Dark Tourism Current Themes, Issues Consequences Conference

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					         Dark Tourism: Current Themes, Issues &
                Consequences Conference

   UCLan / The Tourism Society / The Dark Tourism Forum

                           Tuesday 27th March
                        Adelphi Conference Centre
                            9.30am – 3.30pm

                             General Background
Deaths, disasters and atrocities in touristic form are becoming an increasingly
pervasive feature within the contemporary tourism landscape. Indeed, the
seemingly macabre within tourism includes people gazing upon former sites of
war and battle, whereby organised violence is brought back to life by tour guides
offering accounts of heroism, tragedy and personal torment. Similarly, the
present day ‘tourist’ can take in Ground Zero, the site of mass murder and
carnage on September 11, whilst on a trip to the Big Apple. Other examples of
this death-related tourism include excursionists sightseeing in the ruins of New
Orleans (after Hurricane Katrina), day-trippers touring the Gulags of the former
Soviet Union, and visitors purchasing an ‘atrocity experience’ at former genocide
sites such as Auschwitz-Birkenau or the Killing Fields of Cambodia.

Consequently, the phenomenon by which people visit, purposefully or as part of a
broader recreational itinerary, the diverse range of sites, attractions and
exhibitions which offer a (re)presentation of death, suffering and the macabre is
ostensibly growing within contemporary society. Indeed, it is this seemingly
proliferation of ‘tourists’ gazing upon death and ‘other’ suffering that has ushered
in the rather emotive label of ‘dark tourism’ into academic and media discourse.

Dark tourism, the generic term for travel associated with death, tragedy and
disaster has, over the past few years, witnessed increasing attention from the
academic community and media alike. As a result, the area of dark tourism has
become a fascinating and important subject to research, both with its implications
for the tourism industry, in addition to exploring fundamental relationships with
the wider cultural condition of society. Nevertheless, to date, the dark tourism
literature remains both eclectic and theoretically fragile. That is, various gaps in
our knowledge of dark tourism remain, despite an increasingly number of
academics who are beginning to turn their attention to this intriguing research

Indeed, many questions remain unanswered about both the production and
consumption of dark tourism. Those questions often revolve around visitor
typologies, consumption and the motivational drivers of 'dark tourists'.
Importantly, questions are now being raised about the role and influence of
contemporary society, and in particular, the nature of death and dying upon dark
tourism consumption.

In addition, dark tourism sites, attractions and exhibitions often present
governing bodies and managers with complex moral and ethical dilemmas. Other
issues surround the dynamics of commercial development and exploitation, the
nature of political heritage and ideology, the act of remembrance, and the role of
the media in reporting dark tourism. These issues are often compounded by the
extent and type of interpretation and representation employed at 'dark sites'.

Consequently, dark tourism raises questions about appropriate political and
managerial responses to the range of experiences perceived by visitors, local
residents, victims and their relatives.

Hence, dark tourism is a fascinating, provocative and emotive concept and
requires much more research in order to address some of the issues raised here.
However that task is now well underway, and this one-day conference event will
showcase and highlight some of the major themes, issues and consequences for
both the ‘dark tourism’ industry and future dark tourism research. Today’s event
also acts a precursor to a larger traditional international academic conference on
dark tourism and its related subject areas, to be held at UCLan within the next 18

                                                               Dark Tourism Attraction:
                                                                  London Dungeon
                           Presenter Profiles

                          Professor Richard Sharpley
                             (University of Lincoln)
             ‘Dark Tourism: Shedding Light on a Fuzzy Concept’
Professor Richard Sharpley is a Professor of Tourism and Head of Department at
the University of Lincoln. Richard, a well known author in tourism studies, has
published widely in academic journals, particularly in the areas of rural tourism
and sustainable tourism development. He has also authored a number of text
books, presented at international conferences, as well as acting as a consultant to
industry. His current research interests include rural tourism, the sociology of
tourism, and the spiritual dimensions of tourism. Richard’s presentation today will
outline the nature of dark tourism products and experiences.

                             Professor John Lennon
                       (Glasgow Caledonian University)
               ‘Tragedy and Heritage: The Case of Cambodia’
John holds the Moffat Chair in Travel and Tourism Business Development at the
Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism Business Development based in Glasgow
Caledonian University, Scotland. John provides leadership in both consultancy
and research activities at the centre. This centre provides consultancy and
contract research to the travel and tourism industry, both nationally and
internationally. His work is well known internationally, he has published widely
with journal articles, consultancy reports and books. His book, with Macolm Foley,
‘Dark Tourism: The Attraction of Death and Disaster’ is the seminal text within
the dark tourism literature at present. John’s presentation today will focus upon
dark tourism within Cambodia.
                             Professor Tony Seaton
                          (University of Bedfordshire)
                      ‘Something nasty in the guidebook:
                 Approaches to Thanatourism Management’
Tony has taught and researched in the fields of marketing, cultural studies and
tourism at five British universities over the past twenty years. He is currently the
Whitbread Professor of Tourism at the University of Bedfordshire. Tony has
written/edited five books and published over seventy articles and papers on
tourism, and is on the editorial board of three international tourism journals. He
has lectured, researched and been visiting fellow or professor in America,
Australia, Scandinavia and many other countries in Europe. He also is a Fellow of
the Royal Society of Arts. His main fields of interest are tourism marketing and
evaluation; heritage tourism, (including book town tourism); literary tourism and
thanatourism; and religious tourism (including monastic tourism and church
visiting). Tony’s presentation today will examine particular managerial
approaches to ‘thanatourism’.

