ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TOURISM MANAGEMENT AND MARKETING
Editor in Chief: Professor Dimitrios Buhalis, EDWARD ELGAR PUBLISHING LIMITED
The Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing has already received more than 100 entries and has already accepted 10 entries! See some examples of the accepted terms on https://tinyurl.com/encyEXAMPLES. These include terms:
Eating disorders in autistic people are poorly understood, but they tend to be more severe and long-lasting. The longer a person lives with their eating disorder, the harder it is to recover. This may partly explain why some studies suggest autistic people have a poorer prognosis in therapy.
Longer-lasting eating disorders are associated with a greater likelihood of death. The fact that autistic people are vulnerable to chronic eating disorders, alongside other mental illnesses, may be one reason why they die one to three decades earlier, on average, than non-autistic people.
So why are autistic people more vulnerable to eating disorders? A couple of reasons have been suggested.
One general and major risk factor for developing an eating disorder is dieting. For people who might already be genetically vulnerable to eating disorders, dieting seems to kick-start something in the brain that can develop the disorder.
While autistic people aren’t more likely to diet than the average person, certain features of autism – including attention to detail, determination and intense fixated interests – may make them better able to maintain the restrictions needed for long-term weight loss when they choose to diet.
The cognitive rigidity that we see in autistic people may also make it easy for them to get stuck in patterns of eating behaviour, while their preference for sameness may cause them to have a limited diet to begin with. For some autistic people, insensitivity to hunger, gastrointestinal problems and sensitivity to tastes, smells and textures make eating difficult anyway.
Moreover, because autistic people are often bullied and socially isolated, dieting and weight loss may give them back a sense of control, predictability, reward and self-worth. Eating disorders may even numb feelings of anxiety and depression.
A core feature of people with eating disorders is that they find it difficult to identify and cope with emotion. As autistic people struggle with emotions in similar ways, our research team wondered whether this might help explain why they are more likely to have eating disorders.
The personality trait characterised by an inability to identify and describe emotions is called alexithymia. Being alexithymic is like being emotionally colour-blind, and it ranges from subtle to severe. While one alexithymic person might find it hard to pinpoint what emotion they’re feeling, another might notice physical signs such as a racing heart and be able to identify they’re feeling angry or frightened.
Alexithymia is associated with many negative outcomes like suicide and self-injury. In part, this may be because people who cannot identify or express their emotions find it hard to soothe themselves or get support from others.
To see whether alexithymia might contribute to eating disorders in autism, we looked at eating-disorder symptoms and autistic traits in the general population. Autism is a spectrum disorder, so everyone has some level of autistic traits – it does not mean they are actually autistic. Nevertheless, these traits can tell us something about the nature of autism itself.
In two experiments with 421 participants, we found that higher autistic traits correlated with higher eating-disorder symptoms. We also found that higher levels of alexithymia wholly or partially explained this relationship. Our results suggest that having higher autistic traits alongside difficulties identifying and describing emotions may make these people more vulnerable to developing eating-disorder symptoms.
Interestingly, we found differences between male and female participants. While alexithymia was related to eating-disorder symptoms in women, there were no links between alexithymia and eating-disorder symptoms in men. Since the male group was small, however, we couldn’t be sure these findings would hold up in a bigger sample.
This research can’t show conclusively that alexithymia causes eating disorder symptoms in people with autistic traits, or indeed autistic people. It might be that the relationships work backwards, and eating-disorder symptoms give rise to alexithymia and to autistic features.
However, first-person accounts from autistic people are consistent with the idea that alexithymia might play a role in their eating disorders. One participant even described how restricting her calorie intake reduced internal sensations that – unknown to her, being unable to identify them – caused her much anxiety.
If supported by further research, these findings have potential implications for treatment. Clinicians already know that therapies need to be tailored for autistic and non-autistic patients, but how best to achieve this is still uncertain. Preliminary research like this may offer some clue by highlighting alexithymia as a potential target. Alexithymia is currently not addressed by clinicians either in autistic people or in those with eating disorders
As there are many negative outcomes associated with being autistic – such as high suicide rates and greater risk of eating disorders – it will be important to explore how much alexithymia, not autism itself, actually contributes to these negative outcomes. Focused interventions to treat alexithymia might potentially reduce these risks.
