Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Alba Griffin

Associate Lecturer 19/20


My research explores violence, power and inequality in Colombia, with a focus on art, culture and representation. I graduated from Manchester University in 2010 with a BA (Hons) in Modern Languages, from Newcastle University in 2013 with an MA in Latin American Interdisciplinary Studies and completed my ESRC-funded PhD in 2019. I have previously worked in the arts and publishing sectors, as well as in project management.

Twitter and Instagram: @agriffbag


My PhD thesis, Reading the Walls in Bogota: Imaginaries of violence in the urban visual landscape, focused on graffiti and street art practices in Colombia's capital city and their relationships to urban imaginaries of violence and inequality. Following an interdisciplinary approach, it drew on an ethnographic, reception-based methodological and theoretical framework in order to pay close attention to the perspectives of urban inhabitants, including those producing graffiti and street art as well as those engaging with them as audiences. Such an approach revealed the complex dynamics of violence and the politics of representation, specifically in relation to political violence, structural inequality and social prejudice as they play out through the contemporary trends in graffiti and street art of commemoration, beautification, denunciation and self-expression. In pursuing the intersections of violence and aesthetics, it drew extensively on theorisations of hegemony and subalternity by Antonio Gramsci, Stuart Hall, James C. Scott and others. At the same time, it sought to test static, structural understandings of the imaginary by keeping a close watch on conjunctural shifts in the top-down management of civic politics through Henri Lefebvre's conceptualisation of the right to the city. 

Popular Culture; Colombia; Ethnography; Reception; Violence; Conflict and Peace; Graffiti; Street Art; Urban Studies; Politics

Supervised by Dr Nick Morgan, Lecturer in Latin American Studies, School of Modern Languages, and Dr Kyle Grayson, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology. 


  • Paper presented at 'Pigment and Power: seeing Latin America through street art', London School of Economics, February 2019 
  • Paper presented at 'Artivismo: The place of art and politics in Latin America', University of Cambridge, November 2018
  • Paper presented at Society for Latin American Studies Annual Conference 2018 on the panel 'Street Art, Space, and Politics in Latin America: Urban Visions from an Emerging Field' 
  • Paper presented at 'Colombia after the Peace Accords: New Challenges, New Paths Forward from a Multidisciplinary Perspective', University of Oxford, December 2017
  • Co-organiser, chair and presenter at 'La paz es ahora? Examining the question of peace and violence in Colombia', Newcastle University, September 2017 (paper entitled The everydayness of political violence and the politics of everyday violence in Bogota’s urban visual landscape)
  • Paper presented at European International Studies Association Conference 2017 on the panel ‘Dislocating Geopower: New Approaches to Space, Culture, and Violence in World Politics’ (paper entitled Negotiating violence in Bogota's urban visual landscape)
  • Paper presented at 'Researching Everyday Geopolitics in Latin America', Newcastle University, September 2017 (paper entitled Graffiti and Street Art: Reading and Writing Urban Imaginaries of Violence)
  • Paper presented at Latin American Studies Annual Conference 2017 on the panel 'Space, Violence and Memory: the impact of imaginative geographies in Latin America' (paper entitled The limits of representing violence in Bogota's urban visual landscape)


  • POL3124 Mexican Politics
  • SPA4081 Level D Spanish: Advanced Writing Skills
  • LAS4010 Cultura y Politica en Colombia
  • LAS2028 Diversidad Cultural en America Latina
  • SML1018 Introduction to Literature
  • SML1022 Introduction to Cultural Studies
  • SPA4008 Youth Cultures in Spain, Portugal and Latin America
  • SML1023 Language for Business Spanish