Meet Monique Charles, the scholar who studies Grime music, loves soca music and (wait for it)…. #writes #in #hashtags!

What’s your research about?Mon Stylish Academic 1

My research is on Grime music; tracing the musical influences & traditions that inform its aesthetic, and the social conditions & practices that enabled it to happen in the first place (and then take off). I am also trying to take this a bit further by making a spiritual/emotional connection to how people connect with the sound in live performance settings.

The best thing about being an academic researcher is…

That I get to study something that interests me on my own terms. I can be really creative in the way I am bringing seemingly diverse ideas together – oh and also the possibility of networking with other researchers at conference. I love talking about ideas (especially if they have some type of tangible benefit)!

What books are you reading now?

Reading for leisure is a thing of the past. I am mostly proofing my own work now. Although three books that really opened my mind were Goodman’s (2010) Sonic Warfare, LaBelle’s (2010) Acoustic Territories and Eshun’s (1998) More Brilliant than the Sun – mind blowing!

Mon Stylish Academic 2I am comfortable in…

Flats, I have a thing for gladiator style sandals and boots – I love boots. I wear heels when I have to; at 5ft10 I don’t feel like I need to all the time. Jeans/leggings/trousers… I’m not really a skirt person – casual is definitely me!

Most favourite item in your wardrobe

This continually changes! At the moment it is my tassel bag! But generally speaking, I have a thing for earrings and eyewear!

Favourite fashion brands

I am loyal to what I like the look and feel of (which also agrees with my purse!)– brand names aren’t that important to me.


Antoinette Kwegan & Monique Charles (BDN-UK co-founders) and Prof Patricial Hill-Collins

I shop for my outfits…

Everywhere and anywhere – usually what is most agreeable with my purse (and that I like of course)! This ranges from eBay to department stores, independent shops… although if I do go on holiday I HAVE to buy something – for keepsakes; it brings back fond memories when I wear it.

Style Inspiration…

I take inspiration from all places. Instagram has as much to answer for as people I see in day to day life and celebrities. If it’s a bit quirky I like it.

If you could ask three (academic juggernauts) for dinner, who would they be, and why?

Dead or alive, they would have to be in my or around my field – Prof Tricia Rose, I’ve seen her talk- she is truly amazing to me, there are similarities between her book ‘Black Noise’ and what I am doing. I would love to talk music. I missed the opportunity to talk to her (and selfie) earlier this month. Prof Cornel West, I’ve met him a couple of times and he is very personable, I love his standpoint, his views on social justice and would love to sit down and have a good old natter! Prof Stuart Hall just because – who wouldn’t?!

BDNUK co-founders & Dr Cornel West

BDN-UK co-founders & Prof Cornel West

If your research were a fashion item…

miu miuA pair of quirky sunglasses – maybe of the Miu Miu ilk! Bold, sassy and enhance an outfit – like the cherry on top. And looking through them changes your perspective too! My research is definitely an alternative lens. That’s what I’m aiming for!

What would you spend your last cash on?

Food – not very stylish – but I love to eat!

…Academic events or seminars in the next 6 months?

I just got back from the Black Doctoral Network (BDN) conference in Atlanta earlier this month (October 2015) and I am currently at the Blackness in Britain conference in Birmingham. I am doing a workshop at the University of Sussex in December (2015) on Grime. As co-founder of the Black Doctoral Network – UK Division, I am in the process of planning a meet-up in the first 3 months of 2016, not quite seminars but we will be doing a launch for the CfP as our conference in Atlanta will be 27-29 October 2016. As I am in the last stages of writing up though, my attendance levels at events has decreased rapidly!

Windows or Mac?

Windows, I’m a PC girl – although I wouldn’t mind trying a Mac. I hear they are better.

…Ideal get-away spot from the academic hustleMon Stylish Academic 5

Doctoral study and get-away is definitely an oxymoron for me! All my travel these days is for conferences. Travelling for leisure greatly reduced once my studying started. Somewhere outdoorsy – I need to go to Southern Africa I want to see Mosi-oa-Tunya (Livingstone/Victoria Falls) in Zambia. Oh and I love Washington DC!

Who are you when you are not doing research or teaching?

I am BDNUK co-founder, gym enthusiast, social media junkie, running some errand somewhere for someone, a daydreamer.

People are always surprised that…

I am playful, that I love love love Soca music, that I am introverted and need alone/quiet time – I’m an INFJ (personality) after all! #ThatILoveWritingInHashtags…

If you were not an academic researcher, what would you be?

Hmmm maybe a counsellor, or teacher, I may have pursued singing with more gusto, there was even a time I considered being a weather woman!


You can follow Monique on Twitter & Instagram – @neake81
Also check out Black PhD Network on Twitter & Facebook
Meet the Scholar is a weekly Wednesday feature on Stylish Academic. Who’s next?