Burns & Lester: Visual Narratives in Tourism

LearnHigher funding was used to purchase four solid state camcorders and two digital cameras for use in the Tourism and Photography module. 

The aim was to help students to engage more fully with theoretical discussions of the visual culture of tourism by constructing their own representations.Students carried out a piece of fieldwork in which they were asked to construct a visual narrative, using still images or video, in relation to Eastbourne as a seaside town and holiday destination.  Students and tutors were impressed by the final presentations and the effort, energy and enthusiasm that had gone into these. Follow the link below for a short presentation on the project Burns and Lester LTconference2008-24z6b0t .

In addition, LearnHigher helped fund the creation of an exhibition space within the School to highlight visually oriented research and supported an international symposium on the visual nature of tourism GAZING, GLANCING, GLIMPSING: TOURISTS AND TOURISM IN A VISUAL WORLD, hosted by the School of Service Management. Peter Burns, one of the conference conveners, commented ‘At the heart of this three day event is the idea that tourism is a visual experience.’  He went on to explain that images of people and places portrayed by the travel industry have impacts on destinations.  “If the place you live is promoted as a kind of Paradise, be it Eastbourne or Easter islands, then you are bound to think differently about it and this may affect how you live your life.”  These images, as well as postcards, drawings, home movies and films inform people’s ideas and choices of travel destinations. Dr Susan Keitumetse from University of Botswana has used visual methods in her fieldwork, using drawings to gain insight into local people’s perception of tourism in Botswana.
“Tourism and travel assaults the visual senses and generates much excitement. Whilst sustainable tourism and the economics of tourism are constantly debated, the importance of imagery in tourism receives less attention.”

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