Journal summary: JHT focuses on exploring the many facets of one of the most notable and widespread types of tourism. Heritage tourism is among the very oldest forms of travel. Activities such as visits to sites of historical importance, including built environments and urban areas, rural and agricultural landscapes, natural regions, locations where historic events occurred and places where interesting and significant living cultures dominate are all forms of heritage tourism. As such, this form of tourism dominates the industry in many parts of the world and involves millions of people.
During the past 20 years, the study of tourism has become highly fragmented and specialised into various theme areas, or concentrations. Within this context, heritage tourism is one of the most commonly investigated forms of tourism, and hundreds of scholars and industry workers are involved in researching its dynamics and concepts. This academic attention has resulted in the publication of hundreds of refereed articles in various scholarly media, yet, until now there has been no journal devoted specifically to heritage tourism; Journal of Heritage Tourism was launched to fill this gap.
JHT seeks to critically examine all aspects of heritage tourism. Some of the topics to be explored within the context of heritage tourism will include colonial heritage, commodification, interpretation, urban renewal, religious tourism, genealogy, patriotism, nostalgia, folklore, power, funding, contested heritage, historic sites, identity, industrial heritage, marketing, conservation, ethnicity, education and indigenous heritage.
In pulling together ideas for a couple of upcoming talks, the Framework for Policy Research which the now defunct UK Historic Environment Research Group (UKHRG) created in 2005 re-emerged from my filing system. I was running part of the Heritage Futures programme at Glasgow Caledonian University at that point, producing regular e-updates covering research, data and knowledge which was of relevance for the sector. The Framework still has questions that are relevant, and which are now being addressed in a variety of ways through the Heritage Counts / Heritage Auditing programmes in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as via research supported through research councils such as the AHRC.
It is pleasing to see that an ecosystem of heritage research of relevance to policy is now well established, though there are still challenges in capturing all the potentially useful bits of knowledge that are ‘out there’. An oft-quoted mantra within the sector is that we don’t have enough evidence to make conclusive arguments (usually in the public policy arena). I remain firmly of the opinion that we are actually drowning in evidence – it can be found across academic research, grey literature, institutional data etc. Our problem remains in effectively signposting, synthesising and translating/using the evidence effectively. It is a knowledge management challenge, not a lack of data and information problem, so discussions underway in England about the potential development of a Heritage Observatory (which I have been making noise about for years!) is exciting.
I am finalising ideas for a talk next week for the Praxis programme at the University of Leeds, considering how best to engage with the policy progress from an academic standpoint. I have been asked to talk due to my career path which has weaved backwards and forwards between industry and applied research as a very practical academic and hands-on manager (of projects, people and bits of Universities and charities), always within or closely aligned to the heritage sector.
The organisers are indulging me, so I have prepared the short talk from a autobiographical standpoint, using some case studies to illustrate different points on a personal journey working between policy and practice over an extended period (rather than advising on policy input per se). I am hoping that this may be a useful counterpoint to the typical “here’s what is expected of you as researchers to achieve impact” to think about longer term opportunities and trajectories for not only applying findings back into policy as an influencer, but also career and skills development, as well and managing different requirements and expectations of stakeholders along the way.
It has been a useful exercise for me in the preparation of the talk to begin to see the common threads in some of the wildly different and disparate things that I have been involved with over the last 25 years, and remind myself about still useful and relevant items stored in the far reaches of my files and notes.
The Troy: Myth and Reality exhibition at the British Museum has just opened in Gallery 30. The beautifully designed exhibition takes the visitor from the Skaian Gate at Troy through to the installation of the Shield of Achilles.
The narrative of the Trojan War was supported by a range of objects, underpinned with figure-decorated pottery from the museum’s extensive collection. One of the first pieces on display is the Geometric ‘Nestor’s cup’ from Pithekoussai (‘I am the cup of Nestor, good to drink from’).
There is a section on the excavations at Troy, and another one on the documentary evidence. The final section is on the reception of Troy, and includes a poem written by a British officer at Gallipoli in his copy of The Shropshire Lad.
The exhibition contained two late 15th century Italian panels by Biagio d’Antonio (on loan from the Fitzwilliam Museum) showing the Death of Hector and the Wooden Horse entering the city.
Schliemann’s part in the uncovering of Troy was explored a space that displayed some of the finds from the excavations against a backdrop of the great trench.
What were the personal highlights in the exhibition? The Roman silver kantharoi from Hoby in Denmark were stunning pieces of luxury art. The representation of Priam seeking the return of Hektor’s body before Achilles on one of them was moving.
The real surprise was the Roman sarcophagus from Ephesus that now forms part of the collection at Woburn Abbey. This scene shows the weighing of Hektor’s body.
This is one of the best temporary exhibitions to be mounted in Room 30. The design and installation of the exhibition was inspired, especially the graphics explaining the iconography on Attic figure-decorated pottery.
Journal summary: The Journal is an output of the Design History Society. Founded in 1977, the Design History Society works internationally to promote and support the study and understanding of design history. The Journal plays an active role in the development of design history (including the history of the crafts and applied arts), as well as contributing to the broader field of studies of visual and material culture.
Journal summary: Launched in 2011, the ENCATC Journal of Cultural Management and Policy has changed its name to the European Journal of Cultural Management and Policy (ISSN 2663-5771). It is an annual publication with articles on cultural research.
The objective of the Journal is to stimulate the debate on the topics of cultural management and cultural policy among scholars, educators, policy makers and cultural managers. The Journal is based on a multidisciplinary perspective and aims at connecting theory and practice in the realm of the cultural sector.