Young people have probably spent much more of their time than usual playing video games over the last few months thanks to the coronvirus pandemic. One report from telecoms firm Verizon said online gaming use went up 75% in the first week of lockdown in the US.
What impact might this have on young people’s development? One area that people are often concerned about is the effect of video games, particularly violent ones, on moral reasoning. My colleagues and I recently published research that suggested games have no significant effect on the moral development of university-age students but can affect younger adolescents. This supports the use of an age-rating system for video game purchases.
Our sense of morality and the way we make moral decisions – our moral reasoning – develop as we grow up and become more aware of life in wider society. For example, our thoughts about right and wrong are initially based on what we think the punishments and/or rewards could be. This then develops into a greater understanding of the role of social factors and circumstances in moral decisions.
Yet the moral dimension of video games is far more complex than just their representation of violence, as they often require players to make a range of moral choices. For example, players from the game BioShock have to choose whether to kill or rescue a little girl character known as a little sister.
A player with more mature moral reasoning may consider the wider social implications and consequences of this choice rather than just the punishment or rewards meted out by the game. For example, they may consider their own conscience and that they could feel bad about choosing to kill the little girl.
We surveyed a group of 166 secondary school students aged 11-18 and a group of 135 university students aged 17-27 to assess their gaming habits and the development of their moral reasoning using what’s known as the sociomoral reflection measure . This involved asking participants 11 questions on topics such as the importance of keeping promises, telling the truth, obeying the law and preserving life. The results suggested a stark difference between the two groups.
Among secondary students, we found evidence that playing video games could have an affect on moral development. Whereas female adolescents usually have more developed moral reasoning, in this case we found that males, who were more likely to play video games for longer, actually had higher levels of reasoning. We also found those who played a greater variety of genres of video games also had more developed reasoning.
This suggests that playing video games could actually support moral development. But other factors, including feeling less engaged with and immersed in a game, playing games with more mature content, and specifically playing the games Call of Duty and playing Grand Theft Auto, were linked (albeit weakly) with less developed moral reasoning.
No effect after 18
Overall, the evidence suggested adolescent moral development could be affected in some way by playing video games. However, there was little to no relationship between the university students’ moral reasoning development and video game play. This echoes previous research that found playing violent video games between the ages of 14 and 17 made you more likely to do so in the future, but found no such relationship for 18- to 21-year-olds.
This might be explained by the fact that 18 is the age at which young people in many countries are deemed to have become adult, leading to many changes and new experiences in their lives, such as starting full-time work or higher education. This could help support their moral development such that video games are no longer likely to be influential, or at least that currently available video games are no longer challenging enough to affect people.
The implication is that age rating systems on video games, such as the PEGI and ESRB systems, are important because under-18s appear more susceptible to the moral effects of games. But our research also highlights that it is not just what teenagers play but how they play it that can make a difference. So engaging with games for a wide variety of genres could be as important for encouraging moral development as playing age-appropriate games.
Yesterday the Journal of Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences published our editorial ‘Public Health is truly interdisciplinary’ . This editorial was largely written to counteract some of the jurisdictional claims made in Nepal by certain people in Public Health. These claims express themselves in arguments around the question whether Public Health is a single academic discipline or profession or whether it is a broad profession comprising many different academic disciplines. There are two quite distinct and opposing views. Some argue that Public Health is a broad-ranging single discipline covering sub-disciplines such as Epidemiology, Management, Public Health Practice, Health Psychology, Medical Statistics, Sociology of Health & Illness and Public Health Medicine. Those who support this argument, typically see: (a) Public Health is the overarching dominant discipline, which brings these sub-disciplines together; and (b) that a true Public Health practitioner amalgamates all these individual elements. Others argue that Public Health is more an overarching world view or interdisciplinary approach for wide-ranging group of professionals and academics . In this view some Public Health professionals are first trained as clinicians, others as psychologists, health economists, health management, statisticians, or demographers, and so on and have later specialised in Public Health.
However, their are people in the field claiming that Public Health is a single discipline that can only /or even best be practice and taught by those with an undergraduate degree in Public Health. Basically suggesting you you need a Public Health degree to practice or teach the discipline. Our editorial argues that this latter view suggests a rather limited understanding of the broad church that is Public Health.
