Richard's research interests are primarily focused around the areas of black British vernacular and popular cultures. He was awarded his PhD in Sociology by the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to joining Loughborough, Richard was a Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, where he conducted research on the experiences of black men in English high security prisons. His book, UK Hip-Hop, Grime and the City, examines the aesthetic, cultural and commercial practices of black and white, working-class youths in London. Through a combination of ethnography and close textual analysis, this interdisciplinary study considers how young men and women use rap to accommodate themselves to their conditions of urban dwelling and investigates how they contest their marginalisation through their collaborative cultural work.
Richard has written for The Guardian newspaper and contributed to programmes for BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 1Xtra.
Over the last 40 years, rap has become a mainstream pop culture in the UK and a multibillion dollar, worldwide industry. Richard's current research, on the performance of alternative identities through rap, examines the role that hip hop and grime play in a variety of institutional contexts. These include prisons, youth centres, and an arts charity. He is interested in the impact that rap has had on organisations wholly or partially funded by local or national government, the role that the state plays in fostering Britain's rap cultures through these organisations, and how young people perform their identities and represent their communities through rap.
Richard convenes courses at Masters level on ‘Media and Cultural Work’ and at undergraduate level on ‘Media, Culture and Crime’.
- Bramwell, R. and Butterworth, J. (forthcoming) ‘Beyond the street: the institutional life of rap’ Popular Music
- Bramwell, R. and Butterworth, J. (2019) ‘“I feel English as fuck”: translocality and the performance of alternative identities through rap’ Ethnic and Racial Studies
- Bramwell, R. (2018) ‘Freedom within bars: maximum security prisoners’ negotiations of identity through rap’ Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power
- Bramwell, R. (2015) UK hip-hop, grime and the city: the aesthetics and ethics of London's rap scenes New York and London: Routledge
- Bramwell, R. (2015) ‘Council estate of mind: the British rap tradition and London’s UK hip-hop scene’ in Williams, J. A. The Cambridge Companion to Hip-Hop Cambridge University Press
- ‘Behind the Brixton riots’ Guardian|Society (6th September 2011)