Monday, 15 February 2016

THE UCLan Research Profile: David Jarratt - Seasideness

In the our Tourism Blog over the next few months we aim to offer an overview of the wide variety cutting edge research that is taking place in the division of Tourism, Hospitality and Events here at UCLan. In this first instalment we consider work by Dr David Jarratt on ‘seasideness’.
He is pictured above on a weekend, exploring Morecambe Bay with a passenger (his son). As you can see, our academic staff are dedicated to their research areas! Here he is, in his own words…
The Midland Hotel and regenerated promenade of Morecambe. Photograph courtesy of Chris Coates:
‘Over the last few years I have been researching various aspects of traditional British seaside resorts; those remarkable first sites of mass tourism that have survived into the twenty first century. In 2007 I became very interested in seaside regeneration in places like Morecambe which have experienced partial renaissance in recent years following decades of significant challenges. As I read more it became increasingly clear there was little research on the current market of these resorts. I started to question what motivated visitors to spend time by the seaside these days, what’s the attraction and the nature of the experience? This is the direction my research took as I started to consider sense of place. In particular I looked at Morecambe, Lancashire, and the older market which has traditionally been associated with this resort. I have now written several publications relating to this subject but perhaps this open access / on-line article offers a neat summary of my work on this topic:

Essentially what I’ve found is that these visitors saw their visits to the seaside as meaningful experiences and a chance to immerse oneself in, and connect to, the rich sensual environment of Morecambe Bay. This was a place which lent itself to feelings of nostalgia, well-being and even spirituality. The carnivalesque, which is often associated with the seaside, was notable in its absence. These visitors went to Morecambe in order to connect with the so called ‘blue space’ of the coast; their experience of this place facilitated expanded thought and variety of happy memories. The diagram below acts as a summary of touristic interpretations of Morecambe as detailed in my research.
Seasideness, or a seaside resort specific sense of place, is a reflection of the visitor’s identity and wider socio-cultural forces on one hand and perceived place attributes, influenced by readings of the seaside environment, on the other. This seaside environment is partly cultural but is also considered natural. This seaside space allows or encourages expanded thought and a re-connection to something within these visitors; this often takes the form of nostalgia. Of all the themes that have emerged from this research, it is this connection between seaside space and introspection that has been the most consistently and powerfully expressed. The coast holds a deep seated attraction to visitors; it remains a powerful draw as it has done for hundreds of years. Also nostalgia is likely to form an important part of the future of British seaside resorts like Morecambe and this is a topic I intend to investigate further.
Looking out from the promenade, across Morecambe Bay towards the Lake District. Photograph courtesy of Chris Coates:
My research in this area has informed my teaching a great deal, especially on our core modules TL2123 The Tourist: Behaviour & Culture and TL3140 Tourism & Events: Society, Culture and the Visitor Experience.  In these subject areas visitor motivation, tourist experience and consumption of place are central concepts, so it’s invaluable to employ the sort of research outlined here. If you are interested in seasideness and / or the tourist experience more generally, then follow me on DavidJarratt1 or get in touch – Thanks for your interest in my research!’

David Jarratt 12 Feb. 2016.

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