Scientific Conference: Women In Tourism

Le Meridien Hotel, Lav, Split, Croatia: April 19th – 21st, 2023

So it was off to Croatia to present Emma and my paper: Embodying Indigeneity in the mountains: Creating inclusive adventure spaces for Welsh women, United Kingdom.

It was fantastic to join such a warm and supportive community of women and men to discuss how we build sustainable approaches to gender in tourism.

Our paper explored the impact of a legacy of gendered exclusion in the Welsh mountains, United Kingdom, and how this is challenged by Welsh women’s participation in outdoor adventure courses. The research critically appraised how Indigenous Welsh women navigate gender, class, and racial landscapes in mountain leisure to create inclusive spaces. Facilitated by a National Charitable Organisation (NCO) that engages Indigenous Welsh communities in mountain adventure, we explored women’s embodied intersectional experiences through mobile video ethnography. Methodologically embodiment facilitated a way of capturing bodily sensations and experiences that provided a language to express those ideas through reflexive analysis. The findings highlight how women embody cultural identity in the mountains, which contributes to understanding issues of exclusion/inclusion in adventure spaces.

Creating feelings of inclusion in adventure tourism: Lessons from the gendered, sensory and affective politics of professional mountaineering

So happy to have worked with the amazing Katrina Myrvang Brown at The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen to create this paper that adds to the current debates concerning women and mountaineering just published in Annal of Tourism Research. The paper discusses how…

Gender is consequential in adventure tourism, where women are systemically underrepresented. Despite significant attention to the affective experiences of tourists, the gendered differences produced through affective experiences, and their implications for inclusivity in adventure activities and places, has been little explored. To address this, we examine the sensory and emotional politics of grading professional women mountaineers’ bodies, and its relationality with managing social and physical risk, through mobile video, interview and reflexive ethnography. We highlight the affective intensities of maintaining professional status, as regulated through prevailing masculine ideals, requiring women to perform significant emotional labour when working in high-risk environments by developing extreme strategies to alleviate stress. This elucidates how power-laden affective relations create and deny inclusion in adventure spaces.

You can access it here: Hall, J., & Brown, M., K. (2022) Creating feelings of inclusion in adventure tourism: Lessons from the gendered, sensory and affective politics of professional mountaineering. Annals of Tourism Research, 97, 103505.

Book Review

Indigenous Feminist Gikendassowin (Knowledge) Decolonization through Physical Activity

Tricia McGuire-Adams shows us why stories matter by exploring how they are central to our understanding of ourselves and how we think and feel about each other. Through exploring the way settler colonialism causes ill health she advances how Indigenous Peoples can resist existing narratives and regenerate their health through processes of decolonisation. Decolonisation is meaningful and transformative resistance to the forces of colonialism that perpetuate the subjugation of minds, bodies and lands. She argues that rebuilding and restoring health can be achieved through Indigenous People reconnecting with ancestral knowledge and current stories of physical activity. She critiques settler-colonial stories that negatively portray Indigenous Peoples’ physical health and demonstrates how such narratives perpetuate inequality. By highlighting the way health disparity research documents the differences in health between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Peoples, she shows how this pathologizes Indigenous Peoples as ill. Moreover, by contrasting this with the way settler colonial notions of health are reified she exposes how Indigenous Peoples’ ancestral notions of health are subjugated. This has marginalising effects that disproportionately impacts Indigenous women by suppressing Indigenous Peoples’ cultural solutions to ill health. Through critical engagement with dibaajimowinan (stories founded in ancestral knowledge), McGuire-Adams theorises how narratives of the great physical strength and skill Indigenous People possessed through land-based activities such as fishing, trapping and hunting can have a decolonising effect. Focusing specifically on Indigenous women, she asks ‘Can physical activity that encompasses a decolonization approach be a catalyst for regenerative well-being for Anishinaabeg Women?’ (chapter 1).

