Dr Joanne Cusack


Assistant Lecturer

Logic House
(01) 708 4638


Dr Joanne Cusack is an assistant lecturer, researcher, musician, and FairPlé activist. She is a first-class honours graduate of Dundalk Institute of Technology and holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Maynooth University. Joanne began lecturing for the Department as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in September 2017, and two years later was awarded the "Postgraduate Student Teaching Award" from Maynooth University in recognition of excellence in postgraduate student teaching activities. Prior to the commencement of her doctoral research, Joanne was offered three different scholarships including the John Hume scholarship and Graduate Teaching Studentship from Maynooth University, and a doctoral research scholarship from Dundalk Institute of Technology. Her research interests include gender and identity studies, feminist musicology, popular music studies, and Irish traditional music.

Aside from research, Joanne has an active record as a professional Irish traditional musician having performed both nationally and internationally including a tour of North America and performances in Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain and England representing Ireland at International Folk Dance Festivals.

Joanne is also a co-founder of the volunteer feminist grassroots organisation, FairPlé. FairPlé, meaning “fair discussion” was founded to achieve gender balance in the production, performance, promotion, and development of Irish traditional and folk music. As an activist, Joanne has organised and been invited to speak at several events including most notably before the Oireachtas Joint Committee to discuss a safe and respectful working environment for the arts in October 2021. She has also worked on a number of policies and documents pertaining to equity and safety including an anti-harassment policy, bystander guidelines, and a resource and support document for sexual harassment — some of which were created in collaboration with Dublin Rape Crisis Centre and sister organisation, Safe Arts of Ireland. More recently, in May 2023, Joanne acted as a consultant on the development, distribution, and advertisement of Safe To Create’s new “Report + Support” initiative (in connection with the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media). 

Joanne currently coordinates and delivers undergraduate and postgraduate modules on performance, musicology, ethnomusicology, gender and sexuality studies.

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2022 Cusack, Joanne (2022) 'A Woman’s Heart: Women, Feminism, and a Communal Voice'. New Hibernia Review, (26):103-122. [DOI]
2021 Cusack, Joanne (2021) 'Commercialisation, Celtic, and Women in Irish Traditional Music'. Ethnomusicology Ireland, (7). [Link]


Year Publication
2023 Cusack, Joanne (2023) Changes in Society and Scene: An Examination of Women in Irish Traditional Music. Maynooth University: [Thesis]

Encyclopedia Entry

Year Publication
2023 Cusack, Joanne (2023) FairPlé entry. Ed. Vallely, Fintan. The Companion to Irish Traditional Music, Cork University Press: [Encyclopedia Entry]


Year Publication
2019 Cusack, Joanne (2019) Review: Women and Traditional | Folk Music Research Symposium. [Reviews]


Year Publication
2021 Cusack, Joanne (2021) PhD Vignette: Changes in Society and Scene: An Examination of the Role of Women Performers in Commercial Irish traditional music. [Bulletin] [DOI]

Invited Seminars

Year Publication
2021 Cusack, Joanne (2021) Safe and Respectful Working Environment for the Arts. Joint Oireachtas Committee, Dáil Éireann. [Invited Seminars]
2020 Cusack, Joanne (2020) Gender Balance & Fair Practice curated by FairPlé & Mise Fosta. Trad Talk hosted by Trad Ireland. [Invited Seminars]
2019 Cusack, Joanne (2019) Scoring Evidence: an academic response to gender inequality in Irish folk/trad. Women's Work Festival | FairPlé Rising Tides #2 Belfast. [Invited Seminars]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2022 Cusack, Joanne (2022) . Gender and musicianship study days A Woman's Heart: Women, Feminism, and a Communal Voice University of the Arts Helsinki Finland, .
2021 Cusack, Joanne. (2021) BFE/RMA Research Students Conference (Re)shaping image and performance: The impact of commercial Irish dance shows on women musicians University of Cambridge, .
2019 Cusack, Joanne (2019) Women and Traditional | Folk Music Research Symposium Commercialisation and its Impact on Women Musicians in Irish Traditional Music from the 1990s Onwards NUI Galway, .
2018 Cusack, Joanne (2018) SMI Annual Plenary Conference A consideration of postfeminism in Irish traditional music with particular focus on the all-female band, The Bridies CIT Cork School of Music, .
2018 Cusack, Joanne (2018) Rising Tides Chair: Emerging Artists: Shaping The Future & Open Floor Discussion FairPlé, .
2018 Cusack, Joanne (2018) SMI/ICTM-IE Annual Postgraduate Conference A Woman's Heart: Challenging Gender Roles in Irish Traditional Music, and the Diversification of the (Masculine) Button Accordion Maynooth University, .

Policy Contribution

Year Publication
2020 Cusack, Joanne et al. (2020) FairPlé: Anti-harassment Policy. [Policy Contribution] [Link]

Electronic Publication

Year Publication
2022 Cusack, Joanne et al. (2022) Bystander Tips and Advice: Witnessing and Supporting Victims of Harassment. [Electronic Publication] [Link]
2020 Cusack, Joanne et al. (2020) FairPlé: How to Deal with Sexual Harassment. [Electronic Publication] [Link]


Year Publication
2020 Cusack, Joanne (2020) FairPlé develops sexual harassment guidelines in collaboration with RCNI. [Newsletter] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
15/10/2019 Postgraduate Student Teaching Award Maynooth University

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
FairPlé Policy Makers FairPlé is a volunteer, grassroots, feminist organisation set up in January 2018. FairPlé meaning, fair discussion, aims to achieve gender balance in the production, performance, promotion, and development of Irish traditional and folk music. We advocate for equal opportunity and balanced representation for all. [Link]

Teaching Interests

 Gender Studies, Feminist Research, Activism, Ethnomusicology, Musicology, Performance.