Evaluating historic graffiti adopting definitions of art

Samantha Forster, Alan Mark Forster

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Many examples of historic graffiti have been shown to be worthy of attention and conservation. The examples discussed in this article have been selected for their previous academic study, enabling rational assessment. This work does not suggest that only those examples of historic graffiti that have been subject to academic investigation can be evaluated and classified. This article, the result of a collaboration between two individuals with complementary interests in building conservation and contextual studies in art and design, brings together formal techniques used in the assessment of cultural significance in traditional architectural conservation and established theories in the evaluation of art. It is the purpose of this work to help those who are attempting to evaluate the merit of graffiti to do so.
    The current Scottish system that assesses cultural significance may be incomplete in its evaluation of graffiti. This necessitates a supplementary investigation of the artistic characteristics and merit of graffiti.
    Almost all graffiti could be said to be 'art', using established definitions, but not 'good' art. This evaluation may only be undertaken by experts, as with other aspects of identification of cultural significance within the built environment.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113–128
    JournalJournal of European Popular Culture
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2012


    • historic
    • graffiti
    • cultural significance
    • art


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