Evaluating the cultural significance of historic graffiti

Alan Mark Forster, Samantha Forster, John Borland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Graffiti, both ancient and contemporary, could be argued to be significant and therefore worthy of protection. Attaching value is, however, subjective with no specific method being solely utilised for evaluating these items. It is the purpose of this paper to help those who are attempting to evaluate the merit of graffiti to do so, by determining ‘cultural significance’ which is a widely adopted concept for attaching value to the historic built environment. The current Scottish system utilised to assess ‘cultural significance’ is the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) which shares many common features with other determinants of cultural significance in different countries. The SHEP document, as with other systems, could however be criticised for being insufficiently sensitive to enable the evaluation of historic graffiti due, in part, to the subjective nature of determination of aesthetic value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-64
JournalStructural Survey
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2012


  • Conservation
  • Historic buildings
  • Cultural significance
  • Graffiti


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