ABOUT

NotGrafI am an architectural historian and urban scholar interested in the surfaces of cities as sites of political contention. I have been researching graffiti and street art for more than ten years, and am currently developing a theoretical and methodological framework for investigating the surfaces of cities.

My principal areas of research and expertise are around urban public cultures in the neoliberal city, and methods based on visual, semiotic and legal analyses.

  • Urban semiotics, geosemiotics, surface semiotics: written and visual communication in urban space and the role of visual culture in the development of urban identities; surface inscriptions and materialities; advertising, posters, CGIs.
  • Legal geography and neoliberal urbanism: property regimes in cities, the privatisation of public space, architecture and the lawscape; urbanism and security; designing out crime; order and transgression; urban criminology; the creative city and cultural consumption.
  • The right to the city and spatial justice: theories of space and spatial justice; post-Lefebvrian proposals for the right to the city in a global context; spatial commons and activism; public protests and cultures of dissent.
  • Graffiti, street art and public art: the history of sanctioned and unsanctioned surface marking; vandalism and writing on walls; transgressive subcultures and their appropriations.

I teach architectural history and critical urban studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL and I run workshops and outreach programmes on public creativity and the right to the city.

Teaching

(2017 – present) Lecturer (Teaching), Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London

I teach the following five modules in 2020-21:

Representations of Cities, MA Architectural History

  • Urban environments as cultural experiences and their representations through film, through psychogeography, modernisms, informality, destruction and reconstruction

Insurgent cities, MArch Year 4

  • Regulation and disorder in global cities, through legal geography, criminology, subcultural studies, protest and subversion

Surface city, BSc Architecture Year 3

  • Urban surfaces and inscriptions through discourses of regeneration, order, visibility, creative urbanism, law, ownership, the right to the city and spatial justice

Architectural representations, BSc Architecture Year 2

  • The production, use, experience and impact of contemporary architecture through text, drawing, image, activism and broadcasting

History and theory of engineering and architecture, MEng Year 1

  • Building-based survey course focused on London

I take part regularly in crits and field trips at the Bartlett, and supervise BA, BSc and MA dissertations across the School and beyond.

Past appointments:

(2018–2021) Senior Lecturer, Department of Architecture, Ravensbourne University London

(2015–2020) Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering, University of East London

(12/2020) Course Leader, CEPT University Winter School, Ahmedabad, India

(07/2018) Course Leader, Royal Academy of Arts London

(2015-18) Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

(2016-18) Taster Lecturer (Years 8-12), UCL Outreach and Widening Participation

(2015-17) Teaching Assistant, History of London Architecture, School of History, Queen Mary University of London

(2017) Guest Lecturer, Summer School in Urban Studies, London School of Economics

(2016-17) Associate Lecturer, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

Other appointments

(2020-present) Departmental Tutor Year 1 BSc Architecture, Bartlett UCL

(09/2016) British Pavilion Fellow, Venice Architecture Biennale

(2013-14) Assistant curator, Cities Methodologies exhibition

(2012-16) Director, Arts Facilitation London (2012-14) Administrator, UCL Urban Laboratory

Education

(2011-18) PhD Architectural History and Theory, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London

“Graffiti, street art and the right to the surface: for a semiotic, cultural and legal approach to urban surfaces and inscriptions”, supervised by Prof Iain Borden and Prof Ben Campkin.

(2010-11) MA Visual Culture, Faculty of Art & Design, Manchester Metropolitan University

(2008-10) MA Theatre, Media and Performance Studies, Faculty of Theatre & Television, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj Napoca, Romania

(2005-08) BA Comparative Literature, Faculty of Humanities, Babes-Bolyai University

Publications

Andron, S. (forthcoming 2022), Graffiti, Spatial Justice and the City: The Surface Commons, London: Routledge.

Andron, S. (2019) “To Mend the Matter, to Cultivate Sympathy: On Vulnerable Walls and Expressive Surfaces”, in Informa Journal of the University of Puerto Rico School of Architecture, no.12, 23-31.

