The Urbanario School was founded by Javier Abarca as an online platform for his teaching about graffiti and street art.

Abarca is one of the leading thinkers in the field, and has 15 years of experience teaching these topics internationally at university level. Detailed CV here.

Why study at the school

A unique opportunity

The Urbanario School offers an unprecedented opportunity to access advanced education in the fields of graffiti and street art. It provides students, academics, and professionals with suitable intellectual foundations for working in projects related to these fields.

Both in-depth and accessible

Lectures are immersive and entertaining and lay out complex issues in simple terms, providing an accessible window to this often obscure field. They allow both specialists and newcomers to delve into an in-depth study of the intricacies of graffiti, street art and overlapping practices as they interrelate with society.

Learn with a leading thinker

The school is also a showcase for the influential ideas developed by Javier Abarca in his texts and lectures. Abarca is known for his uniquely revealing critical approaches, as well as for his privileged access to obscure topics. The live seminars present ample opportunity for questions, reflection and debate.

Talk with select guest artists

Our live Q&A sessions with guests provide students with unique views inside the processes and motivations of key artists, selected by the teacher among the most forward-thinking and reflective actors in the scene.

Benefit from our flexible methodology

The methodology of the school adapts easily to your needs. Lectures are freely streamable, and the main scheduled events take 2 hours per week. All content is recorded and streamable, and you retain access to everything after your course ends.

Join our community of graffiti and street art enthusiasts

Sign up for the school and join our community. We hold weekly ‘watch parties’ in which we discover obscure treasures together, and our thematic Telegram chats are a great source for information and debate.

How the school works

The school works fully online and offers the following kinds of content:

Open enrollment:

Understanding Street Art is a four-week online course offering a detailed exploration of street art, from the humblest interventions to the large-scale murals. It studies its history in depth, dissects its inner workings as an art practice, and lays out an incisive critical analysis of its politics.

July 1–29, 2021
Fully online

• 10 hours of streamable lectures
• 10 hours of seminars – Thursdays 6–8pm
• Guest artist: Eltono – July 5, 6–8pm
• Guest artist: MOMO – July 26, 6–8pm
• Watch parties – Fridays 6–7pm
• Thematic Telegram chats
• Permanent access to lectures and recordings
All hours GMT+1
Taught in English

This course offers the following content:

Rafael Schacter (UK)Professor, critic and curator | University College London
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Javier Abarca is an inspirational thinker, theorist, and teacher. He understands graffiti from the position both of a practitioner embedded in the subculture, and of an educator able to translate this visual and cultural world into the space of the classroom and the street. Javier’s teaching and mentoring will benefit all those who he comes into contact with; artists, students, and art professionals alike.
Pedro Soares (PT)Professor | Founder and director, Lisbon Street Art and Urban Creativity Conference | Universidade de Lisboa
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With an intense and thought-provoking character, Javier Abarca is guarantee of the sharpest and more unconstrained thoughts about graffiti. This free-thinker is simultaneously a pioneer of the most underground side of graffiti and the author of the first Spanish-language PhD-level thesis about graffiti and street art
Pietro Rivasi (IT)Critic and curator | Creator of Icone Festival, founded in 2002
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Javier Abarca is the kind of researcher graffiti culture needs: he has a strong background in the scene, curiosity and an extraordinary storytelling capacity. An impressive, top-level divulgator.
Carlo McCormick (US)Author, critic and curator
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With his head in the rigors of academia and his feet on the streets, Javier Abarca is one of the most compelling and erudite guides to urban aesthetic and practice out there. His intelligence and remarkable understanding are secondary only to the exceptional generosity by which he shares his great learning with others.
Robert Kaltenhäuser (DE)Critic and curator | Museum für Visuelle Dissidenz
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In addition to his virtually unparalleled achievements for independent research and networking in the field of Urban Art, Javier Abarca has been one of the standout forward thinking curators and critics in and on the genre ever since he raised his substantive voice.
Lachlan Macdowall (AU)Professor and author | University of Melbourne | Director, MIECAT Institute | Author of «Instafame, Graffiti and Street Art in the Instagram Era»
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Javier Abarca is one the foremost scholars of graffiti, street art and urban creativity. As a practitioner, theorist, author, publisher and adventurer, Javier brings decades of experience, an encyclopaedic knowledge of urban creativity in all its forms and a restless curiosity to his craft.
Richard Brook (UK)Professor and author | Manchester School of Architecture, Art and Design
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Javier Abarca is one of the world's leading thinkers on graffiti and art in the urban environment. He has tirelessly promoted critical approaches that help to understand the value and values of ephemeral art movements of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. His work is crucial in discourses around public space, spatial justice and rights to the city.
David Demougeot (FR)Director, Bien Urbain festival
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For many years Javier Abarca has studied independent public art as a complex subject, dealing with topics such as art history, societal changes, underground cultures and media dissemination. Avoiding clichés and snobbery, he manages to deliver his precise and relevant thoughts in a fluent and reachable way, naming the issues as no one else.
Dumar NovYork (US)Author of «What do One Million JA Tags Signify?»
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Javier Abarca has proven himself to be a leading expert in the field of Graffiti Studies as well as a detail-oriented producer of graffiti related events. His Unlock Book Fair is a pioneering happening which always brings fascinating perspectives and avant-garde approaches to interpreting the writing on the wall.
Andrea Caputo (IT)Publisher and architect | Editor of «All City Writers»
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Javier Abarca has not just witnessed the Graffiti Writing movement as one of the pioneers of the Spanish and Madrilenian scenes. Through the past decades, he has built a long-time investigation on the development of Graffiti Writing style, techniques and behaviors though countless international contributions.
Ulrich Blanché (DE)Professor and author | University of Heildelberg | Author of «Banksy, Urban Art in a Material World»
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Javier Abarca is one of the most important graffiti and street art researchers worldwide. His groundbreaking texts on topics such as the punk side of graffiti, Brazil stencil pioneer Alex Vallauri, or the significance of the human scale in illegal street art, have been especially important for my own research.
Peter Bengtsen (DK)Lund University | Author of «The Street Art World»
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As the person behind the Unlock Book Fair and the Tag Conference, Javier Abarca is a central figure in the community of researchers focused on graffiti and street art.

He has a long history of thinking and writing about these topics and, crucially, emphasizes the importance of paying attention to not just centrally-placed and flashy graffiti pieces and large-scale murals, but also to out-of-the-way and less conspicuous interventions.

Ilaria Hoppe (DE)Professor | Institute of Contemporary Arts and Media, Katholische Privat-Universität Linz
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Javier Abarca is one of the most interesting graffiti researchers worldwide. On the one hand, his extensive knowledge comes directly from the street, as he is one of the pioneers of the writing scene in Spain; on the other hand, he looks back on many years of research and teaching within academia. He also initiated the Tag Conference and the Unlock Book Fair, which have become important events of critical graffiti research at the interface between subculture and scholarship.

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UNDERSTANDING STREET ART
A historic, theoretical and critical analysis

Online course | July 1–29, 2021
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