Talking Back: Hip Hop through research and practice

Talking Back: Hip Hop through research and practice

Project team

Rosa Cisneros


Coventry University


CU is the lead

  • Adil Khan (DJ KhanFu)
  • Toby and Jo Gorniak from Street Factory
  • Reel Master Productions
  • Marius Mates -Brekdots Company
  • Love Ssega
  • Lyrix Organix
  • Axel Gossiaux - Université de Liège, Faculty of Social Sciences, CEDEM (Belgium)
  • Robin Bodéüs (Belgium)
  • Otis Mensah
  • Dr Alex Mason
  • Dr Monique Charles
  • David Diallo
  • Robert Hylton
  • Frieda Frost

Duration of project

June 2021

Project overview

Hip Hop has become a worldwide cultural phenomenon and has impacted a large international community.

Talking Back: Hip Hop Through Research and Practice is grounded in feminist and critical theorist Bell Hook’s idea of “Talking Back”. This three day event will open up a space to learn more about the five pillars of Hip Hop (Knowledge, style writing/graffiti, b-boying/breaking, Djing, Emceeing) and will allow artists and researchers to sit down and discuss their practice and reflect on their research. The hope is that each session will explore the importance of Hip Hop and its cultural, social, political and economic value in some capacity. Talking Back opens up online dialogical spaces for people to come together, learn, share, question, reflect, dream and gather different perspectives to current research streams in the field.

The event will be of interest to people hoping to engage in culturally relevant discussions and also students and artists looking for networking opportunities, and anyone seeking to learn more about Hip Hop culture.

The three-day event will include conversations with Dr Alex Mason (University of Sheffield), Otis Mensah, Freida Frost, Robert Hylton, Dan (Lyrix Organix), Love SSega (UK), Axel Gossiaux (BE), Marius Mates (RO/UK), Adil “Dj KhanFu” Khan (UK), Robin Bodéüs (BE), David Diallo (FR), Dr Monique Charles, Street Factory, and Jade Ward. Each morning there will be a short sharing of a performance that will kick-off the day. This may include a film or a dance workshop.

Impact statement

The research team envisages the impact of the project could potentially:

  • Explore new research activity working in partnership with artists, particularly to better understand local, regional, national and European challenges and experiences;
  • Facilitate the use of existing research and the exchange of knowledge between artists, universities and cultural sector and institutions;
  • Allow for activity aimed at improving the dialogue between universities and artists to ensure that dialogical working and creative spaces are readily available;
  • Encourage partnerships and collaborations between Hip Hop artists, researchers and community hubs.


Data will be made Open Access and outputs will be:

  1. A scholarly report on the research; 
  2.  A film on hip-hop;
  3. Digital conversations involving artists, researchers and hip-hop hubs;
  4. Online events that are free and open to all
  5. Curated conversations will be made available for the C-DaRE Youtube channel and Soundcloud podcast.
  6. Online performance by hip hop artists

Talking Back logo.


Reelmaster production logo.

Breakdots logo.

Lyrix Organix logo.

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023