Conferences · graffiti

Rethinking Graffiti at Keele Postgraduate Research Forum 14/10/2014

Today I was given the opportunity to do a talk on some of the issues and observations that have arisen since returning from Chile. The talk was facilitated by Keele Postgraduate Research Forum, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to float my ideas among some amazing Keele postgrads and to practise some presenting before I have to present this to a possibly more hostile audience later in the year. The feedback I received was brilliant as it has really helped me thing of some of the more in-depth and intricate issues surrounding graffiti and its place in society today. So thankyou to everyone who attended.

He is my abstract from the talk:

” Between 2013 and the summer of 2014 I completed two different graffiti ethnography projects, one in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and one in Valparaiso, Chile. This work represents early observations and analysis of the data collected, forming a comparative of the two experiences within a criminological framework.

This piece will compare the 1980s New York Hip-Hop inspired graffiti that can be found on the walls of the five towns of Stoke-on-Trent, with the historically and politically important street art found on the streets of Valparaiso. Focusing upon the shared ‘rules’ of the global graffiti culture and how, in both geographical locations, graffiti is moving from an act of deviance and towards being reframed as ‘community’ action.

Graffiti as community action has important implications for criminal justice projects, clients and the graffiti subculture itself. The appropriation of the cultural ‘cool’ associated with the graffiti subculture is identified by criminal justice intervention projects as a tool for engaging with hard to reach clients. I will discuss this approach critically, highlighting issues such as surveillance by intervention, ownership of public space and controlled deviance. I will also compare the practise of graffiti as community action within the context of England’s criminal justice system, and the more fluid and organic community action observed within Chile.”

if you would like more information about Keele Postgraduate research forum please visit their blog here >

I anyone has any comments or observations about todays talk please feel free to comment here or drop me an e-mail on


2 thoughts on “Rethinking Graffiti at Keele Postgraduate Research Forum 14/10/2014

    1. That is really helpful thanks! I haven’t read his work but I will now. From the overview and the observations that are summised there it seems like hes writing about similar phenomena to what I have observed in my own research. I think one of the critical downfalls of academia is how long it takes for research to become published and available. His work started in the 1990’s, a really great time for graffiti research! His book published 5 years ago looking back on that research, alot can happen in 10-15 years. But I think it is underpinning what is occuring now and that is that the young ones in 1990’s are the ‘verteran’ graffiti writers in the streets now. There is a move towards graffiti entrepreneurship, this is the veterans trading their skills for creative careers. graffiti becomes a legitimate career, and this will have implications on graffiti as a ‘subculture’. Thanks for the link up to his work Ill get on having a read! cheers, Nic

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