/jennifer cearns/


Hailed as a "rare talent" with a "beautifully refined voice" (The Oxford Review), Jennifer Cearns is much in demand as a soprano both in the UK and abroad. Alongside work with many of the world's finest consorts, she can regularly be heard in concert and oratorio work, in radio and television broadcasts, and in recitals of lieder and song across Europe and the USA. 


Her singing career began at the age of 15 upon gaining a place at the Royal Northern College of Music Junior School to study Voice and Piano. Whilst there, she was a principal soloist in the RNCM Junior Opera, with roles including Carmen (Bizet), Dido (Purcell), Sheherezade (Ravel), and Filipyevna (Tchaikovsky). 


Five years followed on a Choral Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford, with whom she went on five international tours, recorded five CDs, appeared as a soloist on a live BBC R3 broadcast, and performed in numerous world premieres, including Gabriel Jackson’s ‘Passion’ with the choir of Trinity Church, Wall St in New York. She also appeared on numerous BBC television programmes, including David Starkey's recent series 'Music and Monarchy'.

Recent performances include Handel’s Messiah in Spain (Instruments of Time and Truth, dir. Edward Higginbottom), Bach’s St John Passion at St John's Smith Square (Polyphony/ OAE, dir. Stephen Layton), Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor at St-Martin-in-the-Fields (Academy of St Martin's, dir. Andrew Earis), Monteverdi's Vespers in Ripon Cathedral, Bach's Mass in B Minor with Oxford Camerata, and Beethoven's Mass in C at St Bride's Church (EC4, dir. Tim Crosley). In 2017 she sang in a production of Vivaldi’s opera Teuzzone in Venice with Grammy-award winning ensemble La Sereníssima (dir. Adrian Chandler). 


Other recent highlights include tours of Italy, Norway and Switzerland with Tenebrae, Polyphony, and the London Philharmonia respectively, and a tour of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater in the U.S.A. She recently featured as a soloist on a BBC R4 broadcast by St Martin's Voices (St Martin-in-the-Fields).


She also works with Seraphic Fire (U.S.A), St Martin's Voices, Ex Cathedra, Musica Ficta (Denmark), Chappelle du Roi, Oxford Consort of Voices,  Philharmonia Voices, and EXAUDI, amongst others, and sings regularly with St Paul's Cathedral Consort. 




My research so far has all been in Latin America (Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, Panamá, Mexico, and the Cuban diaspora in the U.S.A.). My work has typically followed material/ digital things to look at how they're appropriated in different contexts to express elements of social identity (like gender, class, race, and nationality). 

My current work is about the flows of material (and digital) things back and forth between Havana in Cuba and the diaspora in Miami. I explore how the movements of things conveys relationships of kinship, identity, gender, and class (amongst other things) back and forth across a highly reified geopolitical border, and between capitalism and socialism. As part of this, I followed smugglers (mulas) and specific items and traced their trajectories between families, communities and nations across porous but patrolled borders to try to understand how people in contexts of exile and separation continue to 'construct' themselves and their life stories from afar, through material things. 

I completed my PhD at University College London in March 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Daniel Miller and Dr Mette Berg, alongside teaching undergraduate modules in material, visual and digital culture. In 2017-2018 I was Visiting Scholar at the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University, and I was previously a Stipendiary Lecturer in Portuguese at the University of Oxford. 


Student Fellowship

Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland


Emslie Horniman Prize

Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain & Ireland


Roseberry Nash Prize

Society for Latin American & Caribbean Anthropology


Economic & Social Research Council

PhD Grant


Open City Documentary Festival

Finalist: Border Crossings Award


Santander Academic Prize

University of Oxford




Book Chapters


  • 2019: Packaging Cuban Media: communities of digital sharing in Cuba and its diaspora, Journal of Cuban Studies, 47(1)

  • 2019: Connecting (to) Cuba: Transnational Digital Flows between Havana and the Cuban Diaspora, Journal of Cuban Studies, 47(1)

  • 2019: “The Mula Ring’: Networks of Material Circulation and Exchange through the Cuban World’. Journal for Latin American & Caribbean Anthropology.

  • 2019: ‘Le circuit de Mula: réseaux de circulation matérielle et d'échange à travers le monde cubain’, Problème d'Amérique Latine.

  • 2014: The Ventriloquist Behind the Shattered Mirror: A Study of Pessoa’s Bilingual Oeuvre’, Pessoa Plural, Brown University, Issue 6

  • 2018: 'Competitive Hardship: ethnographic guilt and early-career pressure to conduct ‘authentic’ fieldwork', The New Ethnographer

  • 2014: After the World Cup: a photo essay’, OpenDemocracy, 19 September 2014

  • 2020: “A Una Cuba Alternativa’: Digital Millennials, Social Influencing and Cuentapropismo in Havana’, in Cuba 2.0: How the Digital Revolution is Remaking the Cuban Revolution (University of Florida Press), ed. Ted A. Henken & Sara García



/Latin america/


/north america/