CIPHER is a public scholarship project mapping hip-hop knowledge from communities across the world. It is funded by a grant from the EU's European Research Council.
CIPHER: Hip Hop Interpellation is the world’s first global hip hop knowledge mapping project. This major initiative, funded by the European Research Council's Consolidator Grant, is investigating the international spread of hip hop culture and its attendant musical, lyrical, artistic, and performative forms on six continents. Further, it is building new infrastructure, ethnographic and digital methods, and socio-cultural theory for the interdisciplinary field of hip hop studies, attending to the challenges of cultural translation by leveraging hip hop's 'third space' of intercultural dialogue. It addresses the central question: why has this highly localised and authenticising African American music translated so widely to far-flung communities and contexts around the globe? Through this specific question the project attempts to understand the foundational and broadly transferable question: how are globalisation and localisation related? To answer these questions CIPHER posits the Hip Hop Interpellation thesis, that hip hop spreads not as a copy of an African American original, but, through its performance of knowledge, emerges as an always already constituent part of local knowledge and practice.

As evidenced by reaction to our nationally televised feature on RTÉ's Change Makers series, CIPHER has already caught the imagination of the public. That primetime documentary followed CIPHER's community-engaged hip hop performance and knowledge project, 'Ubuntu: Local is Global', in collaboration with local youth arts NGOs, the Kabin Studio and Cork Migrant Centre, to explore the 'glocal' diversity of hip hop knowledge through performance, linking under-resourced youth from Cork’s North Side with migrant youth from Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East. National broadcaster RTÉ documented the discussion and rehearsal sessions and broadcast an edited version of the final live public performance, which included original rapping, spoken word, hip hop music and DJing, visual arts, and hip hop dance that explored the theme of Ubuntu—a Zulu word meaning 'humanity'—or more specifically: 'I am because we are'. The primetime television broadcast (now on YouTube) reached a national audience of 143,000+ and advanced the national conversation on immigration, belonging, and the future of Ireland.
Prof. J. Griffith Rollefson

Future Humanities Institute

Institiúid na nDaonnachtaí Feasta

O’Rahilly Building ORB 2.20.,