This latest editorial is co-authored by Dr. Sharada P. Wasti in Nepal, Prof. Padam Simkhada, who is based at the University of Huddersfield and BU Visiting Faculty and Prof. Edwin van Teijlingen in the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perinatal Health (CMMPH). Both articles listed below are Open Access and free available to readers across the globe.
The Health Research Authority have launched a new strategy to ensure information about all health and social care research – including COVID-19 research – is made publicly available to benefit patients, researchers and policy makers. The new strategy aims to build on this good practice and make it easy for researchers to be transparent about their work.
New Publication: de Souza, J., Mendes, LF., Buhalis, D., 2020, Evaluating the effectiveness of tourist promotions to improve the competitiveness of destinations, Tourism Economics, Vol. 26(6), pp, 1001–1020, https://doi.org/10.1177/1354816619846748
This study focuses on the evaluation of the tourist destination advertising effectiveness. The destination advertising response DAR model was used to analyze data on the effectiveness of destination promotional campaigns on visitor expenditure, in six trip facets: destination, accommodations, attractions, restaurants, events, and shopping. Independent sample t-tests were conducted to identify any differences in total destination spending among the groups of those visitors influenced for each trip facet. A multiple regression analysis was performed to discriminate the performance of the travel facets expenditures in the estimation of total expenditures. Significant results indicate that the “destination,” “accommodations,” and “restaurants” facets directly influence the total expenditures. Self-planners had the highest variance, explaining in total visitor expenditure compared to the regression analysis results of the other two groups (i.e. travel agencies and online travel agencies). The study also explores how destinations can improve their competitiveness on tourist advertising by using technologies.
Keywords tourism, destination, marketing, advertising, competitiveness, DAR model, destinations, technologies
Every BU academic has a Research Professional account which delivers weekly emails detailing funding opportunities in their broad subject area. To really make the most of your Research Professional account, you should tailor it further by establishing additional alerts based on your specific area of expertise. The Funding Development Team Officers can assist you with this, if required.
Research Professional have created several guides to help introduce users to Research Professional. These can be downloaded here.
Quick Start Guide: Explains to users their first steps with the website, from creating an account to searching for content and setting up email alerts, all in the space of a single page.
User Guide: More detailed information covering all the key aspects of using Research Professional.
In addition to the above, there are a set of 2-3 minute videos online, designed to take a user through all the key features of Research Professional. To access the videos, please use the following link: http://www.youtube.com/researchprofessional
Research Professional are running a series of online training broadcasts aimed at introducing users to the basics of creating and configuring their accounts on Research Professional. They are holding monthly sessions, covering everything you need to get started with Research Professional. The broadcast sessions will run for no more than 60 minutes, with the opportunity to ask questions via text chat. Each session will cover:
Self registration and logging in
Setting personalised alerts
Saving and bookmarking items
Subscribing to news alerts
Configuring your personal profile
Each session will run between 10.00am and 11.00am (UK) on the fourth Tuesday of each month. You can register here for your preferred date:
These are free and comprehensive training sessions and so this is a good opportunity to get to grips with how Research Professional can work for you.
Have you noticed the pink box on the BU Research Blog homepage?
By clicking on this box, on the left of the Research Blog home page just under the text ‘Funding Opportunities‘, you access a Research Professional real-time search of the calls announced by the Major UK Funders. Use this feature to stay up to date with funding calls. Please note that you will have to be on campus or connecting to your desktop via our VPN to fully access this service.
Stonehenge, an icon of European prehistory that attracts more than a million visitors a year, is rarely out of the news. Yet, surprisingly, there is much we don’t know about it. Finding the sources of the stones used to build the monument is a fundamental question that has vexed antiquaries and archaeologists for over four centuries.
Our interdisciplinary team, including researchers from four UK universities (Brighton, Bournemouth, Reading and UCL) and English Heritage, has used a novel geochemical approach to examine the large “sarsen” stones at Stonehenge. Our results confirm that the nearby Marlborough Downs were the source region for the sarsens, but also pinpoint a specific area as the most likely place from where the stones were obtained.
Two main types of stone are present at Stonehenge: sarsen sandstone for the massive framework of upright stones capped by horizontal lintels; and a mix of igneous rocks and sandstones collectively known as “bluestones” for the smaller elements within the central area.
Research in the last decade has confirmed that the igneous bluestones were brought to Stonehenge from the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, over 200km to the west. The sandstones have been tracked to eastern Wales although the exact outcrops have yet to be found. However, the origins of the sarsen stones has, until now, remained a mystery.
