Fanposium puts the spotlight on Swifties

Fanposium puts the spotlight on Swifties

Last Sunday, RMIT had the pleasure of hosting the Taylor Swift Fanposium at The Capitol, in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Swiftposium.

The free event, organised by RMIT’s Social Change Enabling Impact Platform and RMIT’s newly launched Music Industry Research Collective, was open to everyone – from academics to diehard Swifties who wanted to understand more about Swift's rise.

The fan experience was at the forefront of the Fanposium.

The afternoon featured presentations by avid fans from countries across the globe, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hong Kong, who shared what being a Swiftie means to them.

A standout was Jasmine, an undergraduate student from New Zealand, who spoke about Swift’s storytelling genius, how her songs normalise mental health struggles, and how young people use social media to identify with her lyrics. 

Jasmine presenting at lectern, with Taylor Swift banner behind her Jasmine drew connections between Swift's lyrics and online expressions of identity.

The fan presentations were followed by a special screening of Swift’s documentary, Miss Americana, and a panel discussion including fan studies and music industry experts who analysed Swift's success and legacy.

The panel highlighted how Swift’s stature is in part due to her dedicated and passionate fans, and how we have a plethora of local talent here in Australia that fans should also put their weight behind.

Panel on stage speaking to audience Swift is bigger than the media, concluded the expert panel.

The diversity of attendees, speakers and topics at the Fanposium is a testament to the reach and influence of Swift, and her rare ability to bring people together across geographies and generations.

There was fantastic energy in the room, with people dressed in Taylor-inspired outfits and friendship bracelets in tow – courtesy of a friendship bracelet-making session hosted by UniMelb Swifties’ Society to kick off the Fanposium’s afternoon of activities.

Person making friendship bracelets Fans connected and shared stories while making friendship bracelets.

Beyond showcasing the fan experience, the Fanposium also demonstrated how varied and exciting the world of academia can be – an inspiring message that was particularly important for the young attendees in the crowd. 

“It was incredible to see fans, academics, and experts dissect her impact, and engage in conversations both on and off the stage,” said Kate Pattison, co-organiser of the event and moderator of the panel discussion. 

“I hope this prompts further discussion on how popular culture and artists are worthy of analysis and focus within academic spaces and broader society.” 

Five key takeaways from the Fanposium 

  • Swift’s 18-year career journey and continued success is unheard of in the music industry. 
  • Her rise highlights the power of fans in the online era. 
  • Fans relate to her because she captures emotions that have been typically derided by a society that overlooks women. 
  • She’s eclipsed traditional power centres in the entertainment industry – she can sell out stadiums without doing a single media interview – and has changed the landscape forever. 
  • Taylor Swift isn’t going anywhere! 


Story by: Keely Tzoukos


  • Media & Communication
  • Society
  • DSC
  • Arts and culture

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