VM&E (Visual Methods & Ethnography) Future Visualities Symposium draws leading interdisciplinary academics and maps agenda for future research

by Dr Ashleigh Logan-McFarlane

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from Tourism and Marketing launched the Edinburgh Napier Visual Methods and Ethnography (VM&E) in Interdisciplinary Research Group with their first face-to-face symposium, ‘Future Visualities’, on 1st June 2022.

The sold-out event attracted more than 50 leading academics from UK and international institutions, including an array of established, mid and early career researchers and international PhD students from France and the Netherlands. ‘Future Visualities’ was financed by Edinburgh Napier Researcher Development Fund and sponsored by the Tourism Research Centre. The day featured 3 keynote presentations showcasing innovative interdisciplinary visual and ethnographic methods including: screencast videography, photography, poetry and (auto) ethnography, arts-based methodologies, visual representations, and mappings (ethnographic, archival, pedestrian and psychogeographic). The symposium showcased an array of visual methods and ethnography across 16 paper presentations and 7 posters, which demonstrated application of these methods in a variety of contexts, including linguistics, work, identity, education, leisure, law, touristic landscapes, semiotics, and the digital realm.

A panel discussion led by Dr Ashleigh Logan-McFarlane and Dr Kat Rezai on the challenges of publishing visual research featured keynote speakers Dr Fatema Kawaf, Dr Brett Lashua, Dr Terence Heng and our own Dr Louise Todd (VM&E Research Group Lead), who reflected on and outlined how to navigate the publishing process.

The launch of the Edinburgh Napier VM&E research group was a great success. Not only has it helped to establish new projects with external colleagues, but plans are underway for an edited publication on VM&E research. Watch this space for the call for contributions!

Link to VME Future Visualities Schedule and Book of Abstracts


a collage of pictures taken at the symposium, each showing a speaker showcasing their research on the topic

Dark tourism symposium attracts international interest, and the major authors in the discipline

by Dr Craig Wight

The Tourism Department (The Business School) and the School of Arts and Creative Industries hosted the first ever blended contact research symposium on dark tourism on Thursday 5th May.

Whilst the symposium steering group had modest ambitions in terms of the scale of the event, we we delighted to be joined by a host of delegates from nearby Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, but also a number of contributors that travelled some distance to be at the event, including Brianna Wyatt, Lindsay Steenberg and Simon McFadden from Oxford Brookes university, Tony Seaton, one of the two official ‘godfathers’ of dark tourism (along with John Lennon who presented), from Luton, and Philip Stone and Hannah Stewart from UCLAN. Jeff Podoshen from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster Pennsylvania, USA even made the trip across the pond to be with us. The event attracted an audience of some 60 remote delegates from as far afield as Lithuania, the USA and Canada.

It was particularly pleasing that such a diverse range of researchers contributed to the event, from those considered to be the pioneers of dark tourism to its current leading authors, and some early career researchers and PhD students who are taking up the challenge of producing the next row of books in the library that focus on some of the contemporary research contexts that were explored, including tours, exhibitions, digitality and the the role of film and the big screen in dark tourism.

The event received some really positive feedback, and facilitated some new research collaborations on areas such as ‘drowned villages’ and supernatural tours.

Abstracts and recordings of the proceedings are available here https://www.napier.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/research-search/events/dark-tourism-research-symposium-memory-pilgrimage-and-the-digital-realm