Stonehenge is a complicated and long-lived monument constructed in five main phases. The earliest, dated to about 3000BC, comprised a roughly 100m-diameter circular enclosure bounded by a bank and external ditch. Inside were various stone and timber structures, and numerous cremation burials.
The sarsen structures visible today were erected around 2500BC and comprised five trilithons (the doorway-like structures formed from two uprights joined by a lintel) surrounded by a circle of a further 30 uprights linked by lintels. The trilithons were arranged in a horseshoe formation with its principal axis aligned to the rising midsummer sun in the northeast and the setting midwinter sun to the southwest.
Locating the sarsen source
Conventional wisdom holds that the sarsens were brought to Stonehenge from the Marlborough Downs, some 30km to the north, the closest area with substantial scatters of large sarsen boulders. However, the Marlborough Downs are extensive and greater precision is needed to understand how prehistoric peoples used the landscape and its resources.
Our research has identified what might be termed the “geochemical fingerprint” of the Stonehenge sarsens. We started by analysing the geochemistry of all 52 remaining sarsens at Stonehenge (28 of those originally present are now missing, having been removed long ago).
This phase of the work involved using a non-destructive technology called portable x-ray fluorescence spectrometry (PXRF). Carrying out the PXRF analyses required access to the monument when it was closed to visitors and included several night shifts and one early morning analysing the lintel stones from a mobile scaffold tower. Data collection is never easy!
Analysis of the PXRF data showed that the geochemistry of most of the stones at Stonehenge was highly consistent, and only two sarsens (stones 26 and 160) had a statistically different chemical signature. This was an interesting result as it suggested we were looking for a single main source.
Then came a major stroke of luck. We were able to analyse three small samples that had been taken from one of the stones in 1958, Stone 58, part of the group of sarsens with a consistent chemistry. Using a method known as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) gave a high-resolution geochemical fingerprint for the Stonehenge sarsen. Like all good detectives, we could now compare our fingerprint with those of the potential sources.
Sarsen blocks are found widely scattered across southern Britain, broadly south of a line from Devon to Norfolk. We sampled stones from 20 areas, including six in the Marlborough Downs, and analysed them using ICP-MS.
Comparing the geochemical signature from Stone 58 against our resulting data revealed only one direct chemical match: the area known as West Woods to the south-west of Marlborough. We could therefore conclude that most of the Stonehenge sarsens were from West Woods.
Our results not only identify a specific source for most of the sarsens used to build Stonehenge, but also open up debate about many connected issues. Researchers have previously suggested several routes by which the sarsens may have been transported to Stonehenge, without actually knowing where they came from.
Now these can be revisited as we better appreciate the effort of moving boulders as long as 9m and weighing over 30 tonnes some 25km across the undulating landscape of Salisbury Plain. We can feel the pain of the Neolithic people who took part in this collective effort and think about how they managed such a Herculean task.
We can also ask what was special about the West Woods plateaux and its sarsens. Was it simply their shape and size that attracted attention? Or was there some more deep-seated reason rooted in the beliefs and identities of the people that built Stonehenge?
Revealing that all the stones came from a single main source is also important and accords with the evidence that the sarsens were all erected at much the same time. But what about the two sarsens whose fingerprints differ from the main source? Where did they come from? The quest continues, and the questions just keep coming.
Over the last few months we have all had to adapt to new ways of working and interacting with other people, which includes thinking differently about how we engage the public with our research. Below, Dr Oliver Gingrich describes his experience of running an online engagement event, the logistics and support he received from BU’s Public Engagement with Research (PER) team – and most importantly, the impact of sharing his research.
My experience running an online event – KIMA: Noise
For me, as for many others, the new realities in the early days of the Covid-19 health crisis resulted in all new challenges in continuing research practice and dissemination. To help tackle these challenges I thought I’d share our experience developing and running an online event earlier this year, in case you find it useful.
