20 March 2013 / by Radmila Gurkova

GRAFFITI: Art or Anti-Social Behaviour?


Barcelona shopkeepers who legally commissioned graffiti artists to paint their shopfront SHUTTERS are FACING fines of up to 600€ by city authorities intent on CRACKING DOWN on anti-social behaviour.

"The law regards graffiti as something that SOILS the public space, devalues our HERITAGE and visually DEGRADES the URBAN FABRIC," a city spokesman said.

Graffiti GoodGraffiti Bad




  • Do you like art?

  • Do you know what GRAFFITI is?

  • Do you like it? Why or why not?

  • Do you think it is "art" or "vandalism"? Why?

  • What about freedom of artistic expression?

  • Is it still anti-social behaviour if shopkeepers commission it?

  • Is it fair for the city authorities to fine the shopkeepers?

  • Do you think this is a good method of discouraging anti-social behaviour, like ‘tags’?

  • Is this a good scheme to beautify a neighbourhood?


Ask students to imagine themselves walking through Barcelona at night. Ask them to tell you what they see.  Encourage the students to be as descriptive as possible, mentioning bars, squares, people on the street, shop windows and GRAFFITI. Then show students images of graffiti in Barcelona. Encourage discussion about the images.


Divide roles between students:

  • Graffiti artists

  • Shop Owners

  • Representatives of the city council

Encourage students to debate in front of the "city council" whether or not legally commissioned graffiti is beneficial to the community.


SHUTTERS: One of a pair of wooden or metal covers on the outside of a window that can be closed to keep light out or prevent thieves from coming in.

TO FACE: If you face or are faced with a difficult situation, or if a difficult situation faces you, it is going to affect you and you must deal with it.

CRACKING DOWN: Reducing or stopping something (normally illegal).

HERITAGE: The traditional beliefs, values, customs etc of a family, country, or society.

DEGRADE: To disfigure.

TAG: To mark or vandalize (a surface) with graffiti.

SOILS: To disgrace; tarnish.


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