Group of community in front of art wall

Criminology academic Dr Lella Nouri recently led a Gorseinon youth group to transform their community centre, using graffiti to showcase the importance of their youth club to the community, to speak out against recent behaviours by young people in their community, and demonstrate what their club represents.

The arts event was all part of Dr Nouri’s ‘Flip the Streets’ initiative, aiming to use graffiti to build community resilience to hate and use creative, empowering artwork to spread positive messaging.

Aiming to provide a platform for young people in the wider Swansea area to take control and eradicate hateful behaviour and visuals within their communities, the Flip the Streets initiative has been running since May 2023 ¾ first funded by Race Council Cymru and now by Swansea Council.  

Several members of the youth group attended the Flip the Streets event, after a number of weeks working together during the youth club, alongside volunteers and representatives from Swansea University, South Wales Police, and the local authority.

All attendees worked together to create artwork that better represents young people in the area. The youth group were keen to demonstrate to the community that the local troubles are not representative of all young people in the area, whilst also aiming to create a welcoming, inclusive environment for their youth club.

With another seven projects lined up over the coming months, it’s hoped the Flip the Streets project will help community groups across Swansea eradicate hate ¾ whether of the visual or verbal kind.

To further this aim, Dr Nouri is developing an app ‘StreetSnap’ which will allow users to photograph hate graffiti and automatically upload it to a system shared by local authorities and law enforcement, allowing for easier identification of hate graffiti so it can be more easily removed. Most importantly, the app will be used to inform community interventions. The app is being trialled in Swansea from July 2024.

Dr Lella Nouri, Associate Professor in Criminology and Co-Director of the Cyber Threats Research Centre (CYTREC) at Swansea University, said:

“The young people who took part in our Flip the Streets event at Gorseinon community centre were keen to demonstrate that the troubles locally do not represent them or their community.

“It was wonderful to see so many young people and volunteers working together to strengthen community ties and use graffiti as a way to have a voice.

This event at Gorseinon is the second Flip the Streets day to take place in Swansea this year, after Manselton Community Centre’s youth group worked to remove hate graffiti (swastikas) in May 2023, replacing it with creative, expressive artwork which challenged and spoke out against racism in Wales.

Professor Ryan Murphy, Executive Dean and Pro Vice Chancellor of Swansea University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences said:

“Flip the Streets exemplifies our efforts at Swansea University to ensure our research has real-world, real-time impact on society. Dr Nouri deserves all the accolades coming her way for her tireless efforts to support young people and encourage them to take pride in their local spaces.”

To find out more about Flip the Streets and Dr Nouri’s work, visit

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