Kyle Benedict Craig

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Northwestern U.

Grant number

Gr. 9859

Approve Date

May 1, 2019

Project Title

Craig, Kyle (Northwestern U.) "“This City is So Empty”: Street Art, Youth, and Urban Futures in Amman, Jordan"

This project examines how youth in Amman, Jordan articulate and mobilize their future aspirations through the production and circulation of street art. In contrast to many street art scenes around the world, Ammani artists often collaborate with state authorities, corporations, and international government institutions to acquire painting permissions, funding, and to host events. Many street artists do not view their work as explicitly political, but a form of urban aestheticization that adds color to the “boring,” monochromatic urban landscape, thus expanding possibilities for lived experience in public spaces. This project is designed to answer two primary questions: 1) How do young artists’ conceptions of ongoing changes in Amman/Jordan’s urban and political landscapes, as well as increasing state and corporate involvement in street art, inform their ideas about art and its potential to transform everyday life? 2) To what extent is Amman’s street art scene cultivated by neoliberal logics of urban development and/or fear of youth unrest from an insecure state and ruling classes? This project will add ethnographic insight into how youth cultural production and political expression have shifted since the start of the Arab uprisings in 2011, where arts and culture played a key role in shaping dissent.