McGuire-Adams highlights that before colonisation, Indigenous women had to be physically strong to survive, possessing significant strength and resilience as leaders, hunters and runners. She identifies that Indigenous women’s connection to the land is foundational to their cultural identity. McGuire-Adams shows how colonialism, genocide and forced removal of Indigenous Peoples from their lands continues to impact Indigenous Peoples’ health identities. By exploring how settler-colonial violence endures in social, political and economic structures, she exposes the devastating impact of enforced settler-colonial laws, and policies; that perpetuate a disconnect between Indigenous Peoples’ land-based dibaajimowinan and physical health. She demonstrates how this disconnect negatively impacts health through reduced participation and access to land-based physical activity, which continues to erase Indigenous Peoples from the land. She argues, that settler-colonial violence against Indigenous women is rooted in their inherent connection to the land and continued erasure. For example, Indigenous women continue to be systematically erased through gender-based violence where Indigenous women and girls are eight times more likely to die of homicide in Canada compared to non-indigenous women. As such, the impact of settler-colonial violence is embodied in intergenerational histories, past, present and future, where the erasure of Indigenous women’s bodies is internalised through trauma, grief, substance abuse and thus, ill-health.

McGuire Adams advances Indigenous feminist theory through creating space where Indigenous women can engage with their dibaajimowinan to explore how settler colonialism is embodied. She shows how through dibaajimowinan Indigenous women’s bodies can have dual representations of strength and resilience and settler-colonial erasure. As an Indigenous Anishinaabeg woman from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and an Indigenous feminist scholar, McGuire-Adams aimed to understand how Indigenous women resisted and actively decolonised Western perceptions of health through participation in physical activity. To achieve this, she makes a key contribution to Indigenous feminist research through the innovative design of an Anishinaabeg research paradigm that centres on Anishinaabeg knowledge or gikendaasowin. Central to the Anishinaabeg research paradigm is the ‘Anishinaabeg way of being’ that ‘signal the use of culture, teachings and ceremony in research’ and involves story collection rather than data collection to address the central problems of research (Chapter, 2, p. 21). Three different methods of story collection were developed to capture key insights from Elders through a sharing circle, guided storytelling with Anishinabekweg Indigenous running groups and physical engagement in exercise followed by storytelling (Wiisokotaatiwin) with urban-based Indigenous women.

Major findings centred on how Indigenous women use physical activity as a form of regeneration and personal decolonisation. McGuire-Adams identifies how the connection between culture and physical activity is profoundly influenced by ancestral physicality and how this is regenerative of spiritual connections to the land. She explains that ‘mindfully engaging in revitalising the physical strength of our ancestors in our own bodies and connecting with memories of the physicality of our Anishinabekwe ancestors, Anishinaabeg are inspired to seek physical strength via physical activity and to re-engage in Anishinaabeg ethic of self-discipline’ (Chapter 3, p. 58). The research showed the importance of connecting to ancestral physicality through the Mitchitweg who, historically were highly respected Anishinaabeg messengers that ran between communities. She identified that a contemporary group of Mitchitweg female runners, called Kwe Pack, chose to run on ancestral trails enabling them to connect to the vitality, histories, language, and cultural landscapes of their ancestors. For the Kwe Pack running is a form of ceremony, healing and a way of inspiring others to achieve personal well-being. Importantly running created the opportunity to provide good role models for their children, family and community. McGuire-Adams theorises that this acts as a decolonising force that actively resists notions of victimage and re-presences the Anishinaabeg on the land. Moreover, the Kwe Pack demonstrate a counter-narrative to the deficit-based literature by showing the regenerative impact of physical activity guided by ancestral physicality.

McGuire-Adams calls for Indigenous health research that has traditionally used a deficit-based approach when analysing the ill health of Indigenous Peoples to shift to a strength-based perspective that focuses on what is working well for Indigenous People (Chapter. 5, pp. 91–92). She demonstrates the regenerative power of engaging in physical activity and how it acts as a bridge between the past and present to decolonise narratives of health. In sum, this book will appeal to scholars, postgraduate students and public authorities. It provides new theoretical and methodological approaches to decolonise physical activity and presents unique opportunities to leverage social change for Indigenous Peoples and particularly Indigenous women.

