Previously at the ICA - Events

Photo credit: Magda Sayeg

Symposium: Art on the Streets

10 Oct 2016

This symposium explores the diversity of creative responses to our changing urban environment – from street art and graffiti to yarn bombing and urban photography. The speakers will discuss creative connections to, material engagements with, and affective responses to, the urban environment, and the relevance of contemporary urban interventions to a critical understanding of the lived city. The programme brings together leading contemporary researchers, curators, artists and photographers in the field of urban creativity.

Programme notes

  • 13.00 Introductions

    Introduction to the day from Phil Healey and Susan Hansen.

  • 13.10 Session 1: Art on the Streets

    Olly Walker: The Fight for London’s Streets

    Is London is losing its place as the global center of urban/street art? Once seen as the most vibrant and creative city in the world, London is now struggling to find investment in spaces to paint and thus to attract artists and interact with local communities.

    Ulrich Blanché: Street Art vs. Gallery Art and its Viewers

    What happens when street artists exhibit in a gallery? Blanché analyses artistic strategies often used by artists who work in both contexts.

    Magda Sayeg: Working Creatively in Urban Environments: Unpicking Gendered Preconceptions

    The artist will discuss her 10-year body of creative work. She engages in the reappropriation of what are traditionally considered craft, decorative and feminine traditions, placing them in a male-dominated sphere. The artist’s intention is to question the preconceived notions that viewers have about what is street art's role and who does it – revealing the gender polarities within the street art script.

  • 14.40 Coffee Break
  • 15:00 Session 2: Creative Responses to the Urban Environment

    Sabina Andron: Regeneration vs Degeneration: What Happens when Graffiti Takes Over?

    This talk proposes graffiti as a force of urban regeneration in London’s biggest open graffiti area, the Leake Street Tunnel. Using repeated photographic documentation of the area, Andron will illustrate the sociable impact of graffiti writing, in the light of a rise in prominence of figurative muralism.       

    Susan Hansen: Street Art and Graffiti as Aesthetic Protest

    This talk examines the transformation of public space that occurred after Banksy’s Slave Labour was cut from a wall in North London, transported to Miami and listed for auction. The excision of Slave Labour provided a ‘gap in the sensible’ and the conditions of possibility for the emergence of a visual dialogue, which transformed this otherwise apparently unremarkable London side street into an arena for aesthetic protest and critical social commentary.

  • 16:00 Coffee Break
  • 16:20 Session 3: Documenting the Urban

    Phil Healey: Shopocalypse

    In 1968 John Berger wrote “A photograph is effective when the chosen moment which it records contains a quantum of truth.” In the urban documentary photographic work in the Shopocalypse series, Healey has been searching for a truth about the collapse in the numbers of independent shops along the high streets in London. The portraits of buildings in the series tell a story, the images symbolise how important parts of our communities can be swept away by the winds of change if we as a society don’t value them or understand their value to us.

    Panizza Allmark: Seeing the Outside In: Photography, Shopping Malls and Spectacle

    This talk explores Allmark’s urban photographic work, which focuses on the walkways within shopping malls.  These spaces could be described as the new High Street, but undercover and intensified. My photography conveys the spectacle in shopping malls which follows the Surrealist tradition of ‘making familiar the strange and the strange familiar’.

    Paul Halliday: Democracy Wall

    This photographic project focuses on the materialities of urban spaces with images made in various English locations. Halliday’s starting point will be to question how theories of urban change influence the ways in which an artist approaches the subject of locale. His work problematizes ideas of documentary truth, drawing on a critique of objectivity, subjectivity and the autobiographical. Through this project, the artist questions notions of memory, eventfulness and the archive.

  • 17.30 Discussion

Speaker biographies

  • Panizza Allmark

    Panizza Allmark is the Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University, Australia. She has a PhD in Media Studies and is an Associate Professor in Media and Cultural Studies, where she also heads the Media, Culture and Society research group. Alongside this, Panizza is the chief editor of Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, published by Taylor and Francis. She has published in the field of visual culture, photography, gender, identity, transnationalism and urban space. Her photographic fieldwork expands across twenty countries. As an artist, Panizza has had nine solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions.