Andron, S. (2019) “Enter the Surface-Interface: An Exploration of Urban Surfaces as Sites of Spatial Production and Regulation” In Urban Interfaces: Media, Art and Performance in Public Spaces, edited by Verhoeff, Nanna, Sigrid Merx, and Michiel de Lange. Leonardo Electronic Almanac 22, no. 4

Andron, S. (2019) “The Right to the City Is the Right to the Surface: A Case for a Surface Commons (in 8 Arguments, 34 Images and some Legal Provisions)”, in Brighenti, A.M. & Kärrholm, M. (eds), Urban Walls. Political and Cultural Meanings of Vertical Structures and Surfaces, London and New York: Routledge

Andron, S. (2018) “To Occupy, to Inscribe, to Thicken: Spatial Politics and the Right to the Surface”, in Brighenti, A. M. and Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, A., “Surfaces and Materials”, Lo Squaderno special issue no 48

Andron, S. (2018) “Selling Streetness as Experience. The Role of Street Art Tours in Branding the Creative City”, in Sociological Review, Vol 66, Issue 5, pp. 1036 – 1057.

Andron, S. (2017) “Interviewing Walls: Towards a Method of Reading Hybrid Surface Inscriptions” in Avramidis, K. and Tsilimpounidi, M. (eds), Graffiti and Street Art: Reading, Writing and Representing the City, London: Routledge

Andron, S. (2017) “The Eton Graffiti”, exhibition catalogue essay for artist Liane Lang’s Old School exhibition at Eton College

Andron, S. (2016) “Paint. Buff. Shoot. Repeat. Re-photographing Graffiti in London”, in Campkin, B. and Duijzings, G. (eds), Engaged Urbanism. Cities and Methodologies, London: IB Tauris

Andron, S. (2015) “Framing Transgression. The Role of City Surface Structures in the Placement of Street Art”, in Kakunko, S. (ed), Framings, Berlin: Logos

Andron, S. (2015) “The City and the Virtual: The Use of Digital Technology in 3D Street Art”, written with Regner Ramos, in Fuggle, S. and Henri, T. (eds), Return to the Street, London: Pavement Books

Awards

(2020) Prosser Award for outstanding work in visual methodologies, awarded by the International Visual Sociology Association

(2019) Bartlett Architecture Research Fund award to convene a panel at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference, August 2019, London

(2018) Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

(2018) Bartlett Architecture Research Fund and Bartlett Student Conference Fund awards to present a paper at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New Orleans

(2017) Bartlett Architecture Research Fund award for the International Summer School in the Cultural Study of Law, Osnabrück, Germany

(2017) UCL Graduate School award to present a paper at Visualising the Street Conference, ASCA Cities, Amsterdam, Netherlands

(2016) British Council fellowship for the Venice Architecture Biennale

(2016) Citizenit award to speak at and participate in the Particles Intermedia Lab and Festival, Arad, Romania

(2016) Second Prize at UCL’s Three Minute Thesis Competition

(2015) Second Prize at UCL Research Image Competition

(2014) UCL Urban Laboratory funding for participating in the Competing Urbanisms workshop, Melbourne, Australia

(2014) Grand Challenges for Sustainable Cities small grant and Design Against Crime Research Centre (UAL) funding for The Graffiti Sessions conference

(2013) UCL Urban Laboratory funding for participating in the Global Cities and Theories of Interruption workshop, New York

(2013) Train & Engage public engagement award, UCL, for Street Art and Graffiti Workshops

(2013) Bartlett Architecture Research Fund and UCL Graduate Schol awards to present a paper at the Urban Popcultures conference, Prague

Professional activities

(2020) Article “The writing on the wall” for U+I Think newsletter, distributed to property developers and local authorities

(2019) London Tour Guide for https://www.e-architect.co.uk/

(2019) Co-convenor and organiser, with Adrian Burnham, of Social Surfaces +0161, a symposium and workshop in Manchester

