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8th September 2013 Shelton New Road to Emma Bridgewater Bridge Ethnography

Today was the second day on the canal path, picking up at Shelton new road on the opposite side of the closed tow path (at the end of day1). Immediately there was a wall of graffiti, these were pieces rather than the tags that have been the norm along the canal. There was lots of new buildings at this point and it is possible that these pieces were put up when the buildings were either being built or were old industrial workshops; this would have afforded the artists some privacy and the ability to spend time painting these big pieces. 

The Canal had pretty much constant graffiti, but mainly in the forms of tags. There were only a few sections that had more intricate pieces. The first of these was in Hanley park. There was quite a few things going on here. It is a place were numerous subcultures gather, they use the space in different way and different times, but yet still signal their presence by different forms of graffiti. The most prominent of these subcultures were found in the toilets. In the ladies was almost conspiracy theory writings about 9/11 and the Iraq war. Next to this was an argument for not accepting the introduction of ID cards. 

The writer of this signals themselves as members of the UK 911 Truth movement, the website directs to here.

It appears as though these may have been written by the same person/ group. However, its interesting to see the responses from others, who rather than ignoring wrote things like ‘Whateva’ and ‘What u been smokin gurl?’

In the men’s toilets, that my partner took a look at, was an entirely different type of writing. Here it was similar to the dogging that we found at the hall of fame, but the use of graffiti was to make arrangements to meet up or try and employ the services of a ‘student rent boy’. 

The location is pretty tucked away from main roads and has lots of places to hide, so it is understandable why this place is such a hub for subcultural and sometimes deviant activity. There was some interaction between subcultures, in that there was graffiti that had been sprayed over with messages to ‘F**k off’ to the taggers that we know belong to the local graffiti scene. 

It appears that the canal and its immediate surroundings are a hub of activity for graffiti artists. These artists are competing for space with other subcultures that stay hidden from society by staying in the margins. As graffiti is such a visible activity, it could bring unwanted attention towards the other subcultures in the same area, hence the hostility. The canal also passed a halls of residence that homes students from both Staffordshire University and Keele University, and runs past Stoke on Trent College.

 References to Jamaican culture
 Acid House Smiley – Rave Culture
some of the larger pieces

So far the canal has produced lots of interesting graffiti and evidence of subcultures. It also correlates with what we have found before, that graffiti is found by methods of transport and educational establishments.

For who..?
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