The Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Mark & St John, Professor Cara Aitchison, delivered a keynote speech at an international conference in Poland on 2 June 2015.
‘Anthropology and Tourism: Heritage and Perspectives’ was organised by the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. The Jagiellonian, founded in 1364, is one of Europe's oldest universities and the conference formed part of the 650th anniversary celebrations.
Professor Aitchison’s paper, 'The place of tourism research: a nomadic subject field in a discipline-based academy' drew on her experience as Chair of the Research Excellence Framework panel for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism during the national exercise that judged the quality of UK research between 2008 and 2014.
Professor Aitchison said: “The conference provided a timely opportunity to evaluate the strength and direction of the sub-discipline of the anthropology of tourism. Anthropology has offered critical insights on the role of tourism and inter-cultural understanding in relation to issues like globalisation, mobility and migration in addition to contributing to the development of more sustainable forms of tourism.”
She joined two other keynote presentations from the 'founding fathers' of the anthropology of tourism: Professor Nelson Graburn from the University of California Berkeley and Professor Tom Selwyn from the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London.
Professor Aitchison added: “There were over 100 papers presented by scholars of anthropology and tourism with many young academics from Poland showing that the country is currently at the forefront of research in the field. As the three keynote speakers we provided a series of master classes for postgraduate students from around the globe, although I think I learned as much from the students as they learned from me!”
Krakow was one of the first cities to be designated a World Heritage Site and was European City of Culture in 2000. There is a strong relationship between culture and education within the city, which is also home to over 80,000 university students.
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