NWO subsidy for large-scale research into media tourism

Media academic Stijn Reijnders has been granted a subsidy by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (the NWO) for the project "Locating Imagination. An Interdisciplinary Perspective on Literary, Film and Music Tourism". This subsidy, of EUR 750,000, will enable Reijnders to undertake a five-year research project into media tourism.

Media tourism is the phenomenon that people travel to places because of an association with a film, television series, novel or other media product. Recently, this phenomenon appears to have grown rapidly with, in some cases, far-reaching consequences for the locations involved. Well-known examples are the Lord of the Rings tours in New Zealand, Harry Potter sites in the United Kingdom or fans of The Da Vinci Code in Paris and London. The image of several cities and regions is partially determined by associations with the work of for example the Brontë sisters (Haworth) or the Beatles (Liverpool).

The subject media tourism is enjoying increasing attention from a range of disciplines, such as media studies, tourism studies, heritage studies, comparative literature and film studies. Despite this, existing knowledge about this phenomenon is minimal and highly fragmented. For the first time, this project will carry out interdisciplinary research, whereby an integral comparison will be made of examples of media tourism in Europe associated with literature, films and music. By studying the similarities and disparities in greater detail, not only will an important contribution be made to the study of media tourism, but knowledge will be generated about the way in which literature, films and music each fuel the imagination in their own way and literally induce their readers/audiences to travel.

Reijnders previously received an Innovational Research Incentives Scheme (VENI) subsidy from the NWO to undertake an exploratory study of media tourism. This post master"s project lasted three years and was completed when "Places of the Imagination. Media, Tourism, Culture (2011)" was published in 2011. The current research subsidy will enable Reijnders to develop the lines of research from Places of the Imagination even further and to consider the complex interaction between media, culture and imagination in greater detail.

The research subsidy granted to Reijnders was made available through the NWO"s Open Competition in the Humanities. The research will be carried out within the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication. Amongst other things, the subsidy will be used to appoint three doctoral candidates.


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