Call for Papers: Street Art and Sustainability

Street Art Conference at Ljubljana Street Art Festival, 31 May – 1 June 2023 (postponed to 29. June!) , Ljubljana, Slovenia

New deadline for submissions: 31 May 2023

The conference Street Art and Sustainability will explore the role of street art in addressing one of the most pressing issues of our time: climate change. In age of the Anthropocene, where we face accelerated environmental change and overheating (Eriksen 2016), the question is how, if at all, can street art in (non-)urban environments contribute to various forms of sustainability. How can street art deal with the capitalist “slow violence” (Nixon 2011) that manifests itself as an increasing consequence of climate change, planetary pollution and ecosystem destruction?

Historically, graffiti and street art have long been a constitutive element of heterogeneous activist expressions in public space, including in environmental movements. The emergence of street art in the last twenty years has not only transformed the urbanscape, but also created a space for new encounters between artistic and socially engaged actors addressing the social, political, economic and, ultimately, ecological crises.

The conference will seek to illuminate the concept of sustainability beyond naturalistic narratives, focusing on how social, cultural, economic and environmental sustainability stimulate intersections between researchers, consumers, designers and supporters of street art, while also exploring the practices, means and forms through which street artists tackle, challenge and articulate sustainability and its relationships with, and effects on, societies and communities. We consider social sustainability as actions to reduce social inequalities and expand access to basic rights and services, cultural sustainability as artistic and creative practices and processes to preserve cultural beliefs and heritage, and environmental sustainability as measures to conserve natural resources and protect ecosystems.

We encourage interdisciplinary approaches and welcome papers that draw on theories and methods from the humanities, social sciences, and beyond. In addition to traditional academic papers, we also welcome innovative forms of presentation, such as multimedia presentations, panel discussions,  roundtable discussions, creative responses, artists’ practice-based research, and visual essays.

Deadline for abstract submissions28 April 2023 (new deadline: 31 May 2023)

Please send your abstract to with the subject ‘SAC 2023’ followed by your name. We will endeavour to review submissions and communicate decisions by 2 June 2023. The abstract (max. 300 words) should summarise the following: main idea/ argument, conceptual framework, significance, and five keywords.

Format: We encourage a variety of submissions (with a maximum length of 10-20 minutes in delivery), including research papers, polemical essays, performances, case studies, multimedia presentations, and online or in-room exhibitions of creative work. Papers accepted for Street Art Conference 2023 will be considered for publishing in the international journal SAUC – Street Art and Urban Creativity.

Venue: In-person at the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and virtually via stream on the Zoom platform. The online stream will integrate, when possible, online and face-to-face platforms.

About the Ljubljana Street Art Festival: Ljubljana Street Art Festival is the first international contemporary street art festival in Slovenia. Born from a passion for street art, graffiti, urban art, and art interventions in public spaces, Ljubljana Street Art Festival brings together international and local artists and scholars. It invites visitors to read the streets, participate in activities as well as it showcases young, emerging generations of street artists to ensure a bright future for one of the most important art movements of the 21st century. The organiser of the Ljubljana Street Art Festival is INURB, Institute for Urban Questions (Inštitut za urbana vprašanja). The co-producer of the festival is Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture.

About the event: The Street Art Conference is dedicated to reflecting on the theory and practice of street art and graffiti. It connects researchers from the fields of cultural anthropology, cultural history, architecture, urbanism, cultural studies, and various post-humanist philosophies with creators of street art through lectures, artistic presentations, and other forms of interaction. Due to its conceptual dimension, empirical richness, and creative diversity, this inter- and transdisciplinary format represents a unique internationalization of both science and art. At the same time, it serves as a starting point for building productive interactions between local academic scholars of street art and practitioners in the public space.


Organisers: Institute for Urban Questions & Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture.

Mural by Anna Ehrlemark "Wild Things", for LJSAF 2020 (photo: Nejc Ketiš)


Nixon, Rob. 2011. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, Massachusetts, and London: Harvard University Press

Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. 2016. Overheating: An Anthropology of Accelerated Change. London: Pluto Press.