The Stonehall
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Friday, October 9, 2015
Chiswell Portland, Dorset DT5 1AP
South West England

A Symposium on the Isle of Portland will explore the role of art in rural tourism. The event, which is run by b-side, will examine the tourism industry’s relationship with the arts, and the impact of tourism on community, environment and economy.

With cultural tourism currently high on the agenda, and Dismaland at Weston-super-Mare in the news, delegates will discuss whether art can be used effectively to increase awareness of some of the potential issues arising from the impact of tourism, and to support a responsible and sustainable approach.

Sandy Kirkby, b-side producer and conference organiser said:
“Partnerships are being formed between arts and tourism organisations and we’ll be exploring what this actually means for these organisations and the artists they work with. In rural areas, tourism is increasingly seen as theanswer to supporting the economy and sustaining communities. Arts organisations are looking to the landscape as a venue and a backdrop. They’re developing events, creating a cultural calendar to augment and celebrate this offer.

“But for every positive argument put forward in support of rural tourism, there can be a counter argument. When there’s an influx of visitors what is the impact on the landscape and the people who live there? We’ll be discussing whether art can be used effectively to increase awareness and understanding of some of the potential issues arising from these impacts and what role the arts can play in augmenting the tourism offer whilst also maintaining artistic integrity.”

The Symposium will include a series of creative provocations, interventions and discussions including:

  • An introduction from Artangel Co-Director James Lingwood and artist Katrina Palmer
  • A conversation exploring the responsibilities, sensitivities, successes and failures of putting communities in the tourism spotlight, led by artist Alistair Gentry and anthropologist Julie Crawshaw
  • A session focussing on balancing the needs and expectations of visitors whilst simultaneously protecting natural environments and resources, led by by Tom Munro, Dorset AONB and Joss Allen from Deveron Arts.
  • An interrogation of the positive – or otherwise – implications of tourist-driven agendas, and the economic impact for both the area and the arts, led by Dr Nigel D Morpeth of Leeds Beckett University and Sue Jones, Director of the Whitstable Biennale,

Further information about the Symposium and booking details are available on the b-side website.