Dr Claire Kelly


Dr Claire Kelly is the Head of Department for Community Development and Sociology at the Cornerstone Institute. She holds a PhD in Psychology from UCT (which focused on racial identity and post-apartheid activism) and an MPhil in Diversity Studies (which focused on whiteness and masculinity), also from UCT.

Prior to Cornerstone she was based at The Centre for Extra Mural Studies (EMS) where she was the academic manager for the London School of Economics-University of Cape Town July School and co-convener of UCT’s annual Summer School.

She lectured for many years in UCT’s Sociology Department, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, on subjects ranging from development in post-colonial contexts, intercultural communication, race, class and gender and diversity literacy (for which she was course convener). She also developed, managed and lectured on SHAWCO International’s community development and service learning programmes. She is a regular contributor to the MBA at UCT’s Graduate School of Business, in the area of diversity and transformation. She is also a regular contributor to the School for International Training (SIT) in the areas of intercultural communication and research ethics and has supervised numerous student research projects.

She has over ten year’s research experience, having managed international research projects into transformation in South African organisations and racial transformation in small towns. She was also the research manager on a project examining the impact of the eMzantsi Carnival, a community lead carnival fostering social cohesion, in the Southern Peninsula area of Cape Town. She currently sits on their Board.

Prior to all this she served in various volunteer capacities for Ikamva Youth, The Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training and Advocacy (ARESTA) and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).

She was the recipient of an AW Mellon Foundation PhD Fellowship at UCT from 2008 to 2009, as well as a Fulbright Visiting Researcher Award which she completed at the University of California Irvine’s University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) under the supervision of Prof David Goldberg from 2009 to 2010.

She hails from Kwazulu-Natal, is happily married to Vic Cervati, and is mother two beautiful children. She lives in Bellville, Cape Town.