The R. Serge Denisoff Award for Best Article

Adam Cathcart

The Olympic Games in South Korea have seen an unprecedented influx of performers and politicians from Seoul's reclusive neighbour and rival state.

And, at for least a few days, cultural diplomacy has seemed to outshine the growing confrontation between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

Adam Cathcart, a lecturer in Chinese history, at the University of Leeds, has given interviews to the Washington Post about the North Korean musical performances in Seoul, and maintains a research theme on North Korean music and cultural diplomacy.

Along with his co-author, Pekka Korhonen (Politics, University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Cathcart was just awarded the R. Serge Denisoff Prize by the Popular Music & Society journal, the journal's annual award for the top article published on its pages.

The journal is at the forefront of many debates about the interface between music and politics -- including questions of censorship, with articles about Finnish heavy metal bands, rock music in East Germany, and the Russian protest band "Pussy Riot."

Cathcart and Korhonen's prize-winning article documented a cultural shift in North Korea during the transitional years during which Kim Jong-un was rising in prominence, and looked at changes in musical ensembles in North Korea. The two have also authored articles on the Moranbong Band, Kim Jong-un's emblematic ensemble which has brought a very limited kind of openness (along with images of a few missile launches) to one of the most closed countries in the world.