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Dr. Aileen Dillane

B. Mus., MA. Ph.D.,


Ethnomusicologist, Global Irish musics specialist, and Popular Music scholar with research interests in ethnicity, identity, nationalism and cosmopolitanism in the traditional and popular musics of Ireland, UK, North America, and Australia; Music Festivals and Cultural Diversity; Music and Migration; Urban Soundscapes and Critical Citizenship; Protest music. PhD in Ethnomusicology, University of Chicago. (Fulbright Scholar and Century Fellow). PI on FestiVersities, HERA-funded research project on European Music Festivals (2019-2021). Co-Founder/Co-Director of LimerickSoundscapes; Popular Music & Popular Culture @UL; Power, Discourse and Society @UL. Member of the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies. Course Director, MA Irish Music Studies

Research Interests

FestiVersities: New, 3-year, HERA-funded project with four other European partners exploring European Music Festivals, Public Spaces and Cultural Diversity

Global Irish Musics: Folk and Popular musics, past and present, of Ireland and its diaspora, along with the globalisation of Irish music forms and performers, with a focus on identity, including ethnicity, (white) nationalism, (anti)racism; explorations in the relationship between Irish music studies and Irish studies more broadly, examine multimodalities and materialities. Recent publication: Dillane (2019) 'Crossroads of Art and Design: Musically Curating and Mediating Irish Cultural Artifacts in Chicago', Éire/Ireland Special Edition, ‘Notes/Notaí on Music and Ireland’ (54)1&2: 82-109.

An multidisciplinary, citizen-facilitated, collaborative, sonic and ethnographic-based mapping of the city in interactive, web-based form (Founder, Co-director and Applied Project leader). Forthcoming publication: Dillane & Langlois, 'Sonic Mapping and Critical Citizenship: Reflections on Limerick Soundscapes’ in Transforming Ethnomusicology – Social Activism and Applied Research, ed. B. Diamond and S. El Castelo-Branco. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2019)

Popular Music and Popular Culture Research Cluster @ UL
An interdisciplinary research group working on a variety of popular music and culture projects, including, most recently, the social and political efficacy of protest music. (Co-founder/director). Recent publication: Power, Devereux & Dillane (2018) Heart and Soul: Critical Essays on Joy Division. New York: Rowman and Littlefield International.
Associated book series:

Power, Discourse and Society Research Cluster @UL
An interdisciplinary research cluster in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Limerick. (Co-founder/director).
Recent publication:
Recent Publication Dillane, Power, Devereux and Haynes (2018) Songs of Social Protest: International Perspectives.New York: Rowman and Littlefield International.
Associated book series

Teaching Interests

The modules I coordinate and the lectures I deliver all come out of a deep passion for the various subjects and disciplinary areas with which I am engaged, and from years of critical thinking and performing in my areas of expertise, including ethnomusicology theory and practice; critical Irish music studies; folk, popular and traditional musics of Ireland, UK, North America and Australia; music, affect and cultural intimacy. I aim to deliver engaged, critical and up-to-date lectures that draw on the latest research while acknowledging the particularly contributions given by different thinkers, writers and performers to the materials under scrutiny, over a longer historical trajectory.  I also always strive to take on teaching that informs or ‘pushes’ my research in particular directions. As an ethnomusicologist, academic, and performer, I take a broad view of what is meant by 'performing'. Students on the BA in Irish Music and Dance tend to enter the degree with relatively high levels of skills in their respective performance practices but often will less critically engaged models of learning through reading and writing modalities.  One of the key roles I have identified is in helping to break down perceived barriers between the ‘performative’ and the ‘academic’ and assisting each student in discovering his or her critical voice as a performing thinker and thinking performer.  For this reason, it is imperative for me that I engage with both reading and writing-based modules and practical performance-based models to help demonstrate how one informs the other.  Students are therefore guided to engage more critically with a text (be it a book, a choreography, a tune, etc.) by generating a series of reflective questions to the presentation of student-defined products through enquiry-based and skills-based learning group work. To allow the students to best perform we must be attentive to the learning context and to maximise their access to and understanding of available resources (including the library; online databases; virtual learning environments via Sulis, staff expertise, and music and dance tutor expertise, drawn form the rich hinterland of the University of Limerick). For students outside of the BAIM&D taking a class with me, I endeavour to help students develop a critical framework and vocabulary for talking about music and its place in cultural, political, economic and social life and to take ownership of ideas that directly engage music as process and product. Finally, I am very interested in interdisciplinary approaches to teaching, therefore I welcome invitations to collaborate on modules and have given guest lectures and presentations to students in other subject areas (English Literature, Sociology, Architecture, Medicine, etc).

