Heritage, Tourism and Economic Development in Seaside Towns

Yesterday, I gave this presentation at a fascinating event at Turner Contemporary in Margate on local lists and the heritage sector.  I was invited to speak by the Margate Neighbourhood Plan Forum and Margate Civic Society, about the relationship between heritage, tourism and economic development.  This was great opportunity for me to return to Margate, the regeneration of which I published this article about a few years ago.

In my presentation, I argued that, in the absence of strong government policies on tourism and culture, and as public sector funding and control of regeneration reduces, there is an opportunity for heritage groups (like the fantastic Sevenoaks Society, who presented their work on local lists at the event) to influence how their local heritage is presented to tourists and to influence the nature of local economic development.

My main point was that tourists want fantastic, memorable experiences.  If heritage groups can present their local heritage to tourists as interesting stories and use exciting narratives, then heritage can be a great resource for regeneration. This might mean them becoming comfortable with the inauthentic heritagisation of their areas, but seaside towns like Whitby and Blackpool show that this can be highly effective in bringing in tourists and generating economic impacts.

 

An elephant delighting tourists in Margate (Thanks to Geoff Orton @ Margate Civic Society)
A mechanical elephant delighting tourists in Margate (Thanks to Geoff Orton @ Margate Civic Society)

Rediscovering cultural tourism: cultural regeneration in seaside towns

UPDATE: This article is now available for free download from here.

I’ve just had this article published in the Journal of Town and City Management. The abstract is below.  If you’d like to know more about this paper and don’t have access to read it online, please get in touch.

“British seaside towns have been subject to numerous attempts at regeneration and rebranding since the collapse of traditional seaside tourism began in the late 1970s. This paper reviews contemporary approaches to seaside regeneration and demonstrates that cultural regeneration strategies are becoming increasingly prevalent in this area. The validity of transferring city-based models of cultural development to these smaller urban areas is critiqued. The history of cultural investment in seaside towns is highlighted to show how current approaches to cultural regeneration, while presented as novel, are in fact a resumption of earlier strategies of cultural tourism development. This heritage of cultural development provides a resource for seaside cultural regeneration which may allow development of this type to avoid the negative social impacts often associated with cultural regeneration in cities.”

Local Enterprise Partnerships and Seaside Towns: new paper

Samantha Chaperon and I have had a paper accepted for a Regional Studies Association event on ‘Innovation Processes and Destination Development in Tourist Resorts’ that will be held in Östersund, Sweden from 30th March-1st April this year.  Our paper is titled ‘Local Enterprise Partnerships and Seaside Towns: an analysis of a framework for the governance of tourism in the UK.’

The event has been organised by the RSA network on Tourism, Regional Development and Public Policy who are very interesting group of researchers.  I presented a paper on seaside tourism in Kent at one of their events in Aalborg, Denmark in 2008 – click here for the presentation – and the seminar was really well organised, with a great range of contributions with a Northern and Eastern European focus and lots of good discussion.

Seaside towns and Local Enterprise Partnerships

This is a copy of a presentation that myself and a colleague, Samantha Chaperon, were due to give at the ATHE 2010 conference last week. Sadly the weather conspired against us, but the organisers have been kind enough to let us submit the full paper for the proceedings, which I will post a link to here in Spring 2011 once they have been published.

Arts-led regeneration – visit of Japanese scholars to Kent

I was very pleased to be invited last week to speak to a group of Japanese scholars from Oita University who were on a visit to Kent to investigate cultural regeneration led by Teresa Smith from the University of Oxford. 

JK discussing cultura regeneration with visiting academics 

I spoke about my research into the social impacts of cultural regeneration and we had a detailed discussion of the recent evolution of British regeneration policy from the Single Regeneration Budget era to the new Local Enterprise Partnerships.  You can see my presentation below.

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*I’d love to be able to credit the artists involved in the first picture on my slides.  It was emailed to me in 2007 by a participant in some research I was doing at the time and I think it’s a fantastic image.  If you have any info on this, please let me know!

The development of seaside towns: domestic tourism in a core-periphery context

I’ve been working on some new research with a colleague, Samantha Chaperon, which uses dependency theory as a framework for analysing the development of seaside towns. In particular, we’re interested in what light this research can shed on the new Local Enterprise Partnerships that affect these towns. We’ll be presenting the early stages of our research at the ATHE conference from 1-3 December in Canterbury, UK, and I’ve included the abstract for the paper below:

Peripherality in tourism has traditionally been a concept used to contrast remote, economically disadvantaged, often exotic locations, with the prosperous tourism generating core(s) of northern, western nations. Dependency theory highlights the tension that this creates between nations and populations whose relationships are constructed on the basis of inequality (Britton 1982). This ‘core-periphery conflict’ has produced global landscapes of tourism governance that reflect these inequalities (Jordan 2004).

There have been relatively few attempts to study the governance of domestic tourism within the context of core-periphery theory (CPT). This is a significant omission in tourism and governance literature as domestic tourism at the local level also manifests economic and social inequalities which can lead to conflict (Weaver 1998, Bianchi 2002).

This paper examines the historical and contemporary development of British seaside towns, and the governance of tourism in these towns from a CPT perspective, concentrating on three historical periods. Firstly, the mid 19th century in which their development was tied to the growth of British industrial centres. Secondly, the period in the second half of the 20th century when the growth of southern Mediterranean resorts presented a challenge to seaside towns and, finally, the first two decades of the 21st century in which attempts to regenerate seaside tourism in the UK have been governed by the spatial remits of Regional Development Agencies and the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (Kennell 2010).

SeaScape conference

I’m planning on going to this conference in October,which for some reason I only found out about today!

