top of page
Was Raffaella Carrà the Italian Taylor Swift?
Was Raffaella Carrà the Italian Taylor Swift?

Thu, 23 May


Italian Cultural Institute of Sydney

Was Raffaella Carrà the Italian Taylor Swift?

Get your FREE ticket now!

Registration is closed
See other events

Time & Location

23 May 2024, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm AEST

Italian Cultural Institute of Sydney, 4/125 York St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia


About the event

Italian pop sensation Raffaella Carrà, familiarly known as 'Raffa', was an intergenerational and transnational phenomenon, destined to be remembered forever. This event will explore the multifaceted aspects of her legacy.

Raffaella Carrà left an indelible mark on the music and entertainment industry not just in Italy, but around the globe. Unlike Taylor Swift, known for her narrative songwriting that often draws from her personal life, Raffaella carved a niche through her energetic performances, catchy tunes and charismatic presence that transcended language barriers. 

Raffaella's flair for combining pop music with elements of showmanship, dance and television entertainment set her apart in an era when the music industry was evolving rapidly. Her ability to connect with audiences of all ages, coupled with her pioneering efforts in addressing topics like freedom, love and gender equality in her music and shows, cemented her status as a beloved icon. 

While the comparison to Taylor Swift highlights their widespread influence and knack for storytelling, Raffaella's legacy is uniquely her own, characterised by a blend of joy, resilience and a pioneering spirit that continues to inspire artists and fans worldwide. This leads us to ponder whether Italy has once again been a precursor of trends, not solely in its idiosyncratic politics but also in shaping pop-socio-cultural phenomena.

The keynotes for the night will be: 

Bruce Isaacs (Sydney University) will provide insights into Raffaella's relationship with the media, highlighting her as an iconographic expression. 

Vrasida Karalis (Sydney University) will discuss Raffaella's role as an advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, her dissemination of unconventional ideas and her contribution as a multicultural unifier. 

Samantha Mavuli (Macquarie University) will examine Raffaella's influence from a feminist perspective, considering both her personal life and her music. 

Massimiliano Gugole (SBS Radio) will present on Raffaella's musical triumphs and her enduring impact on the industry.

A Q&A session will follow the presentations. Videos, selected and Organised by Giuseppe Musmeci (GIA network), will be interspersed throughout the event and will include English subtitles wherever possible. A social gathering will conclude the night.

This event is in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of Sydney, the Instituto Cervantes in Sydney and GIA Network.

More information about the keynotes:

Bruce Isaac

[Associate Professor, Chair of Discipline: Film Studies]


Pop Superstardom: Raffaella Carra and the Making of Popular Culture

This paper looks at the wildly entertaining, flamboyant, and complex career of Raffaella Carra as a pop icon. The link to Taylor Swift is not only appropriate but provides a lens through which to read Carra’s unique influence on the forging of a radical kind of popular culture through dance, music, industry, and politics.

Biographical details

Bruce is interested in a wide range of film studies-related topics: histories of film (with a focus on Hollywood, though he has abiding interests in various ‘New Waves’ and movements), film aesthetics and style, critical approaches to film production, film and popular culture (including the relationship between film and other pop culture art forms such as television, literature and music). He is currently intrigued by various developments in High Concept Hollywood and its evolution of new aesthetic practices, including digital and 3D cinema. His most recent book is: The Art of Pure Cinema: Hitchcock and His Imitators (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Vrasidas Karalis

[Sir Nicholas Laurantus Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies.]


This paper will discuss RC's role as an advocate for the LGBT community, her dissemination of unconventional ideas, and her contribution as a multicultural unifier.

Biographical details

Over the past two decades, his primary research focus has been on Modern Greek, Byzantine, Cultural Studies, and more recently, New Testament Studies. His involvement with Australian culture is evident in the numerous public lectures he has delivered at Greek-Australian and mainstream Australian events. In recognition of his contributions, he was awarded the Federation Medal by the Federal Government in 2003. His recent publications include "Farewell to Robert" (Blackheath: Brandl & Schlesinger, 2023), "Theo Angelopoulos: Filmmaker and Philosopher" (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022).

Massimiliano Gugole

[Massimiliano Gugole, podcaster, host and producer for the Italian language radio programme at SBS]


If it doesn’t sound too arrogant or Italocentric, I’d say no. Raffaella wasn’t the Italian Taylor Swift. No-one in Italy was ever against her, she wasn’t controversial, as nobody could resist her charm. She could say what she wanted, sing what she wanted, wear what she wanted with a grace that meant glass ceilings and invisible walls were shattered with people hardly noticing how forward her thinking was. In a very politicised TV system, there’s very little that certifies her voting preferences and what there is suggests she wasn’t voting for those in power. And yet there she was, shining in some of the most legendary TV shows ever broadcast. She brought sex in prime time television while being loved by kids and their Catholic parents. “Use a catchy melody and people will sing along”, I can almost hear her say, and the most conservative among us were unknowingly proclaiming free love and celebrating gay flings. I can almost hear her hearty, irresistible laugh. Good luck Taylor Swift, one day you may be remembered as modern-day Raffaella, but you still have a long way to go.

Biographical details

Massimiliano Gugole, podcaster, host and producer for the Italian language radio programme at SBS

Samantha Mavuli

[Samantha Principal Program Manager at the NSW Department of Education]


A pioneer for women in the entertainment realm, Raffaella Carrà continuously challenged conventions and surpassed expectations, blazing a trail for future generations.

Her fearless demeanour and unshakeable confidence served as a beacon of hope and empowerment for women everywhere, urging them to pursue their dreams relentlessly and refuse to be confined by societal norms.

Raffaella’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and perseverance, exemplifying the boundless potential within every individual to shape their destiny and leave a lasting impact on the world.

Biographical details

Samantha holds the position of Principal Program Manager at the NSW Department of Education, where she spearheads innovative programs and change initiatives to support schools throughout NSW.

In addition, she is a member of the Animal Ethics Committee at Macquarie University, where she champions ethical research practices. She also hosts the radio show “Parole in Libertà” on Rete Italia & il Globo TV, featuring weekly discussions with guests from the Italian community on a range of topics

Giuseppe Musmeci

Architect-Project Manager, member of GIA, passionate about film history handles the production of tonight's event videos. His role involves selecting and organizing the video content.


  • Free Standard Ticket

    Sold Out

This event is sold out

Share this event

bottom of page