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Worlds of Imagination. A Comparative Study of Film Tourism in India, Brazil, Jamaica, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - Film Tourism (Worlds of Imagination. A Comparative Study of Film Tourism in India, Brazil, Jamaica, South Korea and the United Kingdom.)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2021-03-01 do 2021-11-30

Film tourism has received a growing amount of attention from scholars in various academic disciplines. However, the existing knowledge about this phenomenon is still highly fragmented and mostly based on individual case studies from Western countries. This project has been the first to adopt an international comparative approach, involving a comparative analysis of film tourism in five countries of varying size and wealth from different continents. By investigating commonalities and differences, we have highlighted how media stimulate the geographical imagination and literally ‘move’ their audiences in a variety of contexts. As we have shown, the way how people around the world imagine specific places, countries or continents is increasingly reliant on media images. This development has led to a widespread desire for a personal, unmediated experience of lieux d’imagination: actual locations that can serve as material validation. What we asserted in this project is that the emergence of these lieux d’imagination is not a univocal process, but involves significant variations depending on, amongst other, cross-cultural differences in contemporary global society. As such, our research offers a key hole into the cultural dynamics between imagination, tourism and the media in today's world.
This project has delivered a major contribution to the development of media tourism research, first and foremost by overcoming the Euro-centric approach and Anglo-Saxon bias of existing research on media and tourism. Our research has shown how the media and tourism industries are interrelated around the world in many different ways, and how the development and effects of media tourism depend largely on the specific socio-cultural context in which it takes place.

On a conceptual level, this project has developed new theories and approaches around the concepts of 'imaginative heritage', ‘the telenovella effect’ and 'cinematic itineraries', thus opening up new avenues for future research into the complex nexus of media and tourism.

Last but not least, this project has reached a large group of scholars, stakeholders and other interested parties through a largescale, international conference on media tourism and through the organization of workshops in Brazil, India, Trinidad and Jamaica, thus creating a new platform for knowledge exchange between scholars and professionals.

Some key achievements:
• Organization of the largescale, international conference on media tourism Worlds of Imagination (Rotterdam 5-7 April 2021), with 125+ participants.
• Publication of an edited volume on media tourism: Locating Imagination in Popular Culture, published open access with Routledge (2021).
• Organization of 4 workshops in Brazil, India, Trinidad and Jamaica (2019-2021) to aid the dissemination of our research results and create a platform for knowledge exchange between scholars, and professionals.
• Publication of four PhD dissertations on media tourism in India, Brasil, Scotland and Korea (2022-2023).
• Publication of dozens of high-profile research papers on media tourism in top journals such as European Journal of Cultural Studies; Tourist Studies; European Journal of Cultural Studies; Tourism, Culture & Communication.
Since the beginning of the project, the research team has adopted an innovative approach to the study of film tourism. Our international comparative approach delivers a fundamental contribution to a growing but fragmented field of research. Not only does this approach challenge the Western bias of film tourism studies, it also, for the first time, brings the (often uneven) global politics of film tourism to the fore. Secondly, this project delivers a theorization of the role and importance of the imagination, a universal concept that has been largely under the radar of social and cultural scientists. Thirdly, based on a multidisciplinary approach, this project combines new methods such as cultural mapping with more traditional methods as participant observation and interviewing. Finally, this project offers an analysis of the growing influence of popular media culture on perceptions of belonging and related notions of local, regional or national identity in a globalized world. This theme is not only theoretically relevant but also of practical use for cultural heritage institutions, policy makers and other stakeholders on tourism and culture. Moreover, each sub-project contributes with its own unique features to furthering the state-of-the-art knowledge in the field.