Centre for Cultural Partnerships - Theses

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    Aesthetics of change: multiculturalism and the street art of Footscray
    Widiarto, Christie ( 2018)
    This practice-based research investigates the relationship between street art and multiculturalism in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray. The aim of this research is to prove the value of incorporating multicultural theory in the development of street art projects. The practice component of the research is the creation of a documentary entitled, Who made that? which looks at five case studies of artists that have created a street art piece during the research period 2014 – 2018. This film is created using techniques of collaborative filmmaking through a reflexive practice, based on Sarah Pink’s approach to visual ethnography. Street art is also examined as a cultural practice. There are varied opinions about what constitutes street art and how to define a street artist. In order to contain our research, the documentary focuses on artists who create murals. Through an exploration of their work, techniques and intent behind their art, the documentary presents an understanding of the diversity that exists within the street art community. Culture and multiculturalism have broad interpretations and this research suggests understanding multiple perspectives from a lived experience to political forms of management and integration. Theoretical literature, from Kymlicka’s liberal theories of ‘multicultural citizenship to modern day Islamaphobia, are reviewed to explore how they are at work in contemporary discourses of government, arts and community. The setting for the documentary, Footscray, is known as a culturally diverse inner city suburb, that has been reportedly going through the process of gentrification. We examine gentrifications impact on social diversity and also explore the role of street artists as both gentrifiers and activists against gentrification. Through this research, we investigate street art as a manifestation of the cultural diversity of the community. As such, its demonstrates how an understanding of multiculturalism from different perspectives can provide a framework for the development of future street art projects by artists, communities and organisations.