An ethnomusicologist and popular music scholar, Simran was awarded the Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship in 2019. Her current research focuses on music and boxing in London. Ethnographic enquiry examines each as interrelated socio-cultural performative practice; aspects include modes of embodiment in musical and sporting life, attendant relationships to neoliberal consumer cultures in the megacity, and music-sport branding in the visual. This project was also awarded the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions Seal of Excellence in 2019 under Horizon 2020, the EU Programme for Research and Innovation.
Simran was awarded her doctorate in 2018, at Royal Holloway, University of London. Supported by the Reid scholarship and the Overseas Research Award, her doctoral research interrogated hip hop in Uganda, critically interrogating self-fashioning through consumption in sites of socio-economic fragility. Combining ethnomusicology with visual and cultural studies, and political economy, methodologies included collaborative processes in the creation of promotional imagery and visual branding. She holds an MA with distinction in Media and International Development from the University in East Anglia, wherein she undertook fieldwork in western Uganda, focusing on conflict and radio reportage.
Simran has served as Staff Writer for the Society for Ethnomusicology, contributing to SEM Student News between 2015-2017. Peer-reviewed publications include the chapter, ‘Hip Hop as Civil Society: Activism and Escapism in Uganda’s Hip-Hop Scene’ in the compendium Songs of Social Protest, published by Rowan and Littlefield in 2018. Forthcoming articles include work on image in Popular Music, and branding in Eastern African Literary and Cultural Studies. She has served as co-editor in the special issue, ‘Global Hip Hop’, published by the Journal of Hip Hop Studies.
An Associate Fellow at Advance HE, Simran has served as Visiting Faculty at both the Departments of Music, and of Politics and International Relations at Royal Holloway, University of London, between 2014 –2018, where she taught courses on ethnomusicology, music and media, world music, political philosophy and international political economy. Between 2018-2019, she served as Lecturer at the University of Southampton, where she designed and developed the course, ‘Global Hip Hop.’ She has worked as music journalist and consultant, most recently contributing to an article on the hip hop concept album for The Economist. Her return to academia followed a seven-year career as Creative Director of Green Goose Design, New Delhi, one of India’s best-known branding design firms in the luxury and lifestyle segment.