We know that context conditions, but the individual in turn is a agent of change of the environment. This is one of many reasons why psychology has to be especially sensitive to the psychobiological processes of people in order to understand them and establish effective strategies to favour these processes of change and reciprocal learning between professionals and participants.

In the case of the participatory murals through the technique of graffiti in different educational environments, in this case non formal ones, we see how a strategy properly adapted to the context is a very useful tool to detect possible problems and transform the perception of the reality of the participants.

Why the graffiti?

We call participatory murals through the graffiti technique because graffiti itself is given with other pretexts, but at the same time it is a tool through which one can promote the feeling of belonging to a team, and at the same time bring out the individualizing elements of each subject. A visual and striking technique such as this is transformative of the environment, and if it occurs through teamwork, it creates endless creative possibilities in the process of creating a mural.

The graffiti is framed within the movement Hip Hop . In May 2001, a document called ” Hip Hop Peace Declaration ” was presented to the UN, in which the philosophical bases of the movement were established by referent figures in the field. These articles are in tune with the educational practices that are considered valid for social transformation and the development of the self, so it can be considered a decalogue to understand what theoretical framework encompasses the practice of this discipline of Hip Hop.

Developmental theories: Piaget and Vigotsky

According to the theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vigotsky we can observe how environment and genetics interact in the creation of identity and cognitive schemes. Taking into account the main criticisms of each model, in this case, the theory of proximal development is better adapted, since we do not deal with the same profiles according to the context, for example a CRAE and a neighbourhood house . The stages of development must be taken into account, but the differences inherent in each environment mean that there may be a gap between the ages proposed by Piaget.

A point to take into account for the exercise of psychology is the transcultural competences , since in a context of globalization like the present one, we can deal with people of different beliefs and cultures. The adaptation of the technique and treatment to the principles of each culture becomes indispensable for the creation of positive links between psychologists and participants (Wen-Shing, 2004).

Individual differences and the creation of contexts felt as their own

The use given to the environment is not the same in a CRAE as in a casal de barrio , on this basis, it is necessary to detect which is the emotional link to the space and among the participants in order to be able to generate strategies that can transform negative connotations into a range of possibilities with a positive approach. These relationships can be observed during the course of the activity, in how they are treated and how they interact with each other. To this end, a free space is created where ideas can be expressed and actions taken in a natural way under the premise of respect. We must not forget the previous decalogue to give meaning to the activity and the real background it has.

The exposition of ideas and the consensus serve to decide which elements will be part of the mural and its interpretation. In this process, the subjective concepts of perception beauty in art come to light, but the main objective is not to create works that will be judged later, but to generate a graphic expression of the psychobiological and emotional processes of the participants. Encouraging the capacity for abstraction can be a positive factor when interpreting a drawing, a detail, a set of colours… because as in the principles of art therapy , meaning is not only in the symbolism and in what is perceptible at first sight.

Once the sketch of the mural is created through the opinions of the participants, the creation of a ” crew ” can be proposed, which in the context of graffiti means: “organized group that works to achieve collective goals”. This serves to materialise the feeling of belonging to a group through the combination of words and numbers that give meaning to why they are together and work as a team.

To finish the process of creating a participative mural it is necessary to capture it through the technique of graffiti on a wall or a ceiling. The aim of creating this graphic expression is to transform the context according to the individual differences of the participants in each environment, and that in turn, this transformation has a positive influence on the individuals. The pictorial and interpretative results will be different in each environment, but the point of union in each context, is the interiorization of an experience and the processes lived in it.


The creation of creative contexts in which the dynamics are adapted to the participants, in a way that they themselves set the pace and can be free to express themselves, is a way of minimizing the Pygmalion Effect associated with conventional educational practices and the paradigm from which one starts when “educating”. The processes of learning are reciprocal , and an open position on the part of the professionals helps this.

Since the different realities from which the participants come according to their environment can create cognitive dissonances to professionals between the expectations and processes experienced during the activity. It must be taken into account that the theories that are the object of study in Psychology and in other disciplines were generated in a specific context, but that context can be transformed, and we must do so with it .

Bibliographic references:

  • Wen-Shing, T. (2004). Culture and psychotherapy: Asian perspectives. Journal of Mental Health , 13(2), 151-161.