Conferences · graffiti · Uncategorized

BSA Conference 4-6th April

I am very excited to say I will be presenting at the British Sociological Association conference this year.

I am presenting a co-authored paper with my colleague Charlene Crossley that examines the role of map making in a participatory action research cycle – this examines Charlene’s work with young people and my work with female ex-offenders. Have a read of the abstract below.

‘Are we lost?’ Participatory action research, creative methods and map making with individuals who have experienced disadvantage.

We are currently experiencing a participatory turn in criminological and sociological research. It is widely recognised that traditional methods for engaging ‘hard to reach’ participants, such as disadvantaged children and young people and female (ex)offenders, have limitations. In a bid to address this, researchers are increasingly turning to creative methods within a methodological framework of participatory action research (PAR). PAR centres the participant within the research design, implementation and analysis to ensure that the voices of the most disadvantaged are herd. Creative methods offer a flexible approach that complements the participant focused nature of PAR; particularly, with individuals with communication difficulties, often over-represented in ‘hard to reach’ groups.
Here we discuss two examples of PAR with creative methods; in particular, the researchers utilise map making as a creative method to engage youth from neighbourhoods labelled as gang effected, and with female (ex)offenders. ‘Here.Me.Now’ uses birds eye view street maps to examine aspiration, youth transitions and neighbourhood. ‘Places on Probation’ facilitates participants to draw narrative maps in order to critically assess intersections of ‘community’, criminal justice and desistance. Whilst both projects utilise map making, the way that this method is imagined by the participants is vastly different. This presentation will compare the two projects before commenting upon the usefulness of mapmaking, creative methods and PAR for researching ‘hard to reach’ individuals and communities.

I will also be presenting an overview fo the research I did for my Masters dissertation on the representation of graffiti on social media. I am doing this in a Pecha Kucha style presentation – 20 slides, 20 seconds a slide. I guess I should start practising now! Title and abstract below.

InstaGraff: How the rich kids of Instagram killed the graffiti writer.

Graffiti subculture has developed at a rapid pace since the birth of Hip Hop graffiti during the 1970s, with graffiti now saturating ‘mainstream’ spaces; urban centres, shopping malls, advertising, and art magazines. This study examines the social and technological advances that have prompted graffiti culture to transition from a form of resistance, to a caricature, dislocated from its grass root origins. Recognising the birth of Web 2.0, social media and user created content, as a key cultural development, this paper draws upon three studies of contemporary graffiti: a photo-ethnographic study of Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom, a photo-ethnographic study of Valparaiso, Chile, and images and video taken from social media accounts in an ethnographic study of the internet.
Relating the images to the works of Baudrillard (1970), simulacra and simulation, Goffman (1959) Presentation of self, and Burgess (2007) Vernacular Creativity and New Media. This paper proposes that, within the liminality of cyber/space, the process of vernacular creativity as a mode of self-presentation promotes the replication of existing graffiti images to such an extent, that cyber/space graffiti can be considered a procession of simulacra. Profoundly impacting conceptions of graffiti subculture by flattening graffiti culture in to simulacra, dislocating it from its subcultural deviant origins, including the associated risks, whilst simultaneously offering the subcultural rewards associated with traditional graffiti subculture. Those with economic capital can now bypass the risk, whilst still enjoying the cultural rewards from graffiti writing; claiming an arena previously reserved for lower class urban artists.

If you are interested in finding out more about what a  pecha kucha is, check out If you are also attending or presenting at the BSA Conference 2017 I look forward to seeing you then and learning about your research.

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