Transport operators, police officers, public administrators, artists, cultural practitioners, curators, policy makers, security consultants, as well as those who have been identified as ‘vandals’, attended a one-day conference and workshop that took place at Central Saint Martins on 15 December 2015 in London.
This event addressed the topic of innovative graffiti management in future European cities. It brought together around 50 participants and was organised in the context of the two-year EU-funded Graffolution research project seeking to decrease graffiti vandalism in public areas and transportation networks by focusing on smart awareness and positive prevention solutions for all affected stakeholder groups.
The conference: “The Good, the Bad and the Beautiful”
As part of the conference, the project’s latest findings were presented and, significantly, the evolving Graffolution Platform was shared publicly for the first time.
The participants were able to trial and give feedback on this new online European platform, as well as listen to the keynote addresses from international experts in fields of graffiti and street art management, urban creativity, social and cultural geography, law and spatial justice.
As the worldwide representative of the railway sector in the Graffolution Consortium, the UIC Security Division attended the conference and contributed with feedback and inputs for the Graffolution Platform after its pre-launch. The discussions were very important for the railway sector especially in the context of the deadly incident which occurred earlier in December 2015 in Portugal, when three illegal graffitists aged between 18 – 20 years, were hit and killed by a second train coming in Aguas Santas station.
The workshop: the first Human Graffiti Library event
Additionally, participants were invited to form an integral part of the discussion by offering book titles as part of the first ever Human Graffiti Library. The workshop featured 25 ‘books’ that ‘readers’ took out for 15 minutes at a time, to learn about somebody else’s graffiti perspective, specialisms and experiences, aiming to find new and inclusive ways to promote dialogue and challenge prejudices about graffiti and street art.
Human Libraries have become a worldwide phenomenon since they began in 2000 in Denmark, and many have appeared in the UK, Europe, USA and international context, although this was the first to focus on the theme of graffiti.
Participants engaged enthusiastically and many chose to continue their conversations after the specified reading slots. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Both living books and readers commented on how enjoyable the event was and how it enabled them to access new knowledge.
The event on 15 December 2015 continued the inclusive ambition of Graffolution and brought together a wide range of actors within the topics mentioned above. Through the discussions, participation feedback and interactions, the event explored further issues such as how to be more cost-efficient in responding to graffiti, how to ensure more communities’ views are included, and how to ensure people are safe and secure without creating a ‘fortress’ society.
Future Graffolution dissemination and UIC workshop
The event on 15 December 2015 was followed on 16 December by an internal progress meeting among the Graffolution consortium members. During this meeting the project partners discussed further dissemination opportunities and UIC decided to organise a workshop with railway end-users on 3 February 2016 in Paris at UIC Headquarters (from 9am to 5pm).
During this future UIC workshop, the Graffolution partners will present the most important results from the project, as well as the detailed online Graffolution Platform. This platform includes an Open Information Hub (OIH), a Collaborative Knowledge Base (CKB), a resource pool and a tool box which allows end-users to find the most adapted intervention strategy. The Graffolution consortium members will also use this opportunity to collect feedback and inputs from the workshop participants.
The workshop participation is free of charge and a detailed agenda will soon be available. To register, please email Grigore Havârneanu (firstname.lastname@example.org) and mention your surname, first name, organisation/company, position, email address and phone number.