  • Sabina Andron

    Sabina Andron is a lecturer in Architectural History and a PhD candidate at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Her research focuses on city surface inscriptions such as graffiti and street art, in the context of a semiotics of the built environment. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature (2008) and an MA in Visual Culture (2011), and also works as an arts advisor and facilitator. She runs the London-based arts organisation I Know What I Like, where she organises critical gallery visits and art walks, and curates exhibitions with work by international artists.

  • Ulrich Blanché

    Ulrich Blanché is Assistant Professor in Art History at University of Heidelberg. He has been a Street Art researcher since 2006. In 2011 he completed his PhD in Art History (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg). His dissertation Konsumkunst - Kultur & Kommerz bei Banksy & Damien Hirst (Transcript, 2012) was translated into English as Banksy Urban Art in a Material World [Part 1], Tectum, 2016). Ulrich completed his Masters in Communication in Sydney, Australia (2006) and a MA in Theatre & Media Sciences at University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He wrote his first book about Banksy in 2010 Street Artivist Banksy (Tectum).

  • Paul Halliday

    Paul Halliday is a photographer, urbanist and cultural activist based at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he convenes the MA Photography and Urban Cultures. He has spent 30 years photographing London’s street environments and is a former media adviser to the British Refugee Council. He is the creative director of UrbanPhotoFest and founding member of the Urban Photographers’ Association. After initially training in photojournalism and film-making, he went on to study social anthropology, archaeology and the history of art and architecture.

  • Susan Hansen

    Susan Hansen coordinates the Visual Methods Group at Middlesex University. She has a background in Social Psychology, Communication Studies, and Art History. Her research explores communities' material engagements with, and affective responses to urban environments; the analysis of graffiti as a form of visual dialogue; and the promise of an archaeological approach to understanding street art and graffiti through the longitudinal photo documentation (or repeat photography) of single sites.

  • Phil Healey

    Phil Healey is the Head of Department for Visual Arts in the School of Art and Design at Middlesex University, London. He has won a number of prestigious awards and has worked for a range of design consultants. Phil Healey and Rick Glanvil are credited with creating the term 'Urban Myths'. They wrote the best-selling Urban Myths books (6 titles) and the popular Urban Myths column in the Guardian, which ran for 6 years. Phil's research work is in the field of urban documentary photography. Recent exhibitions include Forgotten Memories of Things That Never Were, The Bigger Picture, Panoptic and Inscope in London and Seeds in Margate. Phil Healey and Camilla Brown curated the Exposure 1 and Exposure 2 symposia at The Photographer’s Gallery and Exposure 3: Human Drama and Documentary at the ICA.

  • Magda Sayeg

    Considered to be the mother of yarn bombing, Magda Sayeg's 10 year body of work includes the widely recognized knitted/crocheted covered bus in Mexico City as well as her first solo exhibit in Rome at La Museo des Esposizione. Her work has evolved to include large-scale installations around the world. She continues to participate in shows at Milan's Triennale, Design Museum Le M.U.R. in Paris, and the National Gallery of Australia, among others. Her installations have also been featured prominently at American monuments to contemporary culture, such as The Standard Hotel, South By Southwest, and the Austin City Limits Festival. Recent projects include an installation for Dover Street Market in NYC covering a column spanning 6 floors and a knitted/crocheted Route Master Double Decker bus in London.

  • OllyStudio

    OllyStudio (Olly Walker) is a London-based curator and art-meets-ideas agency collaborating with galleries and artists on projects to realise commercial enterprise with global brands and agencies. OllyStudio, founded by Olly Walker, has cultivated a reputation for curating strong gallery shows and artistic collaborations for a range of clients, whether on artists’ projects or brand platforms. He has been responsible for the curation of a number of high profile gallery shows in London and Berlin or collaborations with brands such as Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Converse, Orange and artists like JR, Vhils, Sandra Chevrier, Miss Van, Nick Walker, Paul Insect and Ben Turnbull. He has also curated and designed the books The Street Art Stencil Book, Stencil Republic and It’s A Stick Up with publishers Laurence King and continues to devise new concepts for publishing.

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