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Interview with TiMS intern Adam Fernström

Adam Fernström, a master student in Sociology at Lund University, has been an intern in TiMS during autumn and winter 2022/2023. During the internship, his main task was to conduct fieldwork on a project within one of the TiMS work packages, about multiculturalism and participation in sustainable tourism and community development.

Adam Fernström, master student in Sociology.

“My research focused on work integration social enterprises (WISEs) in Sweden. I tried to find out what is needed for WISEs to enable inclusion of foreign-born co-workers in their activities. The fieldwork included reading up on previous research, participant observations and in-depth interviews with the managers and co-workers within the organisations.”

Which are the main conclusions from your study?

“My main conclusions are that the organisations have engaged managers who don’t see cultural issues as an obstacle. They see their co-workers’ capabilities and skills, and how these qualities can be leveraged. I would say that’s inclusion on multiple levels for the co-workers.” 

What was it like to be a member of the team and to collaborate with researchers?

“It has been very exciting and educational to be part of a professional research project like TiMS. On the one hand, it’s been fruitful to collaborate with researchers across the disciplinary boundaries and learn about how one should deal with them. On the other hand, it’s nice to see how my sociological experiences could make a difference for tourism research.”

“Applying sociological knowledge within TiMS has been useful since I am interested in organizational structures, social relations and not least the leadership of work integration social enterprises.”

What are your key takeaways from the internship and the fieldwork?

“My key takeaways are the whole practice of the scientific “handicraft” of a qualitative fieldwork. There’s no strict beforehand manual for doing fieldwork. To gain access to a social field is first and foremost about ensuring trust vis-a-vis your informants, showing them that you’re a professional and benevolent person whose work they can benefit from. As a result of that, this kind of qualitative data may be harder to acquire.”

Call for papers to special issue in Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism

TiMS researchers Eva Maria Jernsand, Emma Björner and Helena Kraff are guest editors for the special issue ”Inclusive tourism – a nuanced and deepened understanding” in Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. 

Inclusive tourism has the potential to contribute to sustainable destinations, cities, regions, and nations, as well as establish equitable practices, contribute to intercultural exchange, and create multidimensional destinations. However, further investigations and conceptualizations are needed.

This special issue aims to gather voices that contribute to a nuanced and deepened understanding of inclusive tourism. Abstract deadline is March 31.

More info can be found here:
Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

The possibilities and risks with new information technology in tourism

Thomas Pederson is associated researcher in TiMS. He is a professor in informatics at University West, with focus on Human-Computer Interaction. We asked him three quick questions about his role in the project.

How can knowledge about information technology be used in research about inclusive tourism?
“The phenomenon of tourism is not only affected by IT on the consumer and producer side in isolation, but also how these two stakeholder groups relate to each other.”

“For instance, like in other domains, new and emerging IT solutions remove middlemen, change business models, and even some core aspects of what tourism is for people. By enabling new swift communication channels, it also potentially increases inclusion.”

Looking further into the future, what does it mean for the tourism industry to be able to use AR and VR?
“AR means integration between online and real-world content in connection to tourist sites. VR potentially radically changes the workflow and nature of tourism towards increased ecological sustainability by enabling sneak-peaks or complete tourism experiences without the environmental burdensome cost for travelling in the physical world.”

What possibilities and risks does it bring in relation to inclusion and representation?
“Access to IT, physical, economical, knowledge-wise, is crucial for making use of emerging IT tourism solutions both as producers as consumers. However, a large proportion of the world’s inhabitants are locked out due to poverty and lack of education.”

TiMS coming together in Varberg

TiMS members meeting in Varberg: Adam Fernström, Eva Maria Jernsand, Marcus Nyström, Helena Kraff, Thomas Pederson, Sayaka Osanami Törngren and Katarina Mattson.   

For two days, seven TiMS researchers and one project assistant met in Varberg on the Swedish west coast to present papers in progress and discuss avenues for further research on the topic of inclusive tourism.

We were also joined by associate professor Lin Lerpold from Stockholm School of Economics, who is engaged in TiMS’ sister project (funded by Formas call for research on sustainable tourism). Discussions revolved around inclusivity in tourism in relation to emerging technologies, immigrant careers in the Swedish tourism industry, and relationships between managers and staff/interns in work integration social enterprises (WISE’s).

