Talking about street art….

I’m giving a lunchtime talk in my department next week, called ‘Street Art and the Contestation of Public Space’.

Here’s what it will be about:

“Cities are sites of intense cultural and aesthetic production, engaged in the continual development and refinement of their self-image. This occurs by means of a range of aesthetic practices, such as architectural innovation, statuary, control of signage and advertising, and public art, underpinned by a network of planning regulations, local and municipal laws, and public order law.

For its citizens, a city’s processes of cultural production are sometimes unremarkable or even imperceptible; at other times, however, these processes become contested, subject to planning disputes, legal intervention, and shifts in public opinion. This talk focuses upon the contestation arises in connection with street art and graffiti writing.

The talk will focus upon two examples.

The first is the approach to street art taken by the City of Melbourne. Since 2003, local councils within Victoria have been required by the Department of Justice to develop plans for the regulation of graffiti within their municipalities. The City of Melbourne initially developed a strategic approach to graffiti based on the concept of zones of ‘tolerance’ for graffiti and street art, but then elected instead to pursue a policy of zero tolerance combined with a discretionary permit system.

The second example focuses upon the French street artist JR, who uses street art as a means of engagement with the politics of ethnicity, race and religion and as a platform to draw attention to the impact of war or emergency in ‘post-conflict’ cities and countries.”

If you are in Melbourne and are interested in coming along, here’s a link to the departmental homepage, where you can find details of the talk listed under ‘Events and Seminars’. Clicking on that link will open a downloadable pdf of a poster for the talk, which gives information about the venue and the time.

I’ve done a few talks on street art and graffiti over the last few years in Melbourne – Street Alliance, at Federation Square, or the Cultural Development Network’s forum on Permissible Art at the Famous When Dead Gallery. This one will be a more ‘academic’ one, given the setting, of course. Anyway, if you are interested, you are welcome to come along.

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