Julia Tulke is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University of Rochester, NY and 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, her research centers on the politics and poetics of space, with a particular focus on crisis cities as sites of cultural production and political intervention. The Greek capital of Athens, a city that emerged as Europe’s symbolic epicenter of crisis in the complex aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown and the so-called refugee crisis, has been her central case study for this endeavor. Centering artists, cultural practitioners, and the tactical interventions they stage in the urban crisisscape, Julia’s work here since 2013 has included research and writing on political street art and graffiti, austerity urbanism, crisis photography, and the emergence of feminist and queer protest.
Cumulating and concluding a decade of research in and on Athens, her dissertation “Artist-Run Athens: Mapping Spaces of Critical Practice between Two Crises, 2008-2020” 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 geographies. 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 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 has been a member of the core organizing committee for the public art festival WALL\THERAPY since 2017, co-programming two conferences and several community events. She has also held several production roles for the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, based in Ithaca, NY, since 2018.