‘Packaging up Death & the Dead’ for the Contemporary Visitor Economy
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‘Packaging up Death & the Dead’ for the Contemporary Visitor Economy

‘Packaging up Death & the Dead’ for the Contemporary Visitor Economy

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Lancaster Castle

Castle Parade

Lancaster, United Kingdom

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‘Packaging up Death & the Dead’ for the Contemporary Visitor Economy:

A Dark Tourism & Heritage Perspective


Part of the ‘Encountering Corpses’ ESRC Seminar Series 2014-2017


A full day symposium ‘Packaging up Death & the Dead’ for the Contemporary Visitor Economy: A Dark Tourism & Heritage Perspective will held within the former ‘A wing’ of HM Lancaster Prison at Lancaster Castle on 19 October 2016.  

This multi-disciplinary symposium, convened by Dr Philip Stone, invites speakers from the UK and USA to examine fundamental relationships of dark tourism – that is, travel to sites of death, disaster, or the seemingly macabre – with the cultural condition of contemporary society. Particularly, the symposium will critically explore how death and the dead are ‘packaged up’ or commodified for the contemporary global visitor economy, and the implications and consequences thereof.

The symposium is aimed at academics and teachers, undergraduate and postgraduate students, tourism and heritage industry professionals, museum curators, local government, as well as interested media.

 

The symposium is FREE of charge to attend, but registration is essential.


Symposium Schedule

10.30

Registration & Morning   Coffee

 

11.00

Welcome Address

Professor Craig Young

(Professor of Human Geography)

Manchester Metropolitan University

‘Encountering Corpses’: ESRC Seminar Series   2014-2017


11.15

Introductory Presentation

Dr Philip Stone

University of Central Lancashire

‘A Commodification of Death’ – Dark Tourism & Difficult Heritage

 

11.45

Keynote Address

Professor Mary Margaret Kerr

University of Pittsburgh

Overlooked Encounters with Death:  Child Tourists at Dark Sites


12.45

Luncheon


13.30

Professor Alan Rice

University of Central Lancashire

Lancaster's Slave Heritage and the work of Guerrilla Memorialisation

 

14.00

Dr Paul Fallon

Sheffield Hallam University

Co-creating Dark Tourism Experiences: A ‘Heroes   Return’ Case

 

14.30

Afternoon Tea

 

14.45

Dr Sarah Hodgkinson

University of Leicester

Haunting (Hi)stories of the English Gaol: Re-Imagining our Carceral Past

 

15.15

Dr Daniel Wright

University of Central Lancashire

‘Hunting Humans?’ A   Future for Tourism in the Year 2200
   
  

15.45

Symposium Audience Q&A

Chaired by

Professor  Richard Sharpley

(Professor of Tourism   and Development)

University of Central Lancashire

 

16.30

Closing Remarks

Professor Craig Young

 

16.35

Symposium Close

 


Presentation Abstracts

 

Professor Mary Margaret Kerr

Overlooked Encounters with Death: Child Tourists at Dark Sites

Synopsis

Each year, thousands of children visit museums, battlegrounds, cemeteries, and other sites associated with death.  Yet, research has largely overlooked their encounters.  Adult dark tourism theories cannot account for four factors unique to children:  a) incomplete understanding of death; b) lack of agency in choosing travel destinations; c) youthful exploratory behaviour; and d) emotional vulnerability.  To pursue a new theoretical framework for young tourists’ behavior, meaning making, and emotions at dark sites, new research has commenced.  Teams first studied young visitor comments and tributes at two 9/11 memorials.  Then, adapting research methods from child-centered disciplines, teams launched ethnographic studies with young adolescents on extended school excursions.  Over one hundred youth generated comments, photographs, and interview responses as they visited memorials, cemeteries, and museums, thereby illuminating their encounters with death and suggesting future research directions.

 

Professor Alan Rice

Lancaster's Slave Heritage and the work of Guerrilla Memorialisation

Synopsis

This paper will explore remnants of Lancaster's slaving history in its built environment and the way contemporary artists, educators and activists have used techniques of guerrilla memorialisation to ensure that the history is not forgotten. Looking at sites including Sambo's Grave, Castle Hill, the Judge's Lodgings and the Quayside the paper will use memory studies theories by Glissant, Gilroy, Nora and Rothberg to understand the interaction between historical and artistic narratives (by artists such as Sue Flowers, Lubaina Himid and Kevin Dalton Johnson) and the way that a multidimensional approach is needed to fully apprehend the multiple meanings of slavery then and now in the urban environment of Northern Britain. 