Hall, J. (2021) Indigenous Feminist Gikendassowin (Knowledge) Decolonization through Physical Activity. Review of Indigenous Feminist Gikendassowin (Knowledge) Decolonization through Physical Activity by Tricia McGuire-Adams, Leisure Studies .

Book Review

Transforming Sport and Physical Cultures Through Feminist Knowledges. Review of Transforming Sport and Physical Cultures Through Feminist Knowledges

Transforming Sport and Physical Cultures Through Feminist Knowledges draws on cutting-edge research to inspire readers to think through how physical experiences and embodied movement in sport and leisure are gendered in the twenty-first century. This edited volume begins to consolidate the emergent field of Feminist Physical Cultural Studies (FPCS) and in doing so extends knowledge in the broader canon of physical cultural studies. It does so through applying feminist new materialist approaches within a social justice agenda to understand how gender politics and relations are produced and negotiated in physical culture. Feminist new materialism offers a rich approach for exploring posthuman or more-than-human relations, in what Pink (2009) refers to as an emplaced mind-body-environment where gender is conceived as spatial, diverse, vital and fluid. Feminist new materialist approaches aim to extend beyond essentialist fixed binaries (male/female) and biological determinism to understand how gender is embodied, exposing inequalities, as well as how it can be transformative. The book makes an important contribution to PCS by broadening our understanding of how power, identity and difference are gendered in leisure and physical activity and how feminist knowledges can lead to social change. The volume encompasses a wide milieu of perspectives to question the scope and scale of mobile bodies that attempt to understand how leisure and sporting practices can be i) a force for resistance, contestation and transformation; ii) how gender is embodied, relational and politicised and iii) how addressing inequalities can lead to shifting power relations and offer routes to activism and inclusion. Gender, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality and dis(ableism) are expressed through a range of power geometries within the leisure and sporting genres of netball, football, cycling, and pregnant physical bodies. A key theme centres on decolonial and postcolonial intersectional approaches for understanding how ethnic and racial physical cultural practices and experiences embody colonial histories that privilege white bodies. Brice and Andrews (Chapter 8) explore how race is erased through postfeminist neoliberal consumption of institutionalised messages of white middle-class female empowerment championed by major sporting organisations. They show how the 2015 U.S. Soccer Federation SheBelieves Campaign undermines women’s power to resist sexism through postfeminist beliefs that place the onus on the individual (woman) to overcome hardships and barriers (Brice & Andrews, Chapter 8). Although Oxford and Spaaij (Chapter 4) demonstrate how young Colombian women and girls’ participation in football is challenging the definition of what is socially acceptable in leisure and sporting pursuits. They show how coloniality of gender is imbued with diverse oppressions, configured in global, as well as local power structures, that privilege boys and call for spaces where women and girls are not subject to masculine-oriented structures. In contrast, Thorpe and Marfell’s (Chapter, 2) ethnographic research involved adopting and recognising the importance of Indigenous People’s knowledge, ways of thinking, values, attitudes, language, and social life; through co-producing an immersive Kaupapa Māori approach to researching netball in New Zealand. Their study highlights the significance of netball for strengthening Māori tribal connections and how this helps to celebrate and revitalise cultural traditions, providing hopeful signs for FPCS new materialist research. Importantly the book explores how immersive methodological autoethnographic and ethnographic approaches offered an opportunity to operationalise ways to investigate the material relationality between gendered objects and humans. Ray’s (Chapter 6) autoethnographic account of participating in the Australian Football League (AFL) shows how relations between bodies, actions and discourse are complex, fluid and diverse. He demonstrates how masculinities become privileged and are ‘written into existence via the relations which occur between bodies and objects.’ Similarly, Barrie, Waitt and Brennan-Horley (Chapter 7) consider the technologically mediated world of road cycling in Australia to understand the affective dimensions of self-tracking and data surveillance through the cycling application Strava. In doing so, Strava is explored as a site of excess producing a range of emotions including shame, anger, pride and pleasure. Importantly spatial boundaries are shown to be expanded beyond the personal becoming the property of global communities that act to configure femininities and masculinities in new ways. For example, through ‘broadcasting your ride, you broadcast your body to be judged’ that, in some instances, led to the reproduction of masculine cultures of speed, risk and bullying. In contrast, to alleviate these power dynamics and politics, participants actively avoided using data recording technologies to preserve a sense of wellbeing and self-care. Finally, the volume also offers key philosophical insights concerning the postgenomic turn and a move away from genetic determinism. Jette, Esmode and Maier (Chapter, 3) theorise how material social, economic, political inequities and stressors can contribute to the health outcomes of unborn foetuses. They challenge how to change theory research in public health risks missing how key factors, produced through social, economic and environmental inequalities, can literally get ‘under the skin’ and contribute to obesity in the mother and child. They go on to argue that this is not necessarily a failing of individual mothers but of institutionalised (often unachievable) social pressures that place the onus on mothers to create healthy environments for their children. Similarly, Coffey (Chapter, 5) theorises how feminist new materialist approaches problematise normative truths about how bodies are constituted. Her analysis considers the impact that socio-normative messages concerning bodily appearance ideals can have through, for example, the practices of dieting. She explores how over a life-course, embodied experiences of bodily appearance change because of personal relationships, increased knowledge and changing leisure activities, which can open up new possibilities. Taking an interdisciplinary approach this book begins to ground conceptual approaches to Feminist New Materialism through, for example, posthumanist, affective, more-than-human, assemblage and interpellation theories. These theoretical explorations provide openings for designing experimental methodologies and ethnographies that provide practical methods for gathering and interpreting empirical embodied data; thoughtfully weaving a breadth of theory with rich case studies and academic concerns with how gender becomes embodied. This volume begins to offer a framework for academics and postgraduate students to critically think through the gendered body in PCS. Importantly, it advances the emerging discipline of FPCS and signals the need to consider issues of gender, social justice and change in the realm of leisure and sport. Pink, S. (2009). Doing Sensory Ethnography. London: SAGE.

