top of page
Half Bee3_edited_edited.png

Photography by Lilly Shields

Kirsty Fairclough is a Professor of Screen Studies and Interim Deputy Head at the School of Digital Arts (SODA) - Manchester Metropolitan University, Chair of Manchester Jazz Festival, Manchester's longest running music festival, a member of the Culture Forum North Steering Group, a member of GMCA Music Commission and a published author on popular culture.

Kirsty was born in Bolton in 1975 and lives there today, such is her affinity for the town. She studied BA Hons Media and Performance, University of Salford (1997), MA Screen Studies, University of Manchester (2000), PhD Media and Cultural Studies, University of Salford (2011).

Half Bee2_edited_edited.png
Half Bee3_edited_edited.png
Kirsty Fairclough GM-05_edited.jpg

Professor Kirsty Fairclough

From Kirsty’s academic base at SODA she has practiced her research, teaching and leadership, encompassing screen studies, celebrity studies, the audio visual mediation of popular music and gender representation in popular culture. Kirsty has published widely on popular culture and is the co-editor of Prince and Popular Culture, The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop, The Arena Concert: Music, Media and Mass Entertainment and Music/Video: Forms, Aesthetics, Media. and author of the forthcoming Beyoncé: Celebrity Feminism and Popular Culture.

She is a regular commentator on popular culture featuring on BBC News, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Manchester, and in The Guardian and Creative Review amongst others. Kirsty works closely with a number of cultural organisations in the UK and is the co-curator of Sound and Vision: Pop Stars on Film and the curator of In Her View: Women Documentary Filmmakers film seasons at HOME, Manchester.

Half Bee3_edited_edited.png

The award winning SODA building


 The launch of the 2023 Manchester Jazz Festival - Kirsty & Artistic Director Steve Mead


Kirsty hosting the Noel Gallagher Q&A at Salford Lads Club in 2019 (Image/Salford Now)

Prince 'Purple Reign' conference

In 2018, Kirsty was approached by Steve Mead, CEO of the Manchester Jazz Festival to step in as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. She jumped at the chance and has enthusiastically championed the popular annual event ever since.


Culture is in our psyche and the city never stands still - it’s constantly innovating. And we always find ways to collaborate which makes it such an exciting place to be.

Kirsty's role on the GMCA Music Commission is to support and promote music in Greater Manchester. Mainly through identifying opportunities to develop talent and audiences within the region and also nationally and internationally​.

THE SHOOT: MMU - School of Digital Arts (SODA)

Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) award winning building, opened in 2022

Related links:

Student reflection: Lilly Shields


The shoot with Kirsty Fairclough was another incredible opportunity to practise my photographic skills through the Greater Mancunians project.The photography centred around the School of Digital Arts (SODA) building at MMU.

We started the shoot in the foyer area with Kirsty sat down in an easy chair against an eye-catching wall of lights… these shots worked extremely well. Kirsty’s warm and bubbly personality made directing very easy. We then moved on to shooting inside SODA’s purpose-built cinema where Kirsty sat within the rows of seats. We used our trusty LED wand to add more even lighting in this tricky space. For the final shots, we moved outside to capture Kirsty against the impressive entrance to the building. This required some creative composition to guarantee the correct visual balance between Kirsty, the building and the SODA signage.

Kirsty was very warm and welcoming and a pleasure to work with and I was extremely pleased with my final images. Taking part in the project is such an incredible opportunity for me… and one I am very proud to be a part of.

Kirsty Fairclough GM-21.jpg

Shooting outside the SODA building

Kirsty Fairclough GM-19.jpg

Lilly & Kirsty

bottom of page