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Graffiti crews’ potential pedagogical role

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Since the '60s New York style graffiti has gradually become an integral part of the urban visual landscape all over the world. The graffiti scene evolved into an alternative space where writers educate one another. Through their association with other writers, especially through their membership in informal organized groups known as “crews”, adolescents become aware, and thus critical, of their education situation. Although originally organized to support painting and dispense technical skills, over the years crews became complex social and educational arenas. In this article we examine the formation, structure and function of the crews so as to address their educational potentials. We argue that graffiti writers through their participation in crews and active engagement in graffiti practice absorbmany important values to build self-confidence and to success in a mainstream career, since they learn to seek originality, work hard to improve, manage space as well as time, collaborate with each other in a competitive environment, and so on. Perhaps graffiti’s most significant educational contribution is that, unlike most schools or other cultural institutions, encourage writers to think critically and involves them in the construction of alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-340
JournalJournal for Critical Education Policy Studies
Volume10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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