Hall, J. (2022) Transforming Sport and Physical Cultures Through Feminist Knowledges. Review of Transforming Sport and Physical Cultures Through Feminist Knowledges by Simone Fullagar, Emma Rich, Adele Pavlidis and Cathy van Ingen, Leisure Studies

Journal of Sustainable Tourism: Special Issue – Tourism, Global Crises & Justice

So pleased to be accepted to be part of this special issue with Dr Brendan Paddision

Thank you to the editors Raymond Rastegar, Freya Higgins Desbiolles and Lisa Ruhanen.

We hope to see this in print in early August 2022

Tourism policy, spatial justice and COVID-19: Lessons from a tourist-historic city

In many historic and post-industrial cities, tourism is often positioned as an important component of urban regeneration. Yet, the promise of sustainability and social transformation are often empty as policymakers concentrate on sustaining tourism over supporting greater social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, the pandemic has drawn attention to the unsustainable nature of the neoliberal model of tourism engagement. Due to the paucity of research exploring spatial injustice in urban tourism, this study examines the impact policymaking and governance structures have on urban destinations and the inequalities this creates. Drawing on Edward Soja’s approach to Lefebvre’s The Right to the City (1968), this research explores how lessons learnt during the pandemic in the tourist-historic city of York, UK, could transform tourism in historic urban spaces. Taking an interpretive case study approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted with leading stakeholders to understand the spatial dimensions of the lived experience of policymaking. The hopeful signs emerging from York’s response to the pandemic demonstrates how communities can reclaim voice to build sustainable and purposeful models of engagement. This paper contributes to our understanding by demonstrating the transforming potential that future policymaking could have for reducing the negative impacts of tourism.

Paddison, B., & Hall, J. (2022). Tourism policy, spatial justice and COVID-19: Lessons from a tourist-historic city. Journal of Sustainable Tourism,

Other Everests Symposium: Royal Geographical Society 2022, 5 – 6 July.

Excited to be invited to be part of the AHRC research network and present at the Royal Geographical Society – Other Everests: Commemoration, Memory and Meaning and the British Everest Expedition Centenaries, 2021-2024. The network will host a series of events and exhibitions over the next 12 months.

