Call for Papers

Tourism and the Shifting Values of Cultural Heritage: Visiting Pasts, Developing Futures 

 University of Birmingham – Ironbridge Institute


National Taiwan University 

in association with 

 UNESCO UNITWIN Network – Tourism, Culture, Development

(Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)


Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, UK 

April 5-9, 2013, Taipei, Taiwan

The cultural heritage of nation states, regions and communities is not only seen as a marker of identity but is also, more than ever, open and projected for global consumption. Domestic and international tourists visit both their own pasts and those of others through a vast diversity of tangible heritage sites – buildings, monuments, museums, landscapes etc. – and also a variety of intangible heritage rituals and performances. But the motivations and practices of those which are involved in the protection, preservation, display and management of cultural heritage can, and frequently do, differ from tourists who metaphorically ‘visit’ the past and, the tourism sector which selectively packages the past in the form of heritage. Such divergences reflect the different values attached to cultural heritage and the different value systems through which heritage is filtered.

In this context, this conference seeks to examine both the tensions and opportunities in the processes of valuing and protecting cultural heritage and, in mobilising it for development purposes in the wider social sphere. We wish to explore how heritage ‘works’ in the context of shifting and mobile values and, the various ways in which tourism and tourists shape, embed and change the value of heritage in societies.

  • How does the doing of tourism and the being a tourist, impact upon our understandings and appreciation of cultural heritage?
  • How do our values regarding the past change?
  • How do/should we communicate cultural heritage to tourists and society at large, in an age of immediacy, a time of multiple realities and in multi-cultural societies?

Such questions underpin the policies and politics of cultural heritage and the dynamics of international tourism.

The Conference aims to provide critical dialogue beyond disciplinary boundaries and we invite papers from all disciplines and fields including: anthropology, archaeology, art history, architecture, cultural geography, cultural studies, ethnology and folklore, economics, history, heritage studies, landscape studies, leisure studies, museum studies, philosophy, political science, sociology, tourism studies and urban/spatial planning.

We welcome perspectives on all aspects of the tourism and cultural heritage relationship. Papers dealing with all categories of heritage are invited – world heritage, natural heritage, built and urban heritage, colonial heritage, religious heritage, heritage landscapes, intangible heritage, museum heritage, food heritage etc. etc. Potential themes of interest include:

  • Understanding tourist experiences of heritage sites – narrative, memory and emotion
  • Interpreting and communicating the values of heritage – engaging complex audiences
  • Identity building through tangible and intangible heritage – challenging traditions
  • Regeneration programmes based on heritage – economies of nostalgia
  • Processes of commodifying pasts for touristic consumption – (dis)inventing tradition
  • Heritages of conflict – power, glory and displacement
  • Mobile heritage – diasporas, routes and roots

Please send a 300 word abstract of your paper with a clear title to as soon as possible but no later than October 5th 2012.

Please be sure to include your full contact details.

With best wishes

Professor Mike Robinson
Chair of Cultural Heritage
University of Birmingham


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