I have been fortunate to win Fusion funding to conduct research into the link between Spanish Civil War memorials and tourism. The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) is a focus for war memorials to the victims of the struggle. They often form the backdrop for tourism and they also attract tourists in their own right. My study will investigate the link between political identity and pilgrimage , using the renowned Spanish Civil War walking tours in Barcelona and Madrid as sites for data collection. The research will adopt the method of participant observation, and it will take place in April 2016.
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In January 2012, Dr Lorraine Brown from the School of Tourism and Professor Barry Richards from the Media School won £2000 from the Research Development Fund to conduct research on the impact of media representations of Muslims and of Islam on the lived experiences of international Muslim students.
The aim of this unique collaborative project was to make a contribution to the literature on the international student experience, and to academic understanding of sojourner perceptions of media images and how these shape the sojourn experience.
25 interviews were undertaken with international Muslim students. These have been transcribed and thematically analysed. Themes derived from analysis include: media consumption; perceptions of representations of Islam; impact of perceived representations on the international sojourn and well-being; impact of perceived representations on host attitudes towards and treatment of Muslims in the UK; correcting negative image of Islam through positive narratives and accurate representations of the faith.
Findings have been written up into two journal articles, which will be submitted in 2013.
The first article concerns the profile of media consumption, focusing on the media students consume and the perceptions formed of how Islam is represented in the media. The second article looks at the implications of negative representations of Islam for well-being, including consequences for self-esteem, identity and satisfaction with the sojourn.