Broadcast: News items

All that glitters: Sussex celebrates disco 40 years on from ‘Le Freak’

Refractions in Biography

The cultures, conflicts and costumes of disco will be up for discussion in a three-day conference at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts later this month, celebrating and exploring disco culture 40 years on from its pre-eminent pop period in the 1970s.

The conference, organised by the School of English and the School of Media, Film and Music at the University of Sussex, and hosted at the Attenborough Centre from 21-23 June, aims to explore the social, political, sexual and musical diversity that disco culture brought to the fore in mainstream society during the 1970s, and its continued effect and resurgence today.

The talks and discussions are free, including a special panel on ground-breaking artist Sylvester, featuring the singer David McAlmont; a queer interpretation of Saturday Night Fever; a study of disco’s influence on hiphop; and a screening of legendary disco documentary (Tell Me Why) The Epistemology of Disco by John Di Stefano.

The conference also features ‘Refractions in Biography’ by Scott Caruth, a disco ball-themed installation and spoken word performance that approaches the ball as a living, breathing, rotating character which has borne witness to changes in queer subcultures across the ages.

Keynote speakers at the event will be Melissa Blanco Borelli of Royal Holloway and Tim Lawrence of the University of East London.

And no disco conference could be complete without an actual disco; with a playlist crowdsourced from conference attendees, this will take place on the evening of Friday 22 June.

To register for the conference, email the team on

See more information on the talks and events taking place.

By: Patrick Reed
Last updated: Friday, 8 June 2018