Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


CANCELLED Josephine Morcashani: Playing with Gender and Race in Music across Europe

21 June 2022, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Joesphine Morcashani

Conversation and short film premiere with Jeff Bowersox and Graham Riach.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Institute of Advanced Studies / UCL European Institute


IAS Forum
Room G17, Ground Floor, South Wing
Gower Street


We are sorry to say this event had to be cancelled for a variety of reasons. We will reschedule it in the next Academic Year. 

Josephine Morcashani (1870-1929) was a Black British music hall star known across Europe as a glamorous cross-dressing diva. Come join the launch of our new short film about how she played with stereotypes and refused to be boxed in.

Morcashani made a long career touring venues across Europe and beyond. Known for her dramatic deep voice, her glamorous outfits, and her humour, her story gives us a fascinating glimpse into how Black women performers could make careers for themselves in the face of racial and gendered stereotypes. Contemporary press reports and images from her own personal photograph collection, generously shared by her family, give us a rich picture of her unique self-styling as an elegant Creole diva or as a comedic cross-dressing trickster who refused to be boxed in.


  • Dr Jeff Bowersox is an Associate Professor of German History at UCL, where he teaches and researches German colonial history, Black European studies, and the history of toys. He is currently working on a book following Black stage entertainers across central Europe before the jazz age.

    Jeff is also the managing editor of blackcentraleurope.com, a web resource offering 1,000 years of Black histories in the German-speaking lands - check it out!

  • Dr Graham Riach is an academic and documentary filmmaker based in Oxford and Brussels. As an academic, he specialises in world literature, with a particular interest in questions of form and aesthetics. As a filmmaker, he specialises in working with academics to tell the story of their research in words, images, and sound.
  • Watch his other music-related films for us:

    Sea Song Writing: On the Palmy Beach - an exploration of music and poetry around Judith Weir's song cycle On the Palmy Beach, bringing together the composer, the three world-class musicians who premiered it, and two UCL literature scholars. Watch it online here

    An Operatic Approach to Life and Death under Putin [TITLE TBC] - this brand new video short will also be premiered as part of this festival. TIMING TBC.

  • Dr Claudia Sternberg (moderator) is one of the Music Futures project leads and has worked with Graham in producing these films. She is Head of Academic Programme at the UCL European Institute and a scholar of European politics and political legitimacy. 


This event is part of the Music Futures FestivalCheck our website for more information.