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

Her research has thus far taken place in Tanzania, as well as in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, particularly on the role of ideology in the Syrian Civil War. Here she focused on the propagation of ideology through education during the ‘Rojava Revolution’ in northern Syria, and through extensive fieldwork she examined the implications this had for governance. In her PhD project, she will be extending this to the education system of Islamic State, investigating its impact on their governance and influence both during and after their territorial control in Iraq and Syria. This project is supervised by Professor Pamela Abbott, Dr Rachel Shanks, and Dr Hanifi Bariş.

She also has media and communications experience, as well as work experience in various Non-Governmental Organisations in South Africa and Denmark. Most recently this includes the Danish Demining Group / Danish Refugee Council, where she supported country programmes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and media from Raqqa, Syria.


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