Dr Sudiipta Dowsett
Research Associate

Dr Sudiipta Dowsett

PhD Anthropology, UNSW,  2017

Bachelor Soc Sci Honours (1A), Macquarie University, 2006

Arts,Design & Architecture
School of the Arts & Media

My research focuses on how locality, history, culture, politics and lived experience shape the aesthetics of embodied collective performance practices. More specifically I am interested in how hip-hop functions as a decolonial practice in South Africa and Australia.  My work explores how artists utilise hip-hop to make sense of complex neo-colonial contexts, and to revitalise language and culture, embodying and embedding ancestral art forms within the contemporary global performance culture of hip-hop, remixing, asserting and claiming their place in the world.

I am currently working as a Research Associate on the ARC Linkage project Indigenous Futurity: Milpirri as Experimental Ceremony – a collaborative project between National Institute for Experimental Art, Tracks Dance Company and Lajamanu Warlpiri community. Milpirri Festival features adults Jukurrpa (Dreaming) performances alongside youth hip-hop interpretations of Warlpiri cultural themes.

My PhD entitled Revolutionary but gangsta: hip-hop in Khayelitsha, South Africa (2017) documented the hip-hop scene in the township of Khayelitsha including its histories and intersections with the broader Cape Town hip-hop scenes and the development of Spaza rap - a unique form of hip-hop that emerged from the isiXhosa-speaking townships in the late 1990s. My PhD explores the affective and embodied dimensions of emceeing and developed a unique perspective of emceeing through a sensory ethnographic approach. A key underlying argument of the thesis is that there are deeper political and decolonial aspects of hip hop that can only be understood through an analysis of the productive effects of hip hop as embodied performance practice, that is, the live dynamics of embodied rhythm, sound and movement, in place.




2023 Rebel Sistah Cypher: Hip-hop as embodied practice for social change, Early Career Research small grant scheme, Freilich Project for the Study of Bigotry (ANU).

2021-2023 Lajamanu Women's Ceremony, Indigenous Languages and Arts Program, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications


Podcast: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1886223/11629498-episode-3-on-milpirri-and-digging-up-yams-of-knowledge-with-wanta-steven-jampijinpa-patrick-and-jerry-jangala-patrick