Dr Elaine Kelly

Sabbatical Fellow

Home Institution - University of Edinburgh


Sabbatical Fellow, September - November 2021

Elaine Kelly is a senior lecturer in music at the University of Edinburgh and a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow from 2021–24. Her work is concerned primarily with the intersections between music and politics in the German Democratic Republic, and she is currently researching the roles that music played in the global contexts of the state. 

Project: Musical Diplomacy at the Peripheries: East Germany and the Postcolonial World

While at IASH, she will be working on a project funded by the Leverhulme Trust that explores how music was used to foster political relations between periphery states in the global Cold War. The research centres on the GDR and seeks to investigate how the state deployed music to improve its political standing with targeted countries in the postcolonial world. Based on extensive archival research and analytical methods drawn from international relations, postcolonial theory, and transnational history, the project aims to illuminate the mechanics of musical diplomacy at the Cold War peripheries, and to explore the politics of cultural transfer between socialist and postcolonial worlds.