General info

The symposium is free and open to the general public (admission free).

The street art symposium will be held in person at the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and virtually via stream on the YouTube platform. The stream will integrate, when possible, online and face-to-face platforms.

The participants will have the opportunity to ask questions via chat. The online moderator will collect the questions and forward them to the panel chair.

STREET ART FESTIVAL SYMPOSIUM 2023 Street Art & Sustainability

The symposium 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 symposium 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.

Programme Overview & Paper Abstracts


Peter Bengtsen

Thoughts on Street Art and the Environment

On the basis of the 2018 book Street Art and the Environment, this keynote explores the meaning and potential impact of a number of street artworks that in different ways address and problematise how we relate to environmental issues.

It will be argued that while, for example, information campaigns and documentaries based on research conducted within the natural sciences are useful for transmitting facts about environmental challenges, art can involve an audience more subtly on an emotional level and address attitudes and lifestyles, as well as societal, existential and ethical values. It will further be argued that this is especially true if an artwork is encountered in an unexpected setting like urban public space, where surprising shifts in perspective and meaning may open up a space for reflection.

Peter Bengtsen is an art historian and sociologist. He has been writing about street art and graffiti since 2006. His previous publications include The Street Art World (2014) and Street Art and the Environment (2018). His forthcoming book, Tracks and Traces. Exploring the World of Graffiti Writing through Visual Methods, will be published in the summer of 2023.

PANEL 1: Murals, Street Art & Sustainability

Isabel Carrasco Castro & John Peters

Outreach of Vegan Activism Through Visual Interventions in Public Space. The Case of Mural Painting by Maz and Cambia el statu quo

In the 1970’s animal rights activists started designing visual artifacts for public spaces or counter-advertising campaigns as a complement to their actions. An updated version of that tradition is still visible in our cities through graffiti messages such as “go vegan”, through the proliferation of stickers and posters containing pro-vegan messages by different local and international organizations such as Difusion V, or, more recently, with murals such as the ones furtively painted by Maz (Spain) or Cambia el statu quo (Argentina). The core ethos of veganism relies on intersectional anti-speciesism, therefore sustainability is not always seen as the main pillar. Nevertheless, many of these activist individuals and collectives approach and gain practical insight into the environmental crisis from a vegan perspective. This presentation will analyze some of the mentioned cases and will particularly focus on figurative murals which challenge the problematic representation of animals both in art history and popular culture to bring empathy and compassion, alongside other intertwined social justice issues.

Isabel Carrasco Castro holds a Ph.D. in Aesthetics from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She works as the Program Director of Marist College Madrid and as a professor at Boston University. Her research interests focus on street art, graffiti, and activism. During the term (2022-2024) she is acting as the president of the Spanish Association of Researchers and Diffusors of Graffiti and Street Art (INDAGUE).

Monica Mongelli

Parco dei Murales in Naples: An Urban Creativity Program

INWARD – National Observatory on Urban Creativity, which deals with research and development of Urban Creativity, started the “Parco dei Murales” project in 2015, a program of artistic redevelopment and social regeneration in the Ponticelli district on the eastern outskirts of Naples. Ponticelli is less than ten kilometers from the center of the Neapolitan city, hosts ab     out seventy thousand inhabitants, and together with the districts of Barra and San Giovanni a Teduccio, it forms the sixth municipality of Naples. Ponticelli has been identified as one of the areas of immediate intervention in the Neapolitan territory destined to stem the most urgent housing problems and moreover, it is the demographically youngest area with a high rate of non-completion of the lower secondary school cycle.

The “Parco dei Murales” program, one of the examples of operation and application of the no-profit quadrant of the INWARD urban creativity enhancement national model, is developed within Merola Park, a residential complex built after the 1980 earthquake. The program ended in 2018 and provided for the material implementation of 8 pictorial interventions on the large blind facades of the Park buildings and the immaterial implementation of playful-creative workshops aimed at the young inhabitants of the area. The program was implemented following a model divided into three sectors: art field; social field; empowerment field. Each of them is in turn divided into two elements, sometimes corresponding to actions. The art field includes artists and artworks; the social field, workshops and activities; the empowerment field, media and tour.

The intent of this intervention is to analyze the action-model of the “Parco dei Murales”, to provide a current consideration of the project 5 years after its end, identifying the effects generated and possible future developments.

