Philippa Spottiswoode, ‘The Written Word, the Painted Wall: The Calais Refugee Camp and the Messages From and About the “Other”

Philippa Spottiswoode graduated in 2016 from the University of Sheffield. She wrote her undergraduate dissertation on graffiti in the Calais ‘jungle’, which we are delighted to publish here: philippa-spottiswoode-calais

For my dissertation, I will be discussing the importance of graffiti within Calais, noting the language, the materials used and the praise and criticism that arise from these messages.

Although considered illegal by the authorities and needless vandalism by many, graffiti have been a medium long used by humankind, indeed even before it was given the name. Cavemen depicted hunts and journeys on walls and runes left in churches which were thought to translate into profound messages have since been translated as blasphemous terms. Up to and continuing throughout the present day, humankind has written their messages anywhere that is possible and the messages left provide us with a glimpse of the lives that were lived and events that occurred, but for the writers, the graffiti was written for a multitude of different reasons, offering a snapshot of their lives at that time.

[…] Using sources surrounding graffiti in similar situations (the separation wall in Abu Dis for example), I will examine and explore graffiti from the Calais Refugee Camp from the views of the British and French public, the refugees and the media.

Philippa Spottiswoode, 2016