Accessibility statement

Alice Masterson



I graduated with distinction from an MA in Music at the University of York in 2018, during which I developed a strong interest in how popular music operates within its social contexts. I am currently completing a PhD co-supervised by the Departments of Music and Sociology, in which I explore the mediation and reception of the posthumous careers and reputations of female musicians who have died from unnatural causes.



My thesis explores the changing reputation and reception of female musicians who have died from drug-related deaths. Female musicians do not receive the same kind of mythologising as their male counterparts, but if we do not mythologise them in this way, then what do we do?

I look at the ways in which musicians who were vilified for their lifestyles in public discourse while living have found public ‘redemption’ through death in terms of the following factors: agency, motherhood, musical legacy, and as victims of the dangers that come with fame.

My research questions can be divided into the following:

  • How are narratives formed around well-known female musicians and addicts?
  • How do these narratives change following the artist’s death?
  • What role does the artist’s music play in the formation and perception of these narratives?
  • How does this reflect attitudes about female performers and female addicts more broadly?



  • Music: Critical Thinking & Listening
  • Music: Researching, Talking and Writing About Music

Contact details

Alice Masterson
PhD Student
Department of Sociology
University of York
Wentworth College
North Yorkshire
YO10 5DD