London, United Kingdom

Public Art, Graffiti and the Right to the City

when 26 June 2023 - 14 July 2023
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 7.5 EC
fee GBP 2350

This module is an introduction to creativity and crime in cities, with a focus on graffiti, street art and other types of public surface communications. Throughout the three weeks, the module will introduce concepts and methods that enable us to understand contemporary urban environments, as they are shaped through architecture, creativity and the maintenance of order. We will examine different visual languages from graffiti to public art and hostile architecture, to understand who uses and produces the city, and who urban spaces belong to.

The module will start with an overview of contemporary urban theories and introduce an international history of graffiti and street art, to examine how these practices produce conversations about publicness and privacy, art and crime, transgression and the law. Students will be taken on journeys across the city and will debate the role of graffiti in claiming and shaping public spaces, within a context of a rapidly developing and increasingly exclusionary London.

Course leader


Target group

This is a level one module (equivalent to first year undergraduate). No prior subject knowledge is required to study this module but students are expected to have a keen interest in the subject area.

Course aim

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

Develop a comprehensive understanding of contemporary wall writing phenomena, from graffiti to street art and muralism, and acquire an adequate language to evaluate their social, political and artistic standing
Operate with concepts such as regeneration, order, visibility, creative urbanism, law and spatial ownership, the right to the city and spatial justice
Articulate a critical discourse about neoliberal urbanism and public creativity, which are key frameworks in the development of any spatial practice (suitable for architects, designers, planners, sociologists, geographers, artists, activists, cultural theorists etc)
Form a politicised and radical engagement with issues around contemporary urbanism and urban art, to contribute to the production of more diverse and inclusive cities
Acquire transferable methodological skills around the production and interpretation of space, and familiarise themselves with London as a complex neoliberal urban environment

Credits info

7.5 EC
7.5 ECTS / 4 US / 15 UCL

Fee info

GBP 2350: Students studying for 6 weeks (2 modules) benefit from a built-in tuition fee discount.
GBP : Students are welcome to apply for accommodation at a UCL summer residence.

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