Stijn Reijnders has received a very prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant. Reijnders obtains 1.9 million euro for the next 5 years to further strengthen his research team. This allows him to study film tourism in five different countries, with a team of four PhD students and a postdoc researcher.
Recent years have seen a dramatic, worldwide increase of film tourism, with far-reaching implications for the experience and organization of landscapes. One example would be the stream of tourists to New Zealand following the release of the movie adaptations of The Lord of the Rings. It has been estimated that after this trilogy hit the cinema, the amount of international visitors to New Zealand more than doubled, resulting in an enormous economic boost. Another, notorious example is The Beach, which was filmed in a nature reserve in Thailand, causing conflicts between the production team and the different community stakeholders.
While the number of empirical studies on film tourism is growing, most have been limited to isolated, Western examples, often overlooking the fact that the face of the media industry as well as the tourism industry has been changing rapidly on a global scale. According to Reijnders, in order to take this field of research to a higher level, a more comparative and cross-case approach is essential. His project ‘Worlds of Imagination’ aims to do so, by exploring more generic processes and relationships of power involved in the development and experience of film tourism worldwide. The principal question underlying this project is: why, under what conditions and in which ways do films and TV series give rise to new and diverse tourism flows across the globe?
Five different contexts
Together with four PhD candidates and a postdoc researcher, Reijnders will analyze and compare film tourism in five geographically and culturally different contexts: South Korea, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Jamaica and India. These five cases will be subjected to the same lines of inquiry, focusing on: 1) the visual traditions in the local media cultures; 2) the effect of local policies aimed at developing film tourism; 3) the commonalities and differences in motives and experiences of film tourists with diverse backgrounds. By studying film tourism in such an international, interdisciplinary and comparative manner, and by turning to new experimental methods from both the humanities and the social sciences, Reijnders and his team will deliver a fundamental contribution to a growing but fragmented field of investigation. Furthermore, he aims to deliver an innovative theory on the role of the imagination in a mediatized and globalized society. The project will be housed at the Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
About the ERC
The ERC Grants are part of the Horizon2020 programme. With these grants financial support is offered to independent excellent researchers, who wish to carry out groundbreaking research. The grants are intended to enable already independent excellent researchers to consolidate their own research teams and to develop their most innovative ideas across the European Research Area.