KIMA: Noise by Analema Group. Tate Modern 2019. www.analemagroup.com Image by Sophie le Roux. www.sophielerouxdocu.com
I am a researcher and creative practitioner, and artist with the collective Analema Group, recipients of an Arts Council England project grant for the art and research project KIMA Noise; an investigation into the effect of urban noise on health and wellbeing that we conducted for over three years with one of the leading experts in the field Prof. Stephen Stansfeld (Queen Mary University of London). Over the years Prof. Stansfeld has worked on the effect of noise specifically on learning and spearheaded the European Network on Noise and Health (ENNAH) and is currently working on a RANCH study on the effect of air traffic noise across 4 different countries. The Analema Group is a collective of four people founded by my colleague, the artist Evgenia Emets, Dr. Alain Renaud (Research Fellow at Bournemouth University) and the visual developer David Negrao.
KIMA: Noise by Analema Group. Tate Modern 2019. www.analemagroup.com Image by Sophie le Roux. www.sophielerouxdocu.com
With the Analema Group, we were looking at effective strategies to communicate the known impact of noise on health to wider audiences, including local communities. Having been appointed Tate Exchange Associate, we brought this project to Tate Modern, with support of the Arts Council, resulting in several installations, talks, workshops, the publication of a monograph and ultimately a film. The success of the exhibition, talks and workshops not only transcended through the audience numbers, visitors and participants, but moreover the type of discussions we were able to have with local communities, policymakers, and other artists and activists. The art film KIMA: Noise captured this effort, but with the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19 we needed to find new ways to present this work to the public.
Thanks to Adam Morris and Brian McNulty from Bournemouth University’s world-class Knowledge Exchange & Impact Team (KEIT), we were able to communicate these research outputs to a wider public including BU’s academics: Initially being unfamiliar with the logistics of organising an online screening, I was more than grateful for the handholding and support by Adam in promoting and positioning the screening of the art film, but also for his and his team’s support in orchestrating the event. In the case of our event, online literally meant connected, as speakers from 3 countries (The UK, Portugal and Switzerland) came together.
At the screening of ‘KIMA: Noise – The Film’, we were honoured to welcome Prof. Stansfeld as one of our panelists, as well as Camilla Yavas (Film maker), Paola D’Albore (community engagement), Evgenia Emets (artist) and myself as researcher. The success of the event was highlighted through the wide networks we were able to activate including researchers at Bournemouth, interested artists, activists, and the wider BCP publics. The initial world premiere of the film via Bournemouth University was followed by a vibrant Q&A and discussion on the effect of noise on health and wellbeing that worked as well online as it would have in the space of the Tate. Thanks to the success of this world premiere, the film has since been seen by hundreds of people, with further screenings being planned nationally and internationally. The big benefit of an online event is that audiences and speakers can come together from all corners of the world, and the barrier to entry is so low, which makes it much easier to reach a critical mass. I want to express my sincere feelings of gratitude to BU’s outstanding Public Engagement team, who held our hand every step of the way, and assured the success of KIMA: Noise.
More information on the project can be found here:
Please see the latest BUCRU Bulletin from the Bournemouth University Clinical Research Unit. We hope you find it interesting. Featuring details on our online NIHR Grant Applications Seminar next week (28th July) and how to register.
BUCRU supports researchers to improve the quality, quantity, and efficiency of research locally by supporting grant applications and providing on-going support in funded projects, as well as developing our own programme of research.
Like the rest of BU, RDS (Research Development and Support) have been working from home for the past four months. If you’ve been struggling to find out who you can contact in RDS, we have a helpful page called ‘faculty-facing staff‘, which can be found along the top menu bar under ‘RDS Team’.
We will ensure that when we aren’t available, we have an ‘out of office’ message that gives a clear alternative contact. Due to working from home, we are experiencing a high level of email traffic. Please don’t use the central RDS mailing lists unless you cannot find who to contact. These go to the whole team, which increases email traffic for all.
When working, we will answer any emails within 48 hours on a week day. Please don’t send follow-up emails because you haven’t had an instant reply. A lot of the team are juggling high workloads with deadlines and childcare, but we promise we will respond.
If any members of RDS are available by phone or on MSTeams then we will ensure that our email signatures provide these details so that you have alternative options to make contact.
Thank you for your patience and we look forward to continuing to work with you.
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) has provided guidance on due diligence regarding the legitimacy of international research collaborators and partners.
We recommend that academics wishing to apply for research funding with collaborators and partners, particularly those out of the UK, should peruse this guidance.
Typical calls requiring such collaborations include funding opportunities that involve the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the Newton Fund and many others.
