Working at the intersections of cultural and urban geography, my current research explores how artists use, reimagine, and remake spaces of the city and act as agents of social change.
My doctoral dissertation ‘Aesthetics of zero tolerance: Psychogeographic and photographic explorations of graffiti and street art in Norway’ was submitted in August 2017 and is currently under review. My doctorate has been undertaken at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo under the supervision of Dr. Karen O’Brien and has been co-supervised by Dr. David Pinder at Roskilde University. The project uses psychogeography and photography as methods to study graffiti and street art in urban space. With Oslo as my main focus, I have specifically been studying the aesthetics of zero tolerance policy against graffiti and exploring how policy affects the way space is used and the way cities look. During this time, I walked approximately 300 km and took nearly 25 000 photographs. A short documentary film about my doctoral research was made by Snøball Film and may be viewed here:
My doctoral project is based upon a pilot project of my design that was carried out between 2011 and 2013 during which I went on 92 psychogeographic walks, walked over 600 km, and took over 15,000 photographs of graffiti and street art in the city of Montréal, Canada.This project was particularly focused on how graffiti and street art varied geographically, hinting at the changing nature of neighbourhoods in Montréal. The 2012 student uprising — the printemps érable — coincided with fieldwork resulting in a huge amount of visual data showcasing how students appropriated graffiti and street art in their political activities.
Presently, I have been revisiting my master’s thesis research, which explored the art/science divide and the role of art in environmental discourse. I am interested in how visual art contributes to understandings of environmental issues, particularly climate change, and how art may act as a catalyst in the context of global environmental change.
My artistic work informs my academic research particularly through the use of visual methods. Photography features importantly in my research and I view my photographs as works of art, even when attached to a research question. I believe that this commitment to the aesthetic and art in my use of visual methods — including the use of cartography and geographic information systems — helps connect the viewer with my research in unique and important ways.
I am an advocate for public engagement and am committed to research collaboration that breaks free of academic and disciplinary bounds. I have had the privilege to collaborate with Nuart Festival, with the artists from Oslo Apiary, and with Snøball Film. I have consulted with the Municipality of Oslo on the development and implementation of their new Action Plan on Street Art. As much as possible, I prioritise research and invitations to collaborate that are accessible to and of value to the public.
I am a member of the Urban Environments Research Network and the International Visual Sociology Association. I am also a founding and senior editor of Nuart Journal, a new journal publishing provocative research on street art and urban art cultures.