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Dr Richard Bramwell

Dr Richard Bramwell

Senior Research Associate


Dr Richard Bramwell joined the Institute in 2013. He is currently a Senior Research Associate and the principal investigator on the AHRC funded project Performing hip-hop Englishness: The performance of alternative British identities through rap. This research project focuses on the circulation of rap culture within and beyond social and penal institutions and the impact of rap performances on British identities. Richard is a specialist in the sociology of culture, with a research focus on black British literary and vernacular cultures. Richard's book, UK Hip-Hop, Grime and the City, examines the aesthetic, cultural and commercial practices of working-class youths in London’s rap music scenes.

Subject groups/Research projects

Locating trust in a climate of fear:

Key Publications

UK Hip-Hop, Grime and the City: The Aesthetics and Ethics of London's Rap Scenes (New York and London: Routledge, 2015)

‘Freedom within bars: Maximum security prisoners’ negotiations of identity through rap’ Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power (under review)

‘Council Estate of Mind: The British Rap Tradition and London’s UK Hip-Hop Scene’ in The Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop (Cambridge University Press, 2015) ed. Williams, J. A.

‘Behind the Brixton riots’ Guardian|Society (6th September 2011)

Prisons Research at Cambridge University

The Prisons Research Centre (PRC) was founded in 2000, under the Directorship of Professor Alison Liebling. The Centre has received funding from a wide range of sources, including the Prison Service/NOMS, the Nuffield Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, the ESRC, KPMG, the Home Office and UKDS (now Kalyx).

The Cambridge Institute of Criminology Prisons Research Centre aims to provide a stimulating research environment in which a coherent strategy of high quality research can be pursued, and integration between funded and non-funded, and applied and theoretical projects can be facilitated. We investigate how prisons operate, socially, morally and operationally, how they are experienced, and the relationship between these moral and social qualities, and their effects.

Members of the PRC team carry out, individually and collectively, methodologically rigorous and theoretically relevant field-based studies addressing problems of human and social values, punishment practices, and the organisation and effects of aspects of prison life. We strive to forge links with other prisons researchers, scholars in the broader fields of criminology and sociology, and with practitioners. Our vision is to develop a rigorous and person-centred model of social inquiry.

You can read more about the latest projects in our Annual Reports.