In the first of series of blog posts about our speakers it is a pleasure to introduce Michael A. Di Giovine Assistant Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Honorary Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At West Chester, he teaches courses on museums, heritage and tourism, and is the Director of the Old Library Atrium Museum. A former tour operator, his research in Europe and Southeast Asia focuses on global mobilities (tourism/pilgrimage and immigration), heritage, foodways, and religion.
Michael is also the author of The Heritage-scape: UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism (Lexington Books, 2009) and the forthcoming book Tourism: Anthropological Insights (University of Toronto Press).
Michael’s presentation, ‘Communicating Sustainability through World Heritage Tourism,’ will link the conference’s four main themes of world heritage and communities, special interest groups, education and tourism by examining the ways in which world heritage practitioners can engage with tourism to communicate sustainability values to a diversity of audiences. First, it will outline contemporary conceptions of sustainability, focusing on culture—what the UN has called its “third pillar” (the others being economic and environmental sustainability). Second, it will discuss how sustainability increasingly fits into UNESCO’s World Heritage Program, placing the World Heritage Convention into perspective with other heritage-centered initiatives by UNESCO (including the 2003 Intangible Heritage Convention and the more recent “Creative Cities Network”). Problematizing sustainability practices in tourism and heritage conservation, it argues that the World Heritage Convention has different audiences, and thus employs a different form of communication, than these newer initiatives, which, in turn, engages with sustainability and tourism in different ways.