Dark Tourism Research Symposium: Memory, Pilgrimage and the Digital Realm

Start date and time

Thursday 5 May 2022


Craiglockhart Campus

The Tourism and Languages Subject Group (the Business School) and the School of Arts and Creative Industries at Edinburgh Napier University are delighted to announce details of a dark tourism research symposium, which will take place at the Craiglockhart Campus at Edinburgh Napier University and online on May 5th, 2022.

A growing interest in dark tourism as a recognised special category of tourism behaviour continues to attract the attention of academics from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, cultural studies and anthropology. Recent contributors to the field have looked at contexts such as gulag tourism in Kazakhstan, edutainment interpretation at ‘lighter’ dark tourism attractions, the ethics and politics of digital displays in police museums, and the use of netnographic research methods to understand the motives and reactions of visitors to iconic Holocaust heritage sites.

This interdisciplinary symposium led by Professor Anne Schwan, Dr Craig Wight, and Dr Phiona Stanley seeks to bring together academics from a range of backgrounds to share ideas and recent research achievements as well as foster conversations between academic researchers and tourism or creative practitioners.
Speakers include:

Kat Brogan (Managing Director, Mercat Tours Edinburgh)

Professor John Lennon (Glasgow Caledonian University)

Professors Justin Piché (University of Ottawa) and Kevin Walby (University of Winnipeg)

Dr Brianna Wyatt (Oxford Brookes University)

Professor Jeffrey S Podoshen (Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania, USA)

The symposium organizers welcome theoretical or applied research contributions in the form of structured abstracts on the following topics:

Digital dark tourism, including, but not limited to netnographic research and the uses of social media and web 2.0 in dark tourism
Dark tourism and memory
Visitor motives and visitor interpretation
Ethics and social justice in relation to dark tourism sites
Prisons and other penal history sites as examples of dark tourism
Creative practice artefacts involving dark tourism, e.g. films/photographs/installations
Dark tourism, mobilities and pilgrimage
Novel research methodological approaches and dark tourism
Deadline for abstract submissions: 1st February 2022

Please send your 250-word abstract and a short biographical statement (no more than 100 words) to darktourism@napier.ac.uk.

Symposium Programme

Dark Tourism: Memory, Pilgrimage and the Digital Realm

May 5th, 2022

Edinburgh Napier University
Craiglockhart Campus, 219 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH14 1DJ

Organisers: Craig Wight, Anne Schwan and Phiona Stanley. Special thanks to the Tourism Research Centre, Chaired by Anna Leask, and the Centre for Arts, Media and Culture Chaired by Anne Schwan for sponsoring this event.

08.45-9.00 Registration (Foyer)

Morning session: Room 2/04
To join the morning proceedings as a remote attendee using Microsoft Teams, please click here from 08:30.

9.00-9.15 Welcome

9.15-11.00 Interpretation, visitation, and memory

John Lennon, Glasgow Caledonian University and Guillaume Tiberghien, Glasgow University
- Gulag Interpretation and Visitation; the Case of Kazakhstan

Phiona Stanley and Craig Wight, Edinburgh Napier University
- Holocaust Tourism Digilantism on Instagram

Brianna Wyatt, Oxford Brookes University
- Edutainment interpretation in lighter dark tourism experiences

11-11.15 Break

11.15-13:00 The theory and business of World War memory

Kat Brogan, Managing Director of Mercat Tours Ltd and Mercat Tours International (Remote)
- Remembrance, Civic Responsibility and Hope

Jeffrey S Podoshen, Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania
- USA Pilgrimage by Proxy? Avoiding European Holocaust Tourism in Favor of Alternative Destinations of Commemoration

Tony Seaton, Bedford University
- Dark Tourism as a Peace Industry

13.00-13.45 Lunch

13.45-15.15 Concurrent session 2a: Digital Storytelling and Ghost Tours
Chair: Anne Schwan (Room 1/10)

To join this session as a remote attendee using Microsoft Teams please click here.

Nicole Basaraba: Coventry University
- Edutainment for Dark Tourism: The 11 UNESCO World Heritage Australian Convict Sites

Rachael Ironside: Robert Gordon University
- “Your house scared the life out of us”: Ghost hunting, digital storytelling, and the construction of dark places

Tia Price: University of Portsmouth
- Commodifying the corpse: performative resurrection and re-victimisation of the nameless dead in New Orleans Ghost tours.

13.45-15.15 Concurrent session 2b: Pogrom and Holocaust Related Tourism and Participatory Exhibits
Chair: Craig Wight (Room 2/04)

To join this session as a remote attendee using Microsoft Teams please click here.

Bernardo Silvestre Dias, Sílvia Quinteiro and Maria Alexandra Rodrigues. University of the
Algarve (Remote)

- The Pogrom of 1506: an itinerary of Berequias Zarcos` Lisbon

Linda Levitt, Austin State University (Remote)
- Transforming dark tourism exhibits for future audiences

Raivis Simansons, Leicester University, Diāna Popova, Latvian Academy of Culture, and Elizabete Grinblate, University of Latvia (Remote)
- Disrupting the Metaverse with Educational XR: Case Study of Lipke Bunker VR

15.15-15.30 Break

15.30-17.00 Concurrent session 3a: Crime Related Dark Tourism
Chair: Anne Schwan (Room 2/04)

To join this session as a remote attendee using Microsoft Teams please click here.

Lorenza Gerardi and Fabiola Sforeda, University of Rome
- Unpacking dark tourism motivations: framing places of mafia in South Italy (Remote)

Simon McFadden, Oxford Brookes University - Crime Tourism: Exploring Visitor Motivations, Screen Tourism and Dark Fandoms
Justin Piché, University of Ottawa, and Kevin Walby, University of Winnipeg (Remote)

- On the Digitization and Gamification of Punitive (In)justice: The Enrollment of the Public in Penality in Canadian Police and Prison Museums

15.30-17.00 Concurrent session 3b: Dark Events/Festivals, Gladiators, and Cemetery Tourism
Chair: Craig Wight (Room 1/10)

To join this session as a remote attendee using Microsoft Teams please click here.

Lindsay Steenberg, Oxford Brookes University
- Dark Tourism and the Gladiatorial Impulse

Luisa Golz, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest
- Creative practices and co-creation at dark tourism festivals

Nayara Güércio, Trinity College, Dublin
- Here We Are Waiting for You: Dark Tourism at Brasilia’s Campo da Boa Esperança Cemetery

Hannah Stewart, University of Central Lancashire
- Festivalisation and modelling the macabre: Proposing a typology for Dark Event Tourism

17.00 Wine, Canapés and Networking (Room 2/04)



Morning - Part 1

Morning - Part 2 

Session 2A

Session 2B1

Session 3A

Session 3B1


Please find and download Abstracts from below.