Visiting lecture series: Professor Alison Phipps

Tuesday 16 January 2018 (17:00-18:00)

Free to attend, no registration required

Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage welcomes Alison Phipps OBE to speak at the first of our Visiting Lecture Series for 2018.

Tourism, Researching Multilingually and Performing Cultural Heritage in times of Displacement

‘Kukurrukura hunge wapotswa.’

The Traveller is a fascinating creature, noticeable by distinct marks and markings, noticeable by distinct noises and sounds, behaviours and oddities, traits and qualities. (Sithole, Guide to a Traveller)

This paper will present research from the AHRC Researching Multilingually at Borders project which has developed from fieldwork and performance at a variety of sites in Aotearoa New Zealand, Gaza Strip, Palestine and in Ghana. It will look at a range of tourism/travel sites and the resistance practices to skin and language which are performed to and for tourists in these contexts. It will examine the way performance intervenes and the tourist body is both performed and consumed in a range of sites and the ways in which languages and translation practices operate. Using artistic and ethnographic film it will consider ways in which tourism preserves and changes languages and how ritual practices form key moments in tourist encounters. In particular it will work with the poetry and performance which intervenes in the masking of languages and operations of tourism and travel. Working through the proverbs and poetry of the performance piece the paper will also draw on the work of Fanon to explore the relationship between skin, race and languages the paper will consider, theoretically, linguistically and aesthetically, ways in which Fanon’s concepts might also apply to the operation of languages in tourist settings.

 It then reflects and opens into a discussion of the kinds of research which might usefully intersect with the wider discussions of funding landscapes for the Global Challenge Research Fund.


Alison Phipps OBE, PhD, BA (hons), FRSE, FRSA, FAcSS holds the UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts at the University of Glasgow where she is also Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies, and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNET). She is a member of the Creativity, Culture and Faith group in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow where she teaches refugee studies, languages, religious and spiritual education, anthropology and intercultural education and education for non-violence.

In 2017 she was appointed Adjunct Professor of Hospitality at Auckland University of Technology. In 2016 she was appointed ‘Thinker in Residence’ at the EU Hawke Centre at University of South Australia. She is was the Inaugural Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Waikato, Aotearoa New Zealand in 2013, and is now Adjunct Professor of Tourism. In 2011 she was voted ‘Best College Teacher’ by the student body and received the Universities ‘Teaching Excellence Award’ for a Career Distinguished by Excellence. In 2012 she received an OBE for Services to Education and Intercultural and Interreligious Relations in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. In 2013 she was awarded a grant of £2 Million by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under its Translating Cultures programme, as Principal Investigator to undertake a project entitled Researching Multilingually at the Borders of the Body, Language, Law and the State: 

She has twenty years of research experience in using creative and intercultural methodologies, including participant observation in multilingual communities, work across mobilities (international students, modern linguists, tourists, migrant communities, international NGOs) and overseas. She has undertaken work in Palestine, Sudan, Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Germany, France, USA, Portugal. She has produced and director theatre and performance and worked as creative liturgist with the World Council of Churches from 2008-2011 for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation. She is regularly advises public, governmental and third sector bodies on migration and language policy. From 1999 - 2004 She was Chair of the International Association for Languages and Intercultural Communication (IALIC). She was a senior policy advisor to the British Council from 2007-2014.

She is author of numerous books and articles and a regular international keynote speaker and broadcaster. She has regular columns in the national Scottish broadsheet press. Her first collection of poetry, Through Wood, was published in 2009. She has published widely in the field of modern languages, tourism and intercultural studies and European anthropology as well as in the field of Higher Education Studies. She co-edits the journal and book series Tourism and Cultural Change and the book series Languages, Intercultural Communication and Education and is on the editorial board of both Language and Intercultural Communication, and Hospitality and Society. She is presently acting as a Commissioner with the Poverty Truth Commission, Scotland and is a member of the Iona Community.