Audience constructed genre with Instagram: Street art and graffiti

Christopher D. F. Honig, Lachlan MacDowall


This paper provides an accessible methodology for mapping audience-constructed genres using the online image-sharing platform Instagram. We apply the method to classify artists who utilize public space in relation to the categories ‘street art’ and ‘graffiti bombing’ based on correlations between an artist’s Instagram follower audience and general ‘street art’ and ‘graffiti bombing’ accounts. By measuring the artist’s audience at different times, we can map not only their specific audience composition but also project their demographic trajectory. Finally we provide a methodology to estimate the total online audience for a specific genre: how many total Instagram accounts might follow street art content? This methodology can function as a powerful analytical tool, but is also easy to use, even for a researcher with limited mathematical or programming experience.


Instagram; street art; graffiti; genre; audience; cultural analytics; digital humanities

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