Writings on the Wall: An Investigation into Young Graffiti Writers’ Motivations, Meanings, and Strategies for Creation in Hanoi, Vietnam


Student Projects
8 September 2021

Michelle Kee

Department of Geography, McGill University

Montréal (Québec) Canada, 2020

Supervisor: Professor Sarah Turner | Reader: Professor Danielle Labbé

Read the full thesis here.

Graffiti has become an omnipresent feature of urban landscapes, with these sprawling words and

images on public and private surfaces serving as an entry point for an investigation into the

relationship between space, aesthetics, and politics. So far, there has been little academic

research conducted on street art in the Asian context, and no literature on the burgeoning street

art scene in Vietnam. However, the effects that globalization and modernization have had on the

region, and the tactics citizens employ to negotiate state-imposed censorship and restraints, have

been studied, positioning this focus within a broader area of study. As such, the main objective

of this thesis is to explore the motivations behind the creation of graffiti and street art in order to

determine how youth (17-30) identities are constructed and spaces are contested in the postsocialist liminal space of Hanoi, Vietnam.

Key Words: everyday politics, Hanoi, subculture, graffiti, youth, transgression