                                   Philip Stone
                       (University of Central Lancashire)
       ‘Making Absent Death Present: Dark Tourism and Mortality in
                             Contemporary Society’
Philip Stone is a Senior Lecturer with the Department of Tourism and Leisure
Management at the University Of Central Lancashire. Philip, a former
Management Consultant and General Manager before entering academia,
currently teaches across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes
in the subject areas of tourism, hospitality and event management. He currently
manages the tourism undergraduate provision for the University, sits on a variety
of academic panels and committees, and has research interests in the
consumption of dark tourism and its fundamental relationship with the cultural
condition of society. He also has research interests in rural tourism and rural
landscape ideology. Philip currently acts a Media Consultant to a variety of
broadcast and print media on the subject of dark tourism. He has published in a
variety of international academic journals, newspapers and the trade press, in
addition to presenting at international conferences. He also gives Guest Lectures
to various universities across the UK and USA. Philip is the Founder and Editor of
The Dark Tourism Forum, and is the Conference Convenor for this event today.
Philip’s presentation will focus upon the potential role dark tourism plays in
confronting our own mortality within contemporary society.

                                  Frank Baldwin
                             (Business Battlefields)
     ‘Business, Battlefields & Tourism – A Practitioner’s Perspective’
Frank Baldwin is a Psychology Graduate of the University of Sheffield and has an
MBA from Warwick Business School. He attended Sandhurst and served in the
Royal Artillery between 1979 and 1989, leaving as a Major. Since then he has
worked for a variety of business and IT consultancies. He was certified as a
member of the Institute of Management Consultants in 1999. He is a member of
the Guild of Battle Guides and is one of a small number who have been awarded
the Guild of Battlefield Guides badge. Frank became interested in using military
history to solve modern problems when looking at the parallels between the
Seven Years War and the modern Army. While completing his MBA at Warwick
Business School he became aware of its application to business. Since then he
has worked with businesses to explore how they can learn to improve their
programme management using historic examples. Frank’s presentation today will
look at battlefields and how industry may incorporate ‘darker’ elements of
battlefield management with business effectiveness.
                                  Rex Bloomstein
                            (Film Director / Producer)
          ‘Injunction and Disjunction: Confronting the Holocaust’
Rex Bloomstein began his career as a documentary director with the BBC in 1970
with cinema verité ‘All In A Day’ studies of British life. His early work centred on a
string of documentaries for U.K. broadcast which exposed realities of prison life
and addressed aspects of the British penal system previously closed to public
scrutiny. These include films such as ‘The Sentence’, ‘Release’, ‘Prisoners’ Wives’,
‘Parole’, ‘Lifers’ and ‘Strangeways’ which won two British Academy Awards: best
documentary series and best single documentary. In 2001 BBC2’s Timewatch
commissioned ‘Strangeways Re-Visited’. Over the years, Rex has produced and
directed a number of acclaimed historical studies for television: ‘Traitors to Hitler’,
‘Martin Luther King – The Legacy’, ‘Auschwitz And The Allies’, ‘The Gathering’ and
‘Attack On The Liberty’. Many have been committed to exploring Holocaust
orientated topics: ‘The Longest Hatred’, a trilogy charting the unique history of
Anti-Semitism and its manifestation in modern society, broadcast in over twenty
countries worldwide; ‘Liberation’ which featured the stories of Allied soldiers who
were the first to enter the Nazi Concentration Camps, part of Channel 4’s season
of programmes marking the anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Rex
is a film maker of power and passion who is still engaging broadcasters and
distributors with his unique, hard hitting, unembellished explorations of life. 'Lifer
– Living With Murder' was broadcast in 2003, and 'Kids Behind Bars' was
broadcast on Channel 4 in August 2005. Rex’s presentation today examines his
recent feature length documentary, KZ, and how the Holocaust is being
confronted by the visitor economy.

                                     Flo Powell
                 (Executive Director of The Tourism Society)
                                 Conference Chair
Flo graduated from Bournemouth University in 2003 with a 1st in Tourism
Studies. She gained an interest in events management during her placement year
at International Students House and started work at the Tourism Society as
Meetings and Events Executive as a graduate. Despite thoroughly enjoying this
role she decided to move on to gain a broader career portfolio and worked for
Events by Appointment; the events division for a corporate travel agency before
returning to the Society as Executive Director in June 2006 where she now runs
the Head Office, publishes the quarterly journal and organizes over 20 events a
year. Flo will Chair proceedings for today’s event.

   Death, Disaster & the Macabre: Discover the ‘darker side’ of tourism
     by visiting The Dark Tourism Forum at www.dark-tourism.org.uk

                     Man with Flayed Skin: Exhibit at Bodyworlds