Hemming and Wieland Reissman (Kassel University), “The manuscript of Yesterday’s string arrangement”

3:45-4:00 Tea  (Great Hall, Cornerstone Building)

4:00-6:00pm Please Please Me at 60 (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 4:00-4:30 Matt Austin (Independent Scholar), “Please Please Me: A Comparative Literature Review”
  • 4:30-5:00 Daniel Green (University of York St. John), ““You’ve Got Your First Number 1”: The Please Please Me single and metanarratives of the UK Singles Chart.”
  • 5:00-5:30 Matthew Schneider (High Point University), “Blame it on the Bossa Nova: The Beatles and the Samba Craze”
  • 5:30-6:00 Mark Duffett (University of Chester), ““Hot Water Bottles, Flasks of Tea and Camp Beds”: Beatles Fans in the British Press in 1963”

6:00-7:30 Gala dinner  (Great Hall, Cornerstone Building)

7:30 Keynote Address from Prof. Kenneth Womack (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

Sunday, March 26

9-10:30 The Beatles, Gender, and Sexuality (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 9:00-9:30 Matthew Banister (Waikato Institute of Technology/Te P?kenga), “Sha la la la la: Girl group influence on the Beatles’ early work”
  • 9:30-10:00 Savanna Solian (University of California Santa Cruz), “Women’s Perspectives of Please Please Me
  • 10:00-10:30 Pete Atkinson (University of Central Lancashire), “‘Boys’. Please Please Me: A Foundational British Pop Text Highlighting the Contingency of Binary Gender Identities.”

10:30-10:45 Tea (Great Hall, Cornerstone Building)

10:45-12:15 The Beatles in the 21st Century (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 10:45-11:15 Adam Behr (Newcastle University), “‘Ah, ah, Mr.Wilson, Ah, Ah, Mr.Heath’: The evolution of The Beatles in parliamentary and political discourse”
  • 11:15-11:45 Kathryn B. Cox (Liverpool Hope University), “Mother Nature’s Sons: The Beatles and Ecomusicology”
  • 11:45-12:15 Ken Womack (Monmouth University), Continued discussion of Living the Beatles’ Legend: The Untold Story of Mal Evans

12:15-1:45 Lunch & Learn (Great Hall, Cornerstone Building): Lunch and Merseybeat Musicians Panel with Colin Hanton and Billy Kinsley, sponsored by Brightmoon Media

2:00-3:15 Americans and the Beatles (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 2:00-2:30 Karen Duchaj (Northeastern Illinois University), “Under the Covers in 1963: Patterns in individual Beatles’ vocal representation of American artists”
  • 2:30-3:00 Gabriel Lubell (Indiana University Jacobs School of Music), “Experiencing Early Beatles Albums in America”

3:15-3:30 Tea  (Great Hall, Cornerstone Building)

3:30-5:15pm Reexamining the Beatles (COR114, Cornerstone Building)

  • 3:30-4:00 Matthias Heyman (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel), “I Laugh and Act Like A Clown: Emotional and Language Play in Beatles Lyrics”
  • 4:00-4:30 Axl Raven (LMA Liverpool), “Revolver as the Beatles Paradigm Shift.”
  • 4:30-5:00 Audun Molde (Kristiania University College & BI Norwegian Business School), “The diminished George Harrison”
  • 5:00-5:30 Roger Appleton (Brightmoon Media; Liverpool Hope University) “No Hamburg, No Beatles”

6:00-7:30 Looking for Lennon Film Screening (Capstone Theatre, Capstone Building)


Ticket Details

£15 - £130

Book Now