Elise has an interdisciplinary background in international studies and global development. Prior to commencing her PhD at the University of Aberdeen in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie funded POLITICO programme, she studied at the Universities of Sydney, Cape Town, and Copenhagen.

She has fieldwork experience in Tanzania, as well as in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey, which she undertook as part of her master’s thesis on the role of ideology in the Syrian civil war. Specifically, her thesis focused on the education system established as part of the ‘Rojava Revolution’ and the implications this has had for governance of the region. This research will be published in a forthcoming journal article, ‘Rojava’s “war of education”: the role of education in building a revolutionary political community in North and East Syria,’ with co-author Adam Ronan. In her PhD, she is extending this to the education system of Islamic State, and the impact that living under Islamic State control has had on education more broadly. This project is supervised by Professor Pamela Abbott, Dr Rachel Shanks, and Dr Hanifi Bariş.

Parallel to her research, she is involved in activism related to Kurdish issues, minority and refugee rights, and environmental and social justice. She also has experience with various Non-Governmental Organisations. Most recently this includes the Danish Demining Group/Danish Refugee Council, where she supported country programmes and media and communications in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia, and alongside her fieldwork did media work in Erbil (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) and Raqqa (Syria).


· ‘Breaking the international silence on Turkey’s aggression’ (ROAR magazine, 2021)

· ‘Celebrating the Rojava Revolution: A Reading List’ (ROAR magazine, 2021)

· ‘Los mecanismos de invasión y conquista turca del Kurdistán’ (Interviewed by Oriente Medio News, 2021. Republished in English by Peace in Kurdistan, 2021: ‘The Mechanisms of the Turkish Invasion and Conquest of Kurdistan – An Interview with Elise Boyle Espinosa’)

· ‘New education system was central to the Kurds’ Rojava Revolution in northern Syria – now it’s under attack’ (The Conversation, 2019)

· ‘Fighting with pens in Rojava’s “war of education”’ (ROAR magazine, 2019. Republished by Truthout, 2019: ‘Rojava’s revolution begins in the classroom’)


· Presented at ‘Contemporary Childhood Conference: Borders and Boundaries’ held by the University of Strathclyde (September 2021)

· Invited to present on Rojava’s education system at the Democratic Kurdish Community Centre Sydney, held jointly by the Australian Kurdish Federation & Rojava Solidarity Sydney (June 2021)

· Invited to present on Rojava’s education system by the Department of Education at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (April 2021)

· Participated in symposiums on ‘Children on the move: Unsettling narratives of care, childhood, and the migration “crisis”’ facilitated by researchers at University College London (May – June 2020)

· Presented at ‘Faces of War International Conference’ at the London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (March 2020)


· ‘Sustainability: Challenges & Opportunities’ (2021)

Contact: elise.boyleespinosa@abdn.ac.uk

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 754326.