SeaScape Conference – Butlins, Skegness, PE25 1NJ
Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd October 2009

This is a two-day international conference exploring culture as a regenerative force for coastal communities.

Bringing together cultural strategists, architects, and regeneration experts to discuss creative applications and practice from the Black and North Sea regions, also highlighting the Sea Change programme led by CABE.

The SeaScape conference is part of the ‘SEAS’, a festival featuring installations and performances, happening throughout Skegness

Programme of events

Each day will begin with presentations and discussion followed by more informal opportunities for delegates to actively respond to the conference themes through hands-on exploration of cultural mapping; site visits to innovative arts capital projects and dialogue with local residents.

International speakers will discuss and explore approaches to coastal regeneration from capital investment to community engagement.

The programme includes a session hosted by CABE of examination of Sea Change funded projects from Margate, Bridlington, Boscombe and Hastings.

Event Speakers

Speakers include Dragan Klaic (Netherlands), Fast Urban Research: Jacek Dominiczak and Monika Zawadzka (Poland) and representatives from key projects in Sweden, Norway and the Ukraine. Mark Simmonds (UK), MP for Boston and Skegness and Shadow Minister for Health will be chairing Day 2 of the conference.  Mark is leading on the Conservative’s Coastal Manifesto.

Conference Purpose

SeaScape is part of ‘Cityscape’, a series of conferences within the Black/North SEAS festival. The festival has travelled through Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden and Norway before arriving in Skegness, on England’s North Sea coast.

SeaScape provides an international platform for reflection and discussion embracing politicians, residents, artists and cultural entrepreneurs exploring common themes of climate-change, regeneration and demographic challenge that bind these coastal communities.

The conference will be a dynamic and inspiring interchange of ideas and experiences, connecting UK activity to international exemplars and supporting European networking and community action.

Attendees

Senior decision makers, planners and regeneration officers in coastal local authorities from the UK and internationally; RDA and other staff responsible for Coastal Action; Senior cultural officers, academics, planning consultants and other influential professionals; Local Strategic Partnership representatives; artists engaged in regeneration projects.

Costs

£80 + VAT + Booking Fee – conference, including lunch and refreshments (Does not include accommodation).

Book Now

Call for papers: Coastal and Resort destination Management

I think this conference looks very interesting….the timing isn’t great for those of us with big teaching loads, but the setting alone is tempting!

Researching Coastal and Resort Destination Management: Cultures and Histories of Tourism

19th – 20th October 2009

Girona, Catalonia, Spain

2009 marks the hundredth anniversary of the formal designation of the Costa Brava, a title and destination region that has become synonomous with the emergence and growth of ‘mass’ tourism over the past century. The region today faces many challenges including maintaining tourist markets against competing destinations alongside environmental concerns.

This conference is therefore extremely timely in its aim of bringing together researchers who share interests in coastal and resort destination policy, planning and management in relation to culture(s) and histories of tourism.

These research areas are also clearly relevant to professionals and policy makers in destination management and the conference will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to share leading edge ideas, innovations and critical thinking with the professional destination manager participants at the European Union of Tourist Officers (EUTO) Study Visit to Catalunya which coincides with the conference. There will also be opportunities for delegates to participate in parts of the EUTO programme.

Conference Themes

The conference welcomes proposals for papers that address the development of tourism in coastal regions and resorts. Proposals might, for example address:

Creative uses of cultural, historical and heritage resources for tourism in coastal settings

Cultural events and festivals as animators of coastal resorts

Transnational approaches to and conceptions of destination policy and planning in coastal contexts

Community participation in coastal resort development

Building sustainable partnerships and stakeholder relationships between tourism, culture and heritage in coastal destinations

Competitive (dis)advantage, new tourist markets and coastal destinations

New and emerging technologies in coastal destination representation and marketing

Coastal destination image and branding

The conference organisers also welcome proposals for papers that address theoretical and applied issues and themes relating to destination management in the coastal contexts of Catalonia and the Costa Brava in particular

If you wish to submit a paper proposal, please send a 300-word abstract with full address and institutional affiliation details as an electronic file to Dr. Philip Long p.e.long@leedsmet.ac.uk

The deadline for the reception of abstracts is 31st of July 2009.

Please find regularly updated information regarding this conference, registration procedures and (at a later stage) a full programme at

http://www.udg.edu/jornades/EUTO2009/tabid/12969/Default.aspx

or email to euto2009@udg.edu

The Apprentice does seaside regeneration!

BBC1 show ‘The Apprentice’ is taking on the re-branding of Margate in Kent as one of the tasks for it’s contestants in the latest series, which started last night.  Contestants will be tasked with designing a brand for the seaside town that can capture the town’s aspirations as a 21st century seaside destination.

Arcades and Promenades

Along with Wesley Rykalski, I have just embarked on an online project that seeks to examine the role of the seaside promenade in the imagination and practices of late modernity, through a critical encounter with Walter Benjamin‘s ‘The Arcades Project’.   In his final project, Benjamin was attempting to critique the ‘bourgeois experience of nineteenth century history’, partly through exploring the covered arcades of Paris, which he saw as emblematic of the attractions and contradictions of capitalist modernity.  By bringing together the arcades and the promenades we hope to enrich our understanding of both of these spatial responses to the coming together of capital, leisure and public space.

We will be collaboratively reading and responding to Benjamin’s text on the arcades / promenades blog and have posted up some reading for March to get things started.  As time goes on, we will develop a strategy of interspersing reflections on these readings with reflections and documentation on the seaside promenade.  More collaborators are welcome, please get in touch via the blog.

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