When you have fully considered this guidance when developing your networks and have identified a call, please contact your pre-award team for submission support. The more partners are involved in a bid, the more work will be required in co-ordinating the research writing and budgets. In parallel, we will need more time to support you with due diligence checks, costing and internal approvals, so please give yourself a minimum of 3 months before the deadline to work on such bids. The earlier you contact us, the more time we will have to work with you.
Many staff and students completed our questionnaire in January on their home parcel delivery practices and views on alternative work place collection-delivery points (CDPs). The research was undertaken by Bournemouth University in association with University of Southampton as part of a project funded by Southampton City Council (SCC). We are now analysing the data and the headline findings show:
Growth in online shopping (We were able to compare our 2020 data with comparable data we collected in 2015. These findings align with national statistics.)
Increase in selection of faster and more time dependent delivery options (e.g. next day delivery) which have higher carbon footprints
Scope for reductions in home delivery vehicle km and emissions of up to 86% for BU staff and student use of CPDs (based on number of parcels and those willing to use CDPs)
We have yet to extrapolate the amounts at BU, but for University of Southampton this equates to reductions per annum of 304,926 km, 76,300 kg CO2, 305 kg NOX, 4 kg PM10 and 33 kg CO and 59,595 failed deliveries per annum avoided
The preferred format for work place CDPs was unattended CDPs (i.e. self-service lockers)
While there has been a slight shift towards greater environmental concern (2015-2020) this is not reflected in delivery choices that are becoming less sustainable
We are now working on guidance for UK HEIs and other large organisations where there would be benefits from CDPs.
If you would like more information contact Professor Janet Dickinson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has published its Annual Report and Accounts, covering the financial year 2019-20.
The Annual Report and Accounts encompasses all nine of UKRI’s constituent research councils and has been laid before Parliament.
It contains the Performance Report, which details a number of significant milestones and achievements for UKRI, including their work supporting the research and innovation community during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the delivery of significant investments such as the Industrial Strategy Challenge and Strategic Priorities Funds.
Writing in the introduction to the report, UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said: “UKRI has supported researchers and innovators who have been at the heart of the response to COVID-19, ensuring that the Government’s response is informed by the best possible science. I am very proud of the way UK Research and Innovation has responded.”
International Webinar on COVID-19 and GLOBAL Health coming Saturday 25 July. This webinar, organized by Mahatma Gandhi University, India, includes speakers from the Middle East, America, Europe and South Asia. Bournemouth University will be represented by Professor Edwin van Teijlingen from the Centre for Midwifery, Maternal & Perintal Health (CMMPH). Please note the advertised times are local Indian time, the event will take place coming Saturday at 8.00 AM UK summer time.
This symposium was an attempt to consider the role of Audio Testimony in artistic practice, and explored the ways in which artists use sound to enable new forms of testimony, and create new artistic configurations, which engage public consciousness. The event featured two keynotes and workshop sessions spread over two days.
Keynote 1: The symposium was opened by a keynote presentation by John Young, Professor of Composition at De Montfort University, who reflected on recorded audio testimonies as agents of meaning through electroacoustic music. Professor Young started from the notion that sound recording is a significant act in itself, and discussed some of the ways in which he has used a range of audio testimonies to explore the experience of war.
Keynote 2: A second keynote presentation was by Amy Wlodarski, Professor of Music at Dickinson College, USA, who talked about her experiences of listening to audio Holocaust testimonies and how she have come to think about the relationship of listening to recorded traumatic memories, specifically the relationship between the witness and the interviewer.
Workshop sessions: Participants worked in small discussion groups of 4-5 people, in which they gave short presentations about how their work related to the theme of the symposium. Participants also brought material that connected their practice to audio testimony and presented this to the group in order to draw links between their own creative practice and emerging themes.
On day two participants attempted to collaborate creatively within their groups and explored ways of presenting their findings and experiences back to the main body of the symposium. The outcomes were amazing successful given that they were constructed in such a short time frame and included, poetry, reflective writing, performance, edited audio, pre-recorded testimonies and more.
The groups were coordinated by six group facilitators: John Young (keynote speaker) Salomé Voegelin (Professor of Sound at the London College of Communication), Cathy Lane Professor of Sound Arts at the London College of Communication and Director of CRiSAP), Dr Mark-Peter Wight (Post-Doctoral Research Arts at the London College of Communication), Dr Thomas Gardner, Dr Tom Davis and Dr Panos Amelidis.
