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Tuesday 7th December at 6:00pm GMT (English) hosted by Dr Hassan Almohammed

Graffiti in Raqqa: Social and political memory.(English)

Following the start of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, the defeat of ISIS in 2017, and thede facto transfer of power to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), graffiti became a significant marker of change in the damaged city of Raqqa. With this study, I sought to address a series of questions related to the impact of graffiti on Raqqa’s population, as well as its shifting role for citizens and local authorities in areas of the cityscape affected by war. The study focused on the content and symbolism of key examples of graffiti, adopting an interpretative approach drawing on visual sociology to study a series of photojournalistic images from the city. It addressed this visual imagery as a vital source of data that enables examination of social realities and lived experience through photographs.  The objective in employing this process was to reach a fuller understanding of the political discourse through the study of graffiti in its urban context.  This research is based on photographs commissioned from a non-professional photographer in 2019 and 2020 in Raqqa following the withdrawal of ISIS from the city, its former capital. This research highlights how graffiti in the wartime cityscape takes on an important role as both aesthetic expression and political communication, representing seismic upheaval and change.