Julia Tulke (she/they) is Assistant Teaching Professor at the Institute for the Liberal Arts at Emory University. She completed her PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester. Prior to joining Emory, she served as adjunct professor in Media and Society at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she previously held the 2021-22 Pre-Doctoral Fellowship at the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice.
Located at the intersections of urban studies, visual culture, and anthropology, Julia’s research centers on the visual and spatial politics of crisis, with a particular focus on the material and symbolic terrain of the “crisis city,” for which Athens, Greece has served as her central case study. Her work in and on the city through the past decade includes research and writing on political street art and graffiti, austerity urbanism and creative placemaking, queer and feminist protest, and the poetics of ruination.
Cumulating and concluding a decade of research in and on Athens, Julia’s dissertation “Artist-Run Athens: Mapping Spaces of Critical Practice between Two Crises, 2009-2020” traces the proliferation and significance of artist-run spaces and initiatives through the historical period bounded by the 2008 economic crisis and the 2020 pandemic emergency. Such endeavors, which include self-organized exhibition and performance spaces, sites for artistic research, and community art projects, are here treated not as singular interventions or autonomous bubbles but part of a relational infrastructure of world-making deeply embedded in the broader currents of Athens’ urban development between crises.
Julia also maintains a long-standing interest in political street art and graffiti as performative repertoires of intervention. Through an ongoing longitudinal research project on Athens (Aesthetics of Crisis), alongside smaller projects on Berlin, Istanbul, and Syria, she has deployed street art and graffiti as both subject and method of inquiry to address the complex negotiation of meaning and belonging in contested urban environments. This line of research has also allowed her to hone her commitment to visual modes of inquiry, engaging photography, visual essays, and exhibitions as sites of knowledge production and distribution. Julia’s has a particular committment to the method of longitudinal photo documentation, for which she was recognized with the 2022 Prosser Award for Outstanding Work by a Beginning Scholar in Visual Methodologies from the International Visual Sociological Association.
Julia’s writing in English and German has appeared in City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, Space and Culture, Journal for Visual Culture, Forum Kritische Archäologie, Nuart Journal, and sub\urban Zeitschrift für kritische Stadtforschung, alongside the edited volumes Gegen die Wand: Subversive Positionierungen von Autorinnen und Künstlerinnen (Neofelis, 2021), Political Graffiti in Critical Times: The Aesthetics of Street Politics (Berghahn, 2021), Buffalo at the Crossroads: The Past, Present, and Future of American Urbanism (Cornell University Press, 2020), The Aesthetics of Global Protest: Visual Culture and Communication (Amsterdam University Press, 2019), Greece in Crisis: The Cultural Politics of Austerity (I.B. Tauris, 2017), and Urban Austerity: Impacts of the Global Financial Crisis on Cities in Europe (Theater der Zeit, 2016).
Her photographs of street art and graffiti have been exhibited at R. Raum für drastische Maßnahmen (Berlin, Germany), Koerber Foundation (Hamburg, Germany), National Hellenic Museum (Chicago, IL), Bank Street Arts (Sheffield, UK), and George Mason University’s Founders Hall Gallery (Fairfax, VA). They have additionally been featured in several publications, including Nothing Personal Magazine, Blackstreets Journal for Urban Art, Kiosk of Democracy, De Linkse Toekomst, LuXemburg—Gesellschaftsanalyse und Linke Praxis, and the Lonely Planet Street Art Book.
Julia serves on the International Advisory Board of Nuart Journal and is a former managing editor (2020-21), editorial board member and reviews editor (2015-2021) for InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture. In Rochester, NY, she was a member of the core organizing committee for the public art festival WALL\THERAPY (2017-2022), co-programming two conferences on “Art and Activism” and “Representation” as well as several community events. She has has also held several production roles for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, based in Ithaca, NY, since 2018.