Professional Activities


  • 2019 - HERA research grant
  • 2018 - Fulbright Alumnus Award
  • 2016 - O'Donnell Fellow in Irish Studies, Newman College, University of Melbourne
  • 2015 - HERA travel award
  • 2002 - Irish American Cultural Institute Scholarship
  • 1998 - Fulbright Scholarship
  • 1998 - Century Fellowship, University of Chicago


  • 2009 University of Chicago - Ph.D.
  • 2000 University of Limerick - Master of Arts
  • 1995 University College Cork - Bachelor of Music


  • 2007 University of Limerick - Lecturer
  • 2004 University College Cork - Music Lecturer
  • 2002 University of Limerick - Acting Course Director, MA in Ethnomusicology


  • 2004 member and former editorial board member, Society for Musicology in Ireland
  • Ordinary Member, American Conference for Irish Studies
  • Founding member, current ordinary member and Depty Editor of associated journal, International Council for Traditional Music Ireland
  • Ordinary Member, International Association for the Study of Popular Music
  • Ordinary Member, International Council for Traditional Music
  • Ordinary member and former co-chair of Celtic Music Special Interest Group (SIG), Society of Ethnomusicology (SEM)


  • French
  • Irish


  • Irish Music Performer


  • LimerickSoundscapes


Book Chapter


Hard Hats and Hoodies: The Songs of Two Working-Class, British Protest Singers
Dillane, A. and Power, M.
The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music and Social Class


‘Sonic Mapping and Critical Citizenship: Reflections on Limerick Soundscapes
Aileen Dillane & Tony Langlois
Transforming Ethnomusicology: Social Activism and Applied Research


‘“Can you show me how not to feel?” Damian Dempsey’s counter hegemonic representations of pre and post Celtic-Tiger Ireland.’
Dillane, A., Power, M., Devereux, E. & Haynes, A
Songs of Social Protest: International Perspectives


Speedway for beginners: Morrissey, martyrdom and ambiguity
Devereux E.;Dillane A.
Morrissey: Fandom, Representations And Identities

Conference Contribution


Sonic Waves: Music and Sound Beyond Borders
Power, M., Devereux, E. and Dillane, A.


Songs of Social Protest
Dillane, Aileen with Power, M., Devereux, E., and Haynes, A.)


9th International Conference Crossroads in Cultural Studies
Devereux, E., Dillane, A. and Power, M.

Conference Publication


Sounding the Feminist
Dillane, Aileen


ICTM Ireland
Dillane, Aileen


Songs of Social Protest
Dillane, Aileen


Traditional Song Symposium
Dillane, Aileen


Edited Book

Other Publication


Fieldwork from Ireland
Dillane, Aileen
Fieldwork from Ireland


Between the Strings
Flood, C and McAuliffe, A, and Dillane, A


Dillane, A, O'Toole, A

Peer Reviewed Journal


Crossroads of Art and Design: Musically Curating and Mediating Irish Cultural Artifacts in Chicago
Dillane, Aileen
Eire/Ireland Journal Of The Irish American Cultural Ins


Transcending the Moment: Ideology and Billy Bragg
Power, Martin and Aileen Dillane
Journal Of Language And Politics DOI:


Irish Music Orientalism
Dillane, A. and Noone, Matthew
New Hibernia Review


'Irish Music, Nostalgia, and Cultural Intimacy'
Aileen Dillane
Bealoideas Special Edition


Performing Identity, Fiddling with (Post)Ethnicity? Liz Carroll’s ‘Lake Effect’
Aileen Dillane
MUSICultures Journal of the Canadian Society for Traditional Music


'Jim Across the Road' (An Ethnographic Vignette)
Dillane, A
New Hibernia Review