CISABROAD BLOG · May 31, 2016 · 3 Min Read
My Barcelona Experience: Shifting Perspectives Through Art

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Jill S., a student at Rochester Institute of Technology, is doing a Semester at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. Learn just how fun class can be when it takes you out onto the streets to learn about the world around you first hand.


I have had a rich and experience-packed semester abroad. I have gained a new perspective on life (but I am still figuring out what that perspective is).

One of the contributors to this change in how I view the world is one of my classes at UAB – Urban Interventions, Public Sculpture, and Graffiti. My professor, Georgina, is absolutely wonderful! The way she organizes the curriculum is great too (this is always more important than I assume)!

We have studied different works around the world, learned about different styles, and have dabbled a bit in the art world ourselves! Being exposed to all of this material has been inspiring me to create.

This class goes far beyond the classroom. In terms of urban interventions and public sculpture, this class has heightened my awareness of the public spaces within Barcelona, how they’ve been designed, how they are used, and what message (if any) lies within the art in these spaces. This also ties into my experience in Barcelona as this is the first time I’ve lived in a city this large. Previously, I didn’t put much thought into public space, nor did I need it much. Now that I live in the city, and given the Catalan and Spanish culture to socialize outside of the home, I use public areas on a daily basis. This has made me realize the great importance these public parks, benches, and plazas have for so many people, all over the world.

Most recently we have been studying graffiti and street art. Georgina has taught us some of the history of graffiti, different styles and terminology, street artists by name, its intentions, and how cities handle this movement. She has stressed that there is a controversy over what art is and what defines pure vandalism, which has been interesting to consider as I pass by spray-painted persianas (store front roll-down doors) everyday on my way to school.

Georgina has taken us on several tours, one of which was an official street art walking tour (https://barcelonastreetstyletour.com/). It was awesome! It brought a lot of what we had been learning in the classroom ALIVE as we saw it first-hand on the streets. I highly recommend to join in on one of these if you’re in the area! Plus, the walking tours are free (but tip the guide!).

Yesterday, Georgina took us to La Escocesa (https://laescocesa.org/en). La Escocesa is a creative center in Poble Nou. A lot of artists have their studios within the center and they host events and exhibitions. It was a treat to go as it isn’t open to the public when an event isn’t going on (Georgina knows the right people).

Beyond Barcelona, I have a new curiosity for street art anywhere I travel. In Lisbon, Portugal, I was intrigued by the various work I saw, and how the style differs from that of Barcelona. Here are some pictures from my travels, these two “field-trips”, and legal walls within BCN.

All of these photos were taken by Jill Secrest. Artists include: “CHANOIR”, “EL XUPET NEGRE”, & “IBIE”. If any of this work is yours, please let me know and I will edit this post to properly give you the artistic the credit you deserve. Thank you and enjoy!

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The CIS Abroad blog is run by Zoë Crabtree, Jenn Weisgerber, Siobhan Tripp, Emily Negard, and more folks on our marketing team. Head over to the “Meet the Team” page to learn more about us as individuals. On the blog, we share student-written content and information for students, advisors, other study abroad professionals, and families of students studying abroad. Check out our Facebook and Instagram for more from us and our students!