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Rewriting Graffiti: A Research Network and Debate Series


  • Prof. Iain Borden (Bartlett School of Architecture)

Main Collaborator

  • Prof. Shane Johnson (Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science)

Additional Collaborators

  • Sabina Andron (Bartlett School of Architecture
  • Marcus Willcocks (Graffiti Dialogues Network )
  • Prof Lorraine Gamman (Design Against Crime Research Centre)
  • Adam Thorpe (Design Against Crime Research Centre)
  • Dr Lee Bofkin (Global Street Art)
  • Dr Ger Duijzings (The School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies)
  • Dr Ben Campkin (Bartlett School of Architecture)
  • Dr Rebecca Ross  (Central Saint Martins)

This activity builds on significant existing knowledge bases and networks to further the development of a cross-disciplinary street art and graffiti research network. The project will explore the evolving roles of graffiti and street art in the urban environment through presentations and panel debates. Attempting to reframe deep-rooted preconceptions that have until now limited the progress of policies and practice related to street art and graffiti. 

The project will establish an open and sustainable discussion hub, for the exchange of a broad scope of viewpoints and expert positions on street art and graffiti, and for the evaluation of their impact on the quality of public space and the quality of life for urban communities.

The events will explore economic and cultural assumptions about graffiti. Graffiti is currently estimated to incur over £1 billion in costs to the UK each year, but in certain contexts graffiti and street art can clearly contribute positively to the environment and be valued by citizens in contributing to aesthetic diversity.

This project will address the contradictions between the legal and policy frameworks for graffiti and street art, the resources required to service its criminalisation, and its social acceptance and cultural and economic importance. Many official strategies towards the management of graffiti are based on outdated approaches defined in the USA in the 1970s, where graffiti tags were directly linked to threats of gang conflict

The team behind this project comprises academic research groups and independent organisations with access to extensive online and offline information distribution platforms.