Call for Papers

FORMA(T): Documenting, Collecting and Archiving Street Art in Theory and Practice

Street Art Conference at Ljubljana Street Art Festival, 29 June – 1 July 2021, Ljubljana, Slovenia


KEYNOTE: Peter Bengtsen, Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Studies, Lund University, Sweden

Dr. Peter Bengtsen is an art historian and sociologist. He has written extensively on the subject of street art and graffiti. He is the author of The Street Art World (2014) and Street Art and the Environment (2018). As of 2018, he is the coordinator of the interdisciplinary research network Urban Creativity Lund.

Call outline: Street art as a global phenomenon has gained enormous attention in the last two decades in all areas of culture, such as mass media, popular culture, art markets, cultural institutions, urban policies and creative industries. In everyday life, we likewise find ourselves enmeshed by the street art aesthetic in various formats and forms, including newspaper articles, social media photos, music videos, themed tours, public murals, temporary installations, artworks in galleries, and commodities. On the other hand, the question of context is at the heart of these presentations, representations and materializations of street art. Is street art that is “taken” from the street – symbolically and materially – to be documented, displayed, preserved and archived, still street art? What happens, then, when street art is relocated to new cultural, social, economic fields, and what forces drive the transition from public space to a controlled, digitalized or private environment? How does street art lose its hapticity in such a translation and transition to new spheres, and thus its ephemerality as a raison d’être of this kind of creativity? How do the non-institutional forms of documenting and publishing street art transform with the use of digital technologies, the revival of retro culture, DIY practices (zines, self-publishing), etc.?

While there is growing general interest and demand for street art, the conference Documenting, Collecting and Archiving Street Art in Theory and Practice aims to specifically interrogate practices of collecting street art in its broadest sense – as the preservation, conservation and accumulation of tangible and intangible things by individuals or institutions (Bell 2017). We invite contributions that address the de- and recontextualization of street art, including – but not limited to – the following areas of interest: institutionalization, conservation, commercialization, commodification, heritagization, preservation, digitization and digitalization of contemporary street art.

We are looking for a variety of submissions, including creative responses, artists’ practice-based research, and traditional scholarly papers.

Deadline for abstract submissions: 15 April 2021. Please send your abstract to with the subject ‘SAC 2021’ followed by your name. We will endeavor to review submissions and communicate decisions by 15 May 2021. The abstract (max. 300 words) should summarize the following: Main Idea/ Argument, Conceptual framework, Significance, and Key terms.

Format: We encourage a variety of submissions (with a maximum length of 20 minutes in delivery), including research papers and polemical essays, performances, case studies, videos, and online or in-room exhibitions of creative work. 

Venue: In-person at the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and virtually via stream on the Zoom platform.

How will the stream run? The 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. Launched in 2019 and born from a passion for urban art, the festival is envisioned as an annual event that brings together the global street art community by inviting international and local artists and scholars in collaboration with interested cultural organizations and the public. It also invites visitors to read the streets and participate in activities, as well as showcases young, emerging generations of street artists to ensure a bright future for one of the most important art movements of the 21st century.

Festival website.


Organizers: Institute for Urban Questions (Alternative Ljubljana) and Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture.

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