Towards a Hip Hop Pedagogy of Discomfort


  • Darren Chetty UCL Institute of Education
  • Patrick Turner Bath Spa University



critical pedagogy, dialogue, hip hop education, hip hop pedagogy, pedagogy of discomfort


In this article, we offer philosophical reflections on our participation in a hip hop network and seminar series, UK HipHopEd, where British hip hop artists, activists and educators meet to deliberate over the politics of their work. We analyse this dialogic cultural space with reference to Megan Boler’s notion of a “pedagogy of discomfort”. We argue that the productive tension of the seminars owes much to the diversity of the participants. We discuss how these participants, despite a common interest in hip hop, may have to bridge epistemological and ontological divides in order to understand and accept each other. We examine how dialogue can founder on intransigence and dogmatism when discomfort becomes too difficult to tolerate. We conclude that these reflexive encounters can, however, cultivate a willingness to “stay with” discomfort. This, we insist, opens up new educational and activist horizons within and beyond UK HipHopEd, which are alive to transformative encounters.

Author Biographies

Darren Chetty, UCL Institute of Education

Darren Chetty is a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Candidate at UCL Institution of Education, UK. He is the founder and coconvenor of the UK HipHopEd seminar series. He is a former primary school teacher who devised a hip hop education arts project, "Power to the Pupils", that ran for five years in two London primary schools.

Patrick Turner, Bath Spa University

Patrick Turner is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Bath Spa University, UK, whose PhD research examined hip hop activism and educational projects in the UK. He has researched and written on the cultural politics of grassroots hip hop culture, and is the author of the book Hip Hop Versus Rap: The Politics of Droppin' Knowledge (Routledge, 2017).


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How to Cite

Chetty, D., & Turner, P. (2018). Towards a Hip Hop Pedagogy of Discomfort. Journal of World Popular Music, 5(1), 71–87.