Emma Arnold works at the intersection of urban and cultural geography. Her research interests include urban aesthetic politics, the geographies of graffiti and street art, politics of outdoor advertising, and connections between art and the environment. Her current research explores artistic responses to climate change, with a specific focus on art created or performed in urban space.
Emma Arnold holds a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Oslo. Her doctoral research used psychogeographic walking — getting lost in the city — and photography to study the aesthetic implications of zero tolerance policy against graffiti. Combining sensory and artistic methods of psychogeographic walking and photography and taking Oslo as its main case, this study examined how policy affects the visual urban landscape. Through walking over 300 km and taking more than 25 000 photographs, this work discovered that zero tolerance affects the city in diverse ways. This research challenges the reader to think about the aesthetics of the city in new ways, suggesting that illegal interventions like tagging can be seen as meaningful and important expressions of democracy while legal advertising may have a number of negative and troubling effects. In 1 essay, 3 journal articles, and an original book of photographs, this study contributes to research on zero tolerance and the policing of graffiti. This study is unique in its aesthetic approach as well as its innovative use of methodology and demonstrates new and exciting ways of doing and presenting urban research.