Graffiti art and youth counter-cultures in Milan

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Milan is well known for its glamour, fashion, and high living, and so one of our third year research groups set out to investigate the realities behind the city’s capitalist infrastructures.

The project, ‘Faster Cars and Slicker Suits’, began by researching the concepts of the ‘Factory without Walls’, precarious labour, and emotional capitalism. When the group arrived in Milan,  they were immediately struck by what seemed to be a political counter culture involving the youth of the city. The group felt that this was heavily portrayed through the street art and graffiti that they encountered on almost every street they walked down, with the exception of the main square around the financial district.

You can check out the group’s photography that captures a taster of this street art on their Milamas blog.

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The group’s experiences of being in Milan led them to focus on what they identified as a youth revolt, and so they set up several interviews with students about their opinions on the current political climate. They found that many of the students they interviewed raised the very issues that they had been researching, around the notion of precarious labour – there seemed to be high levels of anger and uncertainty about unstable employment. Jessica Bilimoria explains that “we found that almost all of the students we spoke to had accepted that they would almost certainly have to move abroad to find work, and that they would therefore likely be forced into jobs which they were over qualified for’.

The group came back from Milan armed with a wealth of data for their research project, but they also explained that what they had gained from their experience was more than just academic insight.

“We learned to work, unguided, within a team and not only this; we learned how to navigate ourselves professionally in a foreign environment. We gained important experience with regards to communicating with people who are not from the same background as ourselves. We had to work hard to navigate a language barrier and communicate clearly and coherently, a skill which we can carry forwards with regards to our future careers.” Liz Jones.

You can find out more about the group’s research, and all of the other third year Media and Communications degree show projects at the Living in a Digital World conference on Tuesday 26th May, from 9.30am – 4pm in the Goldstein Theatre of the Alan Berry Building at Coventry University. You can also follow the conference discussions via the twitter hashtag #digitalworld15.

Images courtesy of the Milamas ‘Faster Cars Slicker Suits’ Third Year Media & Comms research group.

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