The BFI closed their Marilyn Monroe retrospective with a Study Day on Sat 27th July. Entitled Marilyn Monroe: Understanding a Cultural Phenomenon four academics delivered talks on various aspects of her career. Lucy Bolton asked why Marilyn’s stardom has endured even among people who have never seen any of her films. Sarah Churchwell, author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, tore into the myths that have formed around Marilyn since her death. Laura Adams analysed Marilyn’s acting style and the clips back up her claim she was a much more gifted performer than many care to admit. Lastly Pamela Church-Gibson looked at the role of women in 1950′s society, and the emergence of Marilyn as a style icon during that era. Conspiracy theorists were mercifully given short thrift during the final round-table discussion. It’s also worth noting for an actress who is often dismissed as nothing more than a male fantasy figure the audience was predominantly female.