Dr Paul Fallon

Co-creating Dark Tourism Experiences: A ‘Heroes Return’ Case

Synopsis

This presentation investigates the behaviour and experiences of a veteran and his son returning to two theatres of war in which the father had served in the Royal Navy during World War Two. Active interviews provide rich data regarding the two extended trips, which had been funded by 'Heroes Return'; to Australia in 2012 and Sri Lanka in 2013. The findings indicate that some of the facets of visiting the fallen at other dark tourism sites, such as empathetic identification and personal connection, are also very relevant to trips shared between the living. However, with the living these contribute to a powerful co-created experience in which 'closer' bonds between the travellers can be developed. Furthermore, whilst the experiences at times represent 'bittersweet' nostalgia for the veteran, they also provide the son with an opportunity to 'look through his father's eyes' from both a past and current perspective.


Dr Sarah Hodgkinson

Haunting (Hi)stories of the English Gaol: Re-Imagining our Carceral Past

Synopsis

The spectacle of punishment and prisons has always held an enduring fascination for the British public. Historically crowds flocked to witness public punishments and execution, but as these retreated within the prison walls the desire to consume tales and images of criminals, and witness their suffering, remained. This penal spectatorship continues to the present day, where prison tourism has become a core sector of the tourism industry, especially in North America and Australasia with their opposing former penitentiaries. Prison tourism within the UK is somewhat less well developed; lacking comparable decommissioned and preserved sites of mass incarceration. The (penal) tourist gaze therefore tends to focus on the ‘birth’ of the modern prison from small-scale local gaols. Narratives at these sites emphasise the inhumane and brutalising regimes, and foreground histories of suffering and death. More recent trends further capitalise on ‘new’ tourism markets such as the ghost tour or paranormal investigation. Such constructions are both ‘haunting’ – highlighting the darker aspects of our penal history – and ‘haunted’ – re-imagining these spaces as the abode of disembodied former inmates and staff. They offer these ‘ghostly thrills’ often at the expense of historical authenticity. The presentation will mainly draw upon research conducted at two former Georgian/Victorian English gaols – The Galleries of Justice, Nottingham and Derby Gaol. 


Dr Daniel Wright

‘Hunting Humans?’ A Future for Tourism in the Year 2200

Synopsis

A world without violence, war or terrorism, where humanity resides in peace is what we, as a collective, should strive for. Moreover, tourism is the collective movement of people for largely hedonistic motivations. Yet what societies and tourism will look like in the distant future is open to debate and interpretation. In this presentation I explore past and current societal trends and, in so doing, offer a deliberately provocative dystopian future where violence and human assassination are normalized as entertainment through tourism. Ultimately, I offer a challenging and obscure future which undoubtedly will provoke deliberation and emotion.


Dr Philip Stone

‘A Commodification of Death’ – Dark Tourism & Difficult Heritage

Synopsis

Over the past twenty years or so there has been an increasing academic and media focus on contemporary ‘dark tourism’ – that is, travel to sites associated with death, disaster, or the seemingly macabre. Dark tourism has the capacity to expand boundaries of the imagination and to provide the contemporary visitor with potentially life-changing points of shock. Consequently, sites of dark tourism are vernacular spaces that are continually negotiated, constructed and reconstructed into meaningful places. Furthermore, dark tourism can represent inherent political dichotomies of displaced heritage and, in so doing, offer a socially sanctioned, if not contested, environment in which difficult heritage is consumed. The purpose of my presentation, therefore, is to reflect upon two decades of interdisciplinary research and to outline key parameters of dark tourism and its fundamental interrelationships with ‘difficult’ heritage and the broader visitor economy. I reveal that dark tourism, while being a contested term, is simply a global scholarly brand that can shine critical light on the touristic consumption of ‘heritage that hurts’. Indeed, discourses of both cultural heritage and dark tourism converge and cluster readily when themes of war, disaster, tragedy or social conflict, and memory and identity are in question. However, interpretations of these themes are understandably prone to concerns about dissonance, inclusion, exploitation, sensitivity and appropriateness, and are vulnerable to ideological shifts. Therefore, I argue that developing touristic opportunities at particular difficult heritage sites is an increasing, perhaps inevitable, feature of creating contemporary traumascapes in shifting political and socio-cultural contexts. I also suggest that dark tourism scholarship is likely to find a growing mutuality with those of cultural heritage studies and indeed other associated subject fields. Ultimately, as heritage concerns and systems are further globalised and integrated by political institutions and processes, dark tourism will provide a heritage mechanism in which death is democratised and shared and narrated for the contemporary visitor economy.        



Speaker Profiles

Professor Mary Margaret Kerr

University of Pittsburgh, USA

A graduate of Duke University and American University, Mary Margaret Kerr is Professor and Chair of Administrative and Policy Studies, and Professor of Psychology in Education, and Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, in the US. Trained in children’s mental health, she has responded to over 1000 child-related crises, including the TWA 800 and USAir 427 airline disasters. Dr. Kerr’s research team studies the experiences of children who visit the Flight 93 (9/11) National Memorial, the Pentagon Memorial, the Holocaust National Memorial Museum, and other such dark heritage sites. Children join her team as active researchers of their own tourism experiences. This work will appear in the upcoming Palgrave Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies. Dr. Kerr’s second area of research explores the emotional lives of teachers and students and has provided case material for two textbooks: Strategies for Addressing Behavioral Problems in the Classroom, now in its 6th edition, and School Crisis Prevention and Intervention.



