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Contemporary urban music network to launch in March

A new collective, CUMIN (Contemporary Urban Music for Inclusion Network), brings together researchers and a range of organisations (Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation, DJ School UK, Noise Solution, In Place of War and many more), to redress the marginalisation of contemporary urban music and to explore the potential for projects using the genre to have a significant impact significant on educational and social inclusion.

Contemporary urban music (hip-hop, grime, contemporary R&B and more) is arguably the most listened to music in the world (The Independent), with an estimated global audience of 1.5 billion for dance/electronic music (IMS report 2019).

Nonetheless, hip-hop is ‘frequently excluded’ from even popular music education (Journal of Popular Music Education, 2(1/2)), let alone the mainstream music curriculum. In the UK, the current National Curriculum for Music places emphasis on ‘music from great composers and musicians’. Some rock and pop has found a place in schools over recent decades, but contemporary urban music – a far more ethnically/racially diverse collective genre – remains marginalised, not only in schools but also in mainstream culture.

According to Dr Pete Dale, CUMIN Principal Investigator, and Professor Pam Burnard, Co-Investigator, CUMIN will have a role supporting participating organisations to measure the impact of what they do: ‘After all, gaining funding and investment often hinges on the ability to show a measurable impact on society or education, so CUMIN seeks to support participants in generating robust data about that: the long term goal is for more inclusion-boosting projects using Contemporary Urban Music to start up; evidence of positive impact on, say, well-being is something that can really help with that’.

Funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), building the network for CUMIN will involve three workshops in 2022 and a major conference in 2023.

The themes for the workshops are Inclusivity and measurement of impact (Workshop 1, a virtual event hosted by the University of Cambridge, Arts and Creativities Research Group on 25 March), Health and well-being: is hip-hop good for you? (Workshop 2, held in Summer 2022, venue and date TBC) and Formal and informal musical learning with contemporary urban music (Workshop 3, held in Autumn 2022, venue and date TBC).

The conference in 2023 will feature a keynote from world-leading researcher of hip hop Mark Katz (University of North Carolina) and many other key stake-holders, researchers, practitioners, artists and organisations.

How to get involved

  • To contribute to this network by featuring research and/or resources on the CUMIN website, please email cumin.network@gmail.com