(2019) Session co-organiser and chair, with Daniel Webster of Queen’s University Belfast, of the session Convivial knowledges: commoning and interdependence at the Royal Geographical Society Annual International Conference, August 2019, London

(2019) Member, Editorial Advisory Board for Nuart Journal, peer-reviewed open access publication for street art and urban cultures

(2018) Co-convenor and organiser, with Dr Susan Hansen, of Art on the Streets symposium, in partnership with Middlesex University and the Institute of Contemporary Art

(2017) Participation in the International Summer School in the Cultural Study of Law, Osnabrück, Germany

(2015) Panel judge for the Train & Engage award, Public Engagement Department, UCL

(2015) Exhibition installation of 100 Days of Leake Street at the Cities Methodologies Exhibition in London

(2014) Exhibition installation of 100 Days of Leake Street at ANIMATE festival, Philadelphia

(2014) Participation in the Grand Challenges Summer School, UCL; part of the winning team with a project on European values and identity

(2014) Conference organiser and producer, with Marcus Willcocks of the Design Against Crime Research Centre, UAL, of The Graffiti Sessions: The Art and Justice of Sociable Cities, supported by UCL, UAL, the Southbank Centre and Global Street Art. This was a three day international conference with more than 25 speakers from academia, arts and industry – one of the most comprehensive graffiti-related conferences to date.

Selected talks

(2019) Paper “Boundary, occupation, conflict: a conceptual framework for urban surfaces as spatial commons” at the City as a Commons conference, September 2019, Pavia, Italy

(2019) Paper “Wall stories, mended matter and layered politics: the challenges of researching urban surfaces” at the Nuart Street Art conference, April 2019, Aberdeen, Scotland

(2019) Wall interview “Listen to the Surface, Interview the Wall” at the Westminster Law and Theory Lab

(2018) Paper “This Way to San Marco: A Semiotic Examination of Vernacular Signage in Venice” at CityStreet3, Beirut, Lebanon

(2018) Paper “An Examination of City Surfaces as Repositories of Urban Cultural Production” at UNESCO-ORBICOM conference on “Communication, City and Public Space”, Lima, Peru

(2018) Paper “The Right to the City Is the Right to the Surface: A Legal and Material Investigation of Urban Surfaces and Property Rights”, in the Law and Land Use session at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, New Orleans

(2018) Talk “Urban Walls and Spatial Justice” at the Socially Just Planning Seminar Series, Bartlett School of Planning

(2017) Lecture “Urban Mythology and Mundane Disaster: Death in Pop Art from Warhol to Basquiat” at the Royal Academy of the Arts, part of the “Vogue and Vanitas of Mortality” art history course

(2017) Talk “Graffiti, Memory and the City” at The London Festival of Architecture

(2017) Panel speaker Paris Urban Art Fair

(2017) Lecture on graffiti and the right to the city for Bartlett Y3 BSc Architecture students

(2016) Paper “100 Days of Leake Street: A Study of Repeat Photography as a Graffiti Research Method” at “Visualising the Street” Conference, ASCA Cities, Amsterdam, Netherlands

(2015) Paper “Remove, Clean, Eradicate: A Critical Reading of UK Graffiti Policy” at the Kent Critical Law Society Annual Conference, University of Kent

(2014) Paper “Show and Tell: The Role of Walking Tours in Configuring London’s Street Art Scene” at Competing Urbanisms workshop, University of Melbourne, Australia

(2013) Presentation at the PhD Forum, Global Cities and Theories of Interruption Workshop, Institute for Public Knowledge, New York University, organised by Prof Christoph Lindner

(2013) Paper “Taking Place: New Geographical Approaches to the Site-Specificity of Street Art” at Urban Popcultures conference, Prague, Czech Republic

(2013) Paper “Framing Transgression. The Role of City Surface Structures in the Placement of Street Art” at the Frames and Framings Conference, University of Copenhagen, Denmark