QUB Irish Studies will present an online seminar from Noel McLaughlin and Joanna Braniff entitled The Politician and the showman: history, politics and popular music in 1960s Northern Ireland on February 22.
The free seminar will examine the key topics in the book they have collaborated on, How Belfast Got The Blues: A Cultural History of Popular Music in the 1960s.

Their book unearths Belfast’s largely overlooked and significant role in the broader relationship between popular music and politics in the ‘most mythologised of decades’.

In a forensic cultural history explored through popular music, the authors uncover events that have been hidden from history, with Belfast emerging as far more than another ‘provincial’ city looking on at the momentous events in the decade from the margins.

Northern Ireland’s capital comes into focus as a globally connected city, with a greater influence on the broader 60s narrative of pop and politics than has been previously acknowledged.

Dr Noel McLaughlin is a popular music historian and senior lecturer in the Department of Arts at Northumbria Unversity in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. His previous publications include, with Martin Noone, Rock and Popular Music in Ireland: Before and After U2 (Irish Academic Press, 2012).

Joanna Braniff is an independent scholar based in Belfast, who works as a freelance author, journalist and media consultant specialising in arts and culture.


They are joint authors of How Belfast Got the Blues: A Cultural History of Popular Music in the 1960s, published in December 2020 by Intellect Books in the UK and the University of Chicago Press in the US.

This seminar, which runs from 4-6:30pm, is free and open to all. It will be delivered online via Microsoft Teams. Please register before 11am on Monday 22 February and we will send you a link to participate.

For more information visit: https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/IrishStudiesGateway/