International sport has resumed in the UK with the cricket Test match between England and the West Indies. Before play, in addition to a rendition of Jerusalem (the “official hymn” of England cricket), both teams and officals “took a knee” in support of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Nationalistic traditions, such as playing anthems at sport matches, have been a key part of society for many years but now may be time for change.
Symbols of colonialism, such as statues, place names and rituals, are attracting unprecedented criticism in postcolonial, liberal-democratic societies. That is especially so when memorialised individuals and institutions are viewed as unworthy – by 2020 standards – of such honour.
The most immediate concern, driven in part by BLM, is racism. One aspect of that is whitewashed commemoration, in the way that civic observances tend to sanitise uncomfortable truths.
Nationalistic songs – especially national anthems, which venerate a particular tradition – can both embrace and marginalise. So it’s no surprise that debates around the suitability of anthems – both official and unofficial – are not new. For instance, in 2016 the suitability of the British national anthem was debated in the House of Commons.
Intriguingly, the concept of “the nation” – and anthems invented to represent them are – historically, young. The modern nation state is a product of the 19th and 20th centuries.
So, it is not surprising that many of the ideas and assumptions associated with national identity are rooted in what historian Eric Hobsbawm has deftly labelled “the invention of tradition”. In the context of the British Empire, this process involved both the celebration of conquest and, as is typical of imperialism, the subjugation and control of indigenous cultures.
Given the major role sport played in the establishment of empire for Britain, it is no surprise that the first sporting event to feature a national anthem was a rugby match in 1905 between Wales and New Zealand. Soon after, in the United States, the playing of the national anthem before baseball matches became a feature during the first world war. The Star Spangled Banner, not officially recognised until 1931, carried patriotic weight as the song was already used to honour the nation’s military.
Exceptionally, national anthems at sport events have involved athlete activism. More than 50 years ago, the Black Power salute protest of Tommie Smith and John Carlos (supported by Australia’s Peter Norman) during the US anthem at the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games received worldwide attention. Smith and Carlos were vilified for highlighting the racism and discrimination present both inside and outside of American sport.
In 2016, Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the playing of the national anthem ahead of NFL matches. He stated: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.”
But in the wake of BLM, sport has become a site for widespread anti-racism activism. Athletes are increasingly using their profiles to draw attention to social movements that challenge inequalities and injustices – especially those underpinned by structural racism.
In professional sports leagues from Britain to Australia, matches have been preceded by players taking a knee. Players and officials are keen to show their support of BLM and, belatedly, Kaepernick.
Even the typically conservative NFL is now allowing athletes to advocate openly in respect of BLM. The league has also indicated a plan to play the song Lift Every Voice and Sing, widely known as the Black national anthem, during the first week of the season.
Moreover, in another sign of changing times, the Washington Redskins has announced it will review their name – which, after all, speaks to conquest and genocide of Indigenous Americans. The power of BLM to invoke change cannot be underestimated. As recently as 2013, the Redskins’ owner said that the team would never change its name, conveniently ignoring repeated appeals and protests by Native Americans.
Swing low and other stories
In Britain, BLM has catalysed debate about the appropriateness or otherwise of fans singing the “unofficial anthem” for English rugby, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. This song has been sung with gusto at [rugby matches since the 1960s].
Precisely why it was embraced by fans is unclear. But some black players now reveal they are uncomfortable with their sport revelling in what was, originally, a black Christian hymn that combined “spiritual belief with the hardships of daily life as a slave in antebellum America”.
Whether or not it knew of the song’s history, the Rugby Football Union has commercialised and profited from its appropriation of an African-American slave hymn.
In Australia, too, there has been debate about whether the national anthem is appropriate in that it fails to recognised Indigenous Australians. This movement saw a protest by Indigenous Australians ahead of key rugby league games in 2019.
In societies where whiteness has long been privileged, the voices of black and indigenous athletes are important in raising concerns about inequalities and maltreatment according to race. In sport, part of that discussion involves nationalist rituals and symbols that – by their colonialist nature – reinforce structural inequities.
Is it justifiable to question the nationality or commitment to the nation of anyone that critiques the viability of a national anthem or what it stands for, merely by choosing not to stand or sing when it is performed?
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