Monica Mongelli graduated with honors in Management of Cultural Heritage at the University of Federico II of Naples. She collaborates with some cultural associations like AIGU – UNESCO Youth Italian Association. After one year of Civil Service for Arteteca/INWARD as Civil Service Volunteer, she did a post-lauream traineeship in Portugal with AP2/Urban Creativity. Since September 2022 she has worked for INWARD. ;

Paris Xintarianos Tsiropinas & Spyros Bofylatos

A Wall, the Ever-Evolving Relationship between Street Art and Sustainability in Ermoupolis (Greece)

In our research we have looked into street art and sustainability as it has been applied in Ermoupolis, the capital of the Cyclades. Syros, a place that embodies the different eras of cultural development in Greece, but also as an island that is increasingly recognized as a node int the network Greek graffiti, street art, and mural creation practitioners.

Our investigation of an iconic wall across four distinct time periods – from 1970 to 2021 – revealed four distinct expressions, each with its unique content and meaning. From a rallying cry for political change (PASOK SAVE US – slogan) to a rebellious denunciation of the government (ReAct Festival – graffiti & street art), from a vibrant and unrestrained outburst of artistic expression (Ermoupolis street art and mural creation) to a commissioned mural that conforms to a specific brand narrative (Onex-Neorio Competition – murals).

Our analysis of these stages offers a deep insight into the socio-political landscape of each era and how this urban wall, once an immutable structure, evolved to play multiple roles. We argue that such walls have acted as a medium for a diverse range of social and cultural frameworks, each with varying degrees of collective authorship and openness. Furthermore, we question whether such walls can act as a prophetic tool, shaping collective consciousness to either ignite or dampen the flames of change.

In conclusion, our research provides a powerful glimpse into the relationship between street art and sustainability in Ermoupolis, as epitomised by a wall that bears witness to and shapes the cultural and political evolution of the island over the years. Our findings offer an even stronger and more radical understanding of the interplay between art and sustainability, revealing the power of artistic expression to provoke, inspire, and transform society.

Paris Xintarianos Tsiropinas, University of the Aegean, graduated from the department of Products and Systems Design and Engineering of the Aegean University, in Syros. He holds a postgraduate degree in Illustration & Comics from ELISAVA – School of Design and Engineering. Currently, he is a PhD candidate at the DPSD – Aegean University.

Spyros Bofylatos is a Tutor (Research) in the Design Products MA and an executive director of the European Academy of Design. He has worked in various research projects dealing with design as an agent of change. His research sprawls around design for sustainability, craft, material driven design and social innovation. He has more than a decade of experience in design education and creative facilitation having taught in Greece, India, Germany, Portugal and the UK.

Ljiljana Radošević

Graffiti and Street Art Archives Sustainability – Pre And Post Corona Period

Forming and maintaining graffiti and street art archives has most of the time been the endeavor of enthusiasts, whether they be academic researchers or members of graffiti culture. Since the legendary internet site ArtCrimes until present days, a wide range of support was needed in order for the archive like this to survive and offer more than just a photo storage. What does this mean to a small academic archive, strongly rooted in the local scene, that has no external support. In the case of Street Art Belgrade and our project Urban Heritage Hub, the attempt of digital and financial sustainability significantly changed during and after the pandemics. Project based financing is never a good option on its own and it usually needs to be supplemented with self-sustainable income. Therefore Street Art Belgrade opted to move from project based to income based financing pre-Corona and found that professionally guided street art tours could become the majority of its income. This however unexpectedly changed during several years of global suspense due to this unexpected factor and instead of doing more tours we ended up doing virtual reality exhibitions. VR exhibitions seem to be the product most of the local foundations and ministries want to support without really supporting the archive. However, without the continuous research and without the proper archive it is much harder to produce proper VR exhibitions. So, in this presentation we will be dealing with the possibilities of self-sustainability and the obstacles on that way.

Ljiljana Radošević is an art historian who has been researching graffiti and street art since 2000. She is the curator of the first VR exhibition of Belgrade’s graffiti and street art and part of the Street Art Belgrade team that made the project “Art in Passage” dedicated to the blind and visually impaired.

PANEL 2: Sustainable Street Art - Practices & Projects

Paint the Change Europe

Paint the Change (2021) – Documentary Screening

Art can change the world … We have to learn from the artists who were here before us.”

