“Tourism, Memory and Heritage” Conference in Amsterdam, 1-2 June 2023 – call for participation

Roses are red, violets are blue, and I know I am late with this joke…but we are delighted to invite you to participate in the conference on Tourism, memory and heritage in Amsterdam, 1-2 June 2023 🙂

Details below….

Tourism, memory and heritage

geographies of cultural production, cultural memory and commemoration

1-2 June 2023

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Call For Participation:

We are currently living in a society in flux where the stories we tell about our shared past can bring us together or push us apart. Through the stories we develop, narrate and share, memories of the past become (re)activated and what counts as heritage become formed. Cultural tourism and heritage tourism are particular ways of telling stories of the past. In this sense, tourism is a worldmaking force through which stories of heritage are told and experienced in ways that (re)produces cultural memories. In the particular context of slavery and colonial heritage, this story-telling and worldmaking potential of tourism can be contentious because while it offers opportunities for new narratives, there exist the possibility of reinforcing caricatured imaginaries of the past that may actively erase the cultural memories associated with other times, places and people. Yet, there are an increasing number of tourism-related cultural (re)productions emerging in relation to slavery and colonial heritage in the form of guided tours, new museum exhibitions, public art installations and public artistic performances among others. Such diverse tourism-related cultural (re)productions seek to commemorate and memorialise the past of slavery and colonial heritage. Particularly in European cities, these cultural (re)productions are opening up avenues for new interpretative possibilities of (re)activating plural cultural memories of the past, belonging and identity.

This inaugural conference on ‘Tourism, Memory and Heritage’ seeks to explore tourism-related cultural (re)productions centred around slavery and colonial heritage. In the context of an ongoing NWO Veni project and the Dutch government’s declaration of the year 2023-2024 as the Slavery Memorial Year, the starting point of this conference is a focus on the memory-making work of tourism. Tourism can be seen as socio-cultural practices and performances that keeps memory alive and generate social, cultural and political affect and effects. Tourism-related cultural (re)productions become commemorative activities of remembering and marking the slavery and colonial past by igniting individual and collective memory. The stories told about slavery and colonial heritage through museum exhibitions, on guided tours, in guidebooks, (un)spoken in cultural performances and in travel documentaries provide an avenue for civic learning and raising historical awareness while generating new societal narratives in an ongoing, emergent social process. This process is open to contestations because questions remain about the way tourism transforms and narrates the past.

We seek for contribution and participation from a wide range of academic disciplines, professional practice and wider societal actors. As a transdisciplinary gathering, this conference seeks to explore the conceptual, empirical, practical and policy questions of the role of tourism in (re)activating the memories of slavery and colonial heritage and the resulting contemporary implications in society. A number of driving questions underline this conference and while we take a particular focus on the Ghana-Suriname-Netherlands triangle, we welcome submissions that deal with these issues conceptually and in other empirical contexts. These questions include: how does slavery and colonial heritage tourism practices and performances become a platform for discussing wider societal issues of remembering, forgetting and commemorating the shared past? How does slavery and colonial heritage tourism shape the heritage (re)creation process in terms of local place identities, meanings and collective memory? How does tourism in its diverse cultural practices and performances transform and narrative the past of slavery and colonialism through particular forms of representations that engages the senses, emotions and imagination of visitors? How do visitors experience and engage with slavery and colonial heritage tourism-related cultural (re)productions?  How do debates about coming to terms with slavery and colonial heritage and their ongoing impact in contemporary society circulate, translate and travel between academia, cultural institutions and the general public? What is the role of tourism in the entanglements of competing and / or multidirectional memories of slavery and colonialism, particularly in European country contexts? How does tourism feature in contemporary processes of heritage and memory formation and museum practices?

We encourage abstracts for papers and creative contributions exploring such questions and themes from both historical and contemporary perspectives. We welcome papers examining intersections of tourism, memory and heritage through a wide range of cultural practices and performances: tours, museum exhibitions, films, documentary, travel writing, literary works, photographic exhibitions and more. We expect a transdisciplinary gathering bringing together societal actors in the fields of tourism, memorial-making, museums and heritage management with scholars from cultural geography, (critical) tourism studies, (cultural) memory studies, (critical) heritage studies, cultural studies and historical studies. In addition the conference is open to scholars from adjacent fields such as literary studies, performance studies, art and media studies among others. We bring together in conversation academics, policy makers, activists, cultural entrepreneurs, museum professionals and curators as well as cultural makers involved in mapping, storytelling and cultural performances of slavery and colonial heritage tourism.

Submission Details

If you would like to present at the conference, please submit expressions of interest in the form of a document including your name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), a short bio, and an abstract of max. 350 words. For those who would like to participate without necessarily presenting, please also submit a document including your name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), a short bio, and an explanation of why you want to participate up to a max. of 150 words.

Expressions of interest by potential presenters and participants should be sent to emmanuel.adu-ampong@wur.nl  by Friday 31 March 2023, at the latest.

Abstract Submission deadline: Friday 31 March 2023

Notification of selection decision: 7 April 2023

Conference date: 1-2 June 2023

Feel free to direct any questions or queries to emmanuel.adu-ampong@wur.nl


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