Mobility, Ephemerality and Tourist Economies: Graffiti Running Tours in León Guanajuato


  • Caitlin Frances Bruce UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH


In this paper I explore the creation of a running tour showcasing commissioned Graffiti Art, or Urban Art, in León Guanajuato, Mexico. Founded in 2017, the tours are part of a larger economic and cultural shift away from the city's agricultural and industrial roots. Since the 1990s, León has
pursued global city status while still trying to claim connections to “tradition.” Creative practices such as Urban Art help cultivate an attractive urban image. I argue that the tours dramatize three issues at the heart of both creative cities discourse and the challenges and the frictions that occur in institutionalizing graffiti, namely: mobility, ephemerality, and economy.


Les dades de descàrrega encara no estan disponibles.


Austin, J. (2001). Taking the train. New York: Columbia University Press.

Banet-Weiser, Sarah. "Convergence on the street: Rethinking the authentic/commercial binary."

Cultural Studies 25, no. 4-5 (2011): 641-658.

Bloch, S. (2020). Going all city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Bruce, C.F. (2016): “Tour 13: From Precarity to Ephemerality,” GeoHumanities, DOI:

1080/2373566X.2016.1234352 Bruce, C.F. (2019). Painting Publics: Transnational Legal Graffiti

Scenes as Spaces for Encounter. Philadelphia: Temple

University Press.

Camarena, D. (2001). “Recopilación gráfica de graffiti en León,” unpublished undergraduate thesis,

Universidad Iberoamericana León.

Campbell, B. (2003). Mexican murals in times of crisis. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Cockcroft, E., Weber, J. and Cockcroft, J. (1977). Toward a People's Art. New York: Dutton.

Coffey, M. K. (2012). How a revolutionary art became official culture. Durham: Duke University

Press. Ferrell, J. (1993). Crimes of Style: Urban Graffiti and the Politics of Criminality.


Galvis, J. P. (2017). Planning for urban life: Equality, order, and exclusion in Bogotá's lively

public spaces. Journal of Latin American Geography, 16(3), 83-105.

García Canclini, N. (2001) Consumers and Citizens: Globalization and Multicultural Conflicts,

trans. George Yúdice.

Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Gómez Vargas, H. (2020). Personal communication with author.

Hernández Sánchez, P. (2008), La Historia de Graffiti en Mexico 2.0. Mexico: IMJUV

Hernández, L. (2018). Personal Interview, December 13. León Guanajuato.

IMPLAN (2018). Programa “Construcción de EntornosSeguros,” Gobierno_2018-2021.pdf, p. 45-46, Accessed

February 2,2022

Instituto Municipal de Juventud. (2020). Creatividad Urbana: el arteen las calles de León. León,

Guanajuato: Instituto Municipal de Juventud.

Janoschka M. and Sequera J. (2016). “Gentrification in Latin America: Addressing the Politics and

Geographies of Displacement,” Urban Geography volume 37, no. 8: 1175-1194.

Jasso, R. (2013). “León Pinta Su Pared,” Revista Cultura Alternativa, Publication of the Instituto

Cultural de León, no 33, p.9. Keim. (2016). Personal Interview, May 2. León Guanajuato.

Latorre, G. (2019). Democracy on the Wall: Street Art of the Post-dictatorship Era in Chile.

Columbus: The Ohio State University Press.

Lennon, J. (2022). Conflict Graffiti: From Revolution to Gentrification. Chicago: University of

Chicago Press. MacDowell L. (2019). Instafame: Graffiti and Street Art in the Instagram Era, United

Kingdom, New York: Intellect Books. McAuliffe, C. (2012). Graffiti or street art? Negotiating the

moral geographies of the creative city. Journal of Urban

Affairs, 34(2), 189-206.

McRobbie, A. (2018). Be creative: Making a living in the new culture industries. London: John Wiley

& Sons.

Merrill, S. (2021). Buffing and buffering Blu: the societal performance of street art, heritage

erasure and digital preservation in Berlin. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 27(6),


Merriman, P., Jones, R., Cresswell, T., Divall, C., Mom, G., Sheller, M., & Urry, J. (2013).

Mobility: Geographies, histories, sociologies. Transfers, 3(1), 147-165.

Mould, O. (2018). Against creativity. New York: Verso Books. Nickis. (2015) Personal Interview, May

León Guanajuato. Orion (2015) Personal Interview, May 13, León Guanajuato.

Ortiz van Meerbeke, G., & Sletto, B. (2019). ‘Graffiti takes its own space’ Negotiated consent and

the positionings of street artists and graffiti writers in Bogotá, Colombia. City, 23(3), 366-387.

Pabón-Colón, J. N. (2018). Graffiti Grrlz: Performing Feminism in the Hip Hop Diaspora. New York:

NYU Press.

Pezzullo, P. C. (2003). Touring “Cancer Alley,” Louisiana: Performances of community and memory for

environmental justice. Text and Performance Quarterly, 23(3), 226-252.

Rangel, P. (2019). Personal Interview, September 17, Mexico City, Mexico.

Richards, G. (2011). “Creativity and Tourism: The State of the Art,” Annals of Tourism Research

(4), 1225-1253. Rodríguez, C. (2017). “Plasman artistas un genio en panteón,” El Sol de León,

October 31, <https://www.elsoldeleon.>. Access date: March 2, 2019.

Rolston, B. (2003). Changing the political landscape: murals and transition in Northern Ireland.

Irish Studies Review, 11(1), 3-16.

Rius-Ulldemolins, J. (2014). Culture and authenticity in urban regeneration processes: Place

branding in central Barcelona. Urban studies, 51(14), 3026-3045.

Salazar, N. B. (2018). Theorizing mobility through concepts and figures. Tempo Social, 30(2),

-168. Spok (2015). Personal Interview, May 11, León Guanajuato.

Swanson, K. (2013). Zero tolerance in Latin America: Punitive paradox in urban policy mobilities.

Urban Geography, 34(7), 972-988.

Téllez Valencia, C. (2014). La construcción de la tecnocraciaen León y suproyectoinacabado de

participación social.

Relaciones. Estudios de historia y sociedad, 35(138), 209-243.

Wilson, D. (2017). Making Creative Cities in the Global West: The New Polarization and

Ghettoization in Cleveland, USA, and Glasgow, UK. In Inequalities in Creative Cities (pp. 107-127).

New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Young, A. (2010). Negotiated consent or zero tolerance? Responding to graffiti and street art in


City, 14(1-2), 99-114.

Young, A. (2013). Street art, public city: Law, crime and the urban imagination. Routledge.

Wes (2015). Personal interview, May 13, León Guanajuato.




Com citar

Bruce, C. F. (2023) “Mobility, Ephemerality and Tourist Economies: Graffiti Running Tours in León Guanajuato”, Debats. Revista de cultura, poder i societat, 2023(8), pp. 51–66. Available at: (Accessed: 21 May 2024).