Just as for TiMS, the Stockholm-based project has so far created interesting new meetings, discussions and collaborations across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries, as well as publications that can make important contributions both within and outside of tourism. In the sum up of the two-day meeting, we saw the impact for the future that these larger projects actually make, which we will continue discussing in other contexts next year.

The importance of strategic communication in sustainable tourism

What tourism actors in Sweden are good at communicating their sustainability work? And what are the most important factors to succeed in doing this? These are questions that Ebba Rosengren, a Bachelor student in Strategic Communication at Lund University, has taken a closer look into during her internship at TiMS and Visit Sweden.

During her internship, Ebba Rosengren worked together with TiMS and Visit Sweden with a project about communication of sustainable experiences in Swedish tourism.

How come you got interested in research about tourism?
The area of research within the field of strategic communication caught my interest quite early on, as I found myself fascinated by deep diving into the philosophical grounds that contemporary communication theories rely on. The aspiration of working with something that could make a positive impact on society, however, was the reason that I got interested in research about tourism specifically.

Are there any specific research areas you are particularly interested in?
I find sustainability communication especially interesting as an area of research. During my internship at TiMS and Visit Sweden I got to further delve into the contemporary models and theories of sustainability communication, science communication and place branding.

What did you do during the internship?
During my time as an intern, I worked together with TiMS and Visit Sweden with a project about communication of sustainable experiences in Swedish tourism. We began this project by sending out a survey to Swedish regions and destinations, where we sought examples of tourist actors who work with sustainability and sustainable experiences, in addition to communicating this well. Amongst reading up on relevant research, I worked a lot with analysing their communication, defining the sweeping term “good communication”, along with interviewing tourist actors from all over the country.

What were some key findings from the project?
One question we asked in the interviews was about tips and ideas that could inspire other tourist actors to become more sustainable and communicate about it. An advice that many came back to was to not do everything on your own, but to find collaborations, with other local actors and larger networks. Another tip was to dare to invest in fun sustainability projects, to make sustainability something exciting and more tangible.

What was it like to collaborate with the researchers?
I found it really interesting to get an understanding of how the researchers in TiMS work. What struck me the most on a more personal level, was that I could participate and actually contribute to conversations about tourism research, even though I’m still a student. The discussions that took place during the TiMS seminars were very valuable as they not only were educational, but felt encouraging for a student like myself. 

What are your key takeaways from the internship?
As the internship was carried out together with both Visit Sweden and TiMS, I got the chance to work with two parallel aims in this project. One, being more practical in regard to communication and strategy, whereas the other aspect was more scientific. A key takeaway is the importance of the relationship between theory and practice. Just as much as there is a need for further research within the area of sustainable tourism, it is crucial that theories and models can be communicated in a way that enable tourist actors to utilise them.

The future of travel and tourism – Panel discussion at the Nordic Museum

The future of travel and tourism was the topic for discussion during an inspiring evening at the Nordic Museum recently. TiMS researcher Emma Björner participated in a panel discussion with co-panelists Staffan Svantesson, Evelina Utterdahl and shared her perspectives.

Maria Soxbo facilitated the panel and guided the discussion with intriguing questions like: Is tourism becoming more sustainable? What is a sustainable vacation? Will Sweden be an attractive destination in the future? What values will be important to attract tourists?

During the evening Jonas Engman from the Nordic Museum took the audience back in time and talked about modernity, welfare, free time and culture in relation to travel and the current exhibition Come to Norden. Come to Norden exhibits 128 tourist posters illustrating how the Nordic region was introduced to the world as a tourist paradise from the late 19th century to the 1960s.

From the perspective of TiMS, a guiding principle of Nordic poster art veteran Erik Bruun was interesting: that a poster should have one single message. This principle along with stereotypical images often depicting nature and blond people can be seen as contributing to a one-dimensional image of Sweden and the Nordic, not compatible with our contemporary, diverse and multicultural society. It also sheds light on the need for more inclusive tourism, communication and place branding.

Presentation of TiMS research at international place branding conference – Increased emphasis on social sustainability and inclusiveness in place branding and development

Participants at the International Place branding Association Conference.

TiMS researcher Emma Björner recently presented her research about “Destination management organisations and influencers as co-designers and performers of place brands” at the International Place Branding Association (IPBA) conference in Aix-en-Provence, France.