Professor Alan Rice

University of Central Lancashire, UK

Alan Rice is Professor in English and American Studies at the University of Central Lancashire. Alan teaches across a range of subjects for the literature and cultural team at UCLan and is an expert in the field of the Black Atlantic where his scholarship has led to collaborative projects with museums and community organisations. In 2007 he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for his contributions to teaching. Alan has published widely in African American Studies, Transatlantic Cultural Studies and also in Ethnic Studies. His latest monograph project Creating Memorials, Building Identities: The Politics of Memory in the Black Atlantic (Liverpool University Press) was published in 2010 and was written with the help of an AHRC research grant. His first interdisciplinary monograph Radical Narratives of the Black Atlantic was published by Continuum Press in 2003 and garnered significant praise. Owen Robinson in the Journal of American Studies praised a “finely drawn, persuasive and continually fascinating” study “at once intellectually rigorous and appropriately moving”. He was academic advisor to and board member of the Slave Trade Arts Memorial Project (STAMP) in Lancaster which was responsible for the commissioning and building of the first British quayside monument to the victims of the slave trade unveiled in Lancaster in October 2005. He has given public lectures and keynote presentations in Britain, Irelands, Germany, the United State and France and contributed to documentaries for the BBC, Border Television and public broadcasting in America. He is an advisor to museums in Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester. He co-curated an exhibition ‘Trade and Empire: Remembering Slavery’ at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester which opened in June 2007.



Dr Paul Fallon

Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Paul Fallon is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism at Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University. Paul’s current role is mainly a teaching one, but he is an active researcher and reviewer, and also one of the coordinators of the Network of Tourism Academics (a support network for tourism researchers in the UK). His main research interests relate to consumer behaviour within the tourism sector, although his first passion is history.  The key ideas of this paper have recently been published in the Journal of Heritage Tourism in an article co-written with Peter Robinson entitled ‘Lest we forget’: A veteran and son share a warfare tourism heritage experience (available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1743873X.2016.1201087)



Dr Sarah Hodgkinson

University of Leicester, UK

Sarah Hodgkinson completed her PhD in Psychology at Nottingham Trent University in 2002. She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Criminology, University of Leicester. She has published widely in a range of international peer reviewed journals in both psychology and criminology. Her research interests include crime-related dark tourism (in particular prison and Holocaust tourism), Holocaust representation and memorialization, homicide, and the social construction of ‘evil.’ She is a member of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies (University of Leicester), and has her own Extremes of Human Cruelty Research Network. She is particularly interested in the commodification of history for tourism, dissonant heritage sites, and the ethics of representation. She has recently written a chapter on prison tourism in the UK (with her PhD student Diane Urquhart) for Dark Tourism: Practice and Interpretation, edited by Glenn Hooper and John J. Lennon (Routledge, 2016). She is co-editor of the Palgrave Handbook of Prison Tourism (with Jacqueline Z. Wilson, Justin Piché and Kevin Walby) in which she contributed a chapter (with Diane Urquhart) on ghost tourism in English prisons (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).



Dr Daniel Wright

University of Central Lancashire, UK

Daniel Wright is a Lecturer in Tourism Management at the Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire. Daniel completed his PhD in Disasters Management and, specifically explored the role of the visitor economy and tourism in post-earthquake regeneration and development. He is also an Associate of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research and has published numerous journal article and book chapters in disaster tourism. Daniel also has presented his work internationally, most recently in Peru, where he examined post-disaster regeneration polices. Daniel’s research interests are in dark tourism, tourism photography, and tourism futurology.  



Dr Philip Stone

University of Central Lancashire, UK

Philip Stone is Executive Director of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research (iDTR) at the University of Central Lancashire (UK). He is internationally recognised in the subject field of ‘dark tourism and difficult heritage’ having presented numerous keynote conference addresses across the UK and continental Europe, North America, Asia, and Australasia. Philip also acts as a media consultant to over thirty national and international print and broadcast media outlets, including BBC TV & Radio, CNN, The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, and the New Scientist. Philip, who has a PhD in Thanatology, has published extensively in the area of dark tourism and difficult heritage, including being co-author/editor of books such as The Darker Side of Travel: The Theory and Practice of Dark Tourism (Channel View Publications, 2009); Tourist Experience: Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge, 2011); and The Contemporary Tourist Experience: Concepts and Consequences (Routledge, 2012). Philip is also Editor-in-Chief for The Palgrave Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies (due 2017).


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Lancaster, United Kingdom

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