The 18-minute film explores Paint the Change Europe project which brought together young people and street art to explore environmental and social sustainability. During the height of the global Covid pandemic, young people in Athens, Belgrade and London teamed up with street artists, social activists, educators and filmmakers to create huge public street artworks highlighting their hopes and fears about climate change, social inequality and the challenges of migration and diversity. The power of street art to promote social and environmental sustainability, and to create a platform for young people to take action, is a central theme of this film.

We hear from the young people in each country as they produce the murals – possibly the oldest form of art, and one of the most democratic – and participate in youth workshops that develop their capacities to discuss challenging social issues.

The film follows the production of these giant public artworks as they are produced while each city goes in and out of covid lockdowns. The creative journey of producing street art gives young people an artistic and therapeutic outlet during anxious times – while also connecting them to their local environments and communities.


Maziar Bahari, Nebojša Glišić & Anita Hrast

Power to the Youth: Street Art for Climate and Diversity

Presentation of the Paint the Change project, which was produced in Greece, Serbia and the United Kingdom, and now comes to France and Slovenia.

Maziar Bahari is a journalist and founder of Paint the Change. Maziar also created Education Is Not A Crime, Journalism Is Not A Crime and IranWire, has made films about human rights around the world, and was the subject of Jon Stewart’s film Rosewater.  

Nebojša Glišić is a coordinator of the YAFE project at a lead partner the B92 Fund. Since 2013 Nebojša has led there the organization projects that promote youth activism. Experienced activist from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nebojša graduated from the Department of International Relations at Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade. He was involved in the processes of the Balkans reconciliation, peace initiatives, organizations of high school students and students. Before joining the B92 Fund, Nebojša worked for Civil Rights Defenders and Youth Initiative for Human Rights of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the Fund, he works on projects that are focused on youth of primary and high school age, i.e. the projects Re:GenerationBattle for KnowledgePaint the Change and Youth Art for the Earth. 

Anita Hrast is founder of IRDO, a Slovenian social responsibility organisation using research, training, consulting, connecting and promotion, collaborating with experts, foundations, organisations, governments and companies.

Project web page:

The Miha Artnak


The artist who started polluting as a sign of protest has succeeded in encouraging thousands of others to do the same, and so far has no regrets about the consequences of his actions.

The Miha Artnak is a Ljubljana-based artist, activist, and entrepreneur, active since the 2000s. His satirical paintings, environmental installations, and subversive performances make him one of the most talked-about artists of the last decade.

Enrico Bonadio & Siri-Helen Egeland

Street Art, Graffiti and NFTs

There are numerous examples of street and graffiti artists using NFTs to monetize their physical art in the digital sphere. One reason for this might be the potential for a sustainable income and another that this is a a means of preserving the art in a different format. Yet another reason for the attraction between these artforms and NFTs might be that the digital medium combined with the cultural aspects surrounding the NFT scene, such as the sense of community connected to the art and tokens, also allows for street culture to be transferred with the street and graffiti art. One may think that in addition to this, Web3 and NFTs allow for a more democratic and direct link between artists who place their pieces in the street and their audiences. In this talk we will examine these background issues, and analyse the ideas and opinions of a number of street artists, graffiti writers and curators about the tokenisation of street art murals and exploitation via copyright. We will also combine legal analysis with artists’ real-life experiences to discover fresh insights into the complexity of a rapidly evolving market for street art and graffiti. The talk is based on a chapter that is currently being written and will be published as part of a book examining NFTs and copyright from different perspectives.

Enrico Bonadio, Reader at City, University of London. He teaches, lectures and advises in the field of intellectual property (IP) law. His current research focuses on copyright protection of non-conventional forms of creativity, amongst other areas. He has attracted funds from a variety of institutions, and has recently written a monograph, “Copyright in the Street. An Oral History of Creative Processes in Street Art and Graffiti Subcultures” (Cambridge University Press 2023) and edited books such as the “Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti” (Cambridge University Press 2019).

Siri-Helen Egeland, PhD-candidate and assistant professor at The University of Agder, Norway. She teaches business- and IP-law and is working on a PhD with the title: “Issues on Copyright and Moral Rights in the intersections between visual art, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. A comparison between the current legal regulations in the EU, the UK, and the USA”. This project is partly funded by Kunstsilo and Sørlandet Knowledge Foundation (SKF).