In addition to inspirational presentations and keynotes, the conference also included an art gallery where explorations or interpretations of historical and current themes of place branding were displayed and presented.

Topics presented and discussed at the conference included, for example, resilience and reimagination of places in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic; the role of gastronomy and food in place making and place identity; city image advertising and TikTok city branding communication; multi-level governance, place branding stakeholders, and participatory tools.

It was emphasized that we still need to be much more bottom-up in how we engage and co-create with citizens. A positive development of the place branding field is an increase in focus on social sustainability and inclusion in the context of place branding and place development. There was a call for further research on place branding in relation to climate change.

The IPBA conference brings together scholars, practitioners and students of place branding and related fields. The International Place Branding Association aims to provide a forum for exchange of ideas around the theory and practice of place branding, and link scholars and practitioner of the international place branding community closer together, to advance the professionalization of the field. In 2023, the IPBA conference will be held in Helsingborg, Sweden, on October 18-20.

Eye-tracking – An innovative method to understand racial bias

Marcus Nyström, associate researcher in TiMS, wearing eye-tracking glasses.

Eye-tracking is a method that can be used in multidisciplinary research to understand racial bias, attitudes, and social relations. Marcus Nyström, Research Engineer at the Lund University Humanities Lab and one of our associate researchers in TiMS, explains how it works.

What is your field of expertise and your role in TiMS?
I work in the intersection between vision, visual perception and cognition, eye movements, and eye tracking. My research has a large focus on instrumentation and research methodology in these areas. My role in TiMS is to provide expertise in eye tracking, experimental design, and data analysis” says Nyström, Associate Professor of ergonomics at Lund University with a PhD in information theory.

What is eye-tracking, simply described?
“Eye-tracking is a technology that allows researchers to measure how the eyes move and where someone looks. It’s basically a fancy digital camera combined with advanced computer vision software.”

Why is eye-tracking a relevant method to use in this project and research field?
“Where someone looks is closely related to what is visually attended and cognitively processed. Eye-tracking data in the TiMS project have been used mainly to estimate what part of a stimulus, for example a face or a tourism image, is visually attended, and investigate how the distribution of visual attention changes with factors such as ethnicity of the viewer or the models present in the images.”

What do you think of the future for using eye-tracking in research projects? Will it be more common ten years from now?
“Eye tracking is already an established method in several fields such as psychology, medicine, computer science, and linguistics. As eye trackers become cheaper, they will continue to find their way into new research fields as well as consumer products such as smart phones and laptops, enabling a much larger number of users to develop new applications” says Nyström.

Learn more about eye-tracking:
An eye tracker is used to record eye movements relative to the head or the direction of gaze. It is an established method in psychology, neurology, and engineering. Most modern eye trackers are video based, which means that they measure eye movement by tracking the position of the pupil and one or several corneal reflections in each frame of the video.

TiMS researchers Sayaka Osanami Törngren and Marcus Nyström have used eye-tracking in this working paper:
Are Swedes really racially color-blind? Examination of racial ascription and degree of Swedishness

TiMS presentation at inauguration of Xperience Next
– Diversity and inclusiveness as important perspectives when developing and branding places, destinations and events

Early autumn 2022, Xperience Next was inaugurated during an inspirational kick-off at Brewhouse Arena in Gothenburg. Xperience Next is an innovation programme at Lindholmen Science Park focusing on the development of a sustainable experience industry of the future.

At the kick-off event a number of great speakers shared insights on and examples of digital knowledge for growth, digital twin development, new formats for live streaming, and events as transformation agents for sustainable societies. TiMS researcher Emma Björner did a presentation on inclusion and diversity in the context of tourism, place branding and events, online and offline.

Emma talked about inclusion and diversity as important perspectives in the development and branding of places, destinations, and events. Creating diverse and inclusive places is partly about involving different people and groups in development and branding processes. It is also about being inclusive in your communication: avoiding stereotypical representations and thinking through tone and narratives as well as who are seen in the pictures.

Emma also addressed digital communication in relation to diversity and inclusion. Especially young people believe that digital communication simplifies communication between people from different countries and makes it easier to communicate. For Generation Alfa – and thus children born in the early 2010s to those who will be born up to and including the mid-2020s – diversity and multiculturalism are predicted to be a given, or something that will be taken for granted.

Watch a short video with Emma Björner from Xperience Next