CIPHER project shortlisted for Times Higher Ed (THE) Award

The CACSSS-based ERC project CIPHER: Hip-Hop Interpellation (PI: Prof J Griffith Rollefson) has been shortlisted for a 2022 Times Higher Education (THE) Award for Research Project of the Year in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

CIPHER is a five-year ERC funded project investigating the international spread of hip hop culture and its attendant musical, lyrical, artistic, and performative forms on six continents. Its community-engaged research addresses the central question: why has this proudly localising and authenticising African American music translated so widely to far-flung communities around the globe? 

The CIPHER team comprises 6 researchers and a research support officer alongside 3 affiliated MSCA fellows exploring hip hop culture and performance in North America, Africa, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Europe. The project has had major international impact and has caught the imagination of the public with 130,000 Twitter views of the news story announcing the project and a television viewership of 143,000 of the RTÉ feature documentary, Change Makers.

THE Awards are prestigious awards attracting over 500 applications from across the UK and Ireland in 20 categories. THE Awards have been announced on an annual basis since 2005, however this is only the second time Irish institutions have been eligible to apply. The CIPHER project is one of three UCC shortlisted awards, the others being the DataPoints Merit Award leadership on sustainability and the Outstanding Support for Students Award for the UCC Bystander Intervention Programme.

Reacting to the welcome news, UCC President Prof. John O’Halloran said:

“I wish to congratulate all those involved in the very worthy projects that have been recognised, and those who worked hard on the submissions that led to these nominations.

“While I am delighted that UCC is the university in Ireland with the joint-most nominations, more importantly we have received recognition across a range of categories that speak to our core values as an institution; sustainability, holistic support for our students, and research excellence.”

Prof Rollefson added:

“On behalf of the CIPHER team, I want to thank the THE Awards Committee for recognising the importance of community-engaged social justice work in the university research ecosystem.  We’re thrilled to have the spotlight focussed on hip hop’s organic intellectual world of art and ideas, especially in these challenging times when young people and marginalized communities are increasingly vulnerable.

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