I will be presenting within the Globalization on Everest panel discussion with Dr Paul Gilchrist, Jase Wilson and Dr Nathan Smith, my contribution centres on:


In response to this symposium my contribution centres on the psychological, cultural and nationalistic imperatives that drive the commodification of Everest, with particular focus on the inequalities produced through the enduring appeal of adventurous white masculinities

Recently I have been researching how gender and race intersect in spaces of risk and the factors that limit access to social and material mountain spaces, focusing on the experiences of Junko Tabei, the first woman to ascend Everest in 1975.

To understand her experiences, it is important to consider how:

  1. Governance structures in mountaineering codify and grade mountaineering spaces and produce/reproduce extreme spaces of risk that have become increasingly commodified – to understand how:
  2. These structural processes impact mountaineering identities at the intersection of gender and race

Book Review

Parkour, Deviance and Leisure in the Late-Capitalist City: An Ethnography
By: Thomas Raymen
Bingley: Emerald 3019 (Emerald Studies in Deviant Leisure)
ISBN 978-1-78743-812-5

Thomas Raymen challenges us to consider how consumer capitalism sits at the heart of even our most transgressive counter-cultural sports and urban leisure activities. The objective of his book is to provide insight into the spatial dynamics of parkour’s practice in the city, but also into the role of parkour in the wider lives of traceurs (parkour athletes) to explain the complex position it holds at the nexus between spatially illegitimate ‘deviance’ and ‘legitimate’ commodified leisure. Raymen asks why parkour is excluded from urban spaces despite conforming to consumer-capitalist commodification through the development of consumer goods, such as fee-paying parkour air-gyms, use in advertising campaigns, television programmes, films, and associated merchandise. The volume makes an important contribution to criminology and leisure to trouble the widely held perception that leisure is good (Rojek, 2010). Raymen brings into view how harm is hidden in the things we seek and love the most in our contemporary consumer leisure cultures.

Through an Ultra-Realist lens founded in transcendentalism and Lacanian philosophy, Raymen theorises how individuals, even though they engage in seemingly transgressive behaviours, lack autonomy and the ability to resist hegemonic oppression. Taking a broad perspective, he shows how contemporary life is embedded in neoliberal consumer capitalism, which places primacy upon identity, entrepreneurialism, risk-taking and ‘cool individualism’. Individualism drives the desire to meet an unattainable ideal (in this case the heroic, brave and strong athlete) that sits at the heart of consumerism, represented through media, from fashion, films to social media, and that leads to a sense of lack and dissatisfaction producing significant emotional labour. Moreover, Raymen challenges the assumption that parkour is a form of political dissent, ‘rebellion’ or anti-capitalist ‘resistance’ popularised within academia and popular culture but is in fact a form of hyper-conformity’ (Chapter 3). This is illustrated by the traceur’s emphatic denial that parkour is a form of social-resistance as well as their entrepreneurial activity that commodifies leisure into gig-work.

The precariousness of post-industrial labour markets and the blurring of work and leisure provide a broad angle for a critical discussion about parkour.

To operationalise theory, Raymen undertook longitudinal ethnographic research in the post-industrial city of Newcastle, United Kingdom, that enabled him to ‘feel’ parkour in an embodied sense as a co-participant living and breathing the life of a traceur. This also enabled him to observe the research participants’ interactions with spaces and people within and those outside of the sport, revealing sensory spatial dynamics as well as spoken lines of enquiry that otherwise would not have emerged. Importantly, by embodying parkour through experiencing the flows of the city, Raymen identifies three key factors: firstly, the tacit dimensions of negotiating sensations of spatial legitimacy and illegitimacy, through performing in physical urban spaces. Raymen exposes how inequality and exclusion are the product of the shift from municipal socialism to municipal capitalism and the transition from democratic municipal governance to pursuing consumer markets. He explores how the processes of regenerating deindustrialising cities into commercial spaces of consumption to make cities economically viable lead to privatisation and securitisation of urban space (Zukin, 1995). Furthermore, capitalism’s use of culture displaces it through the visual display of the city to create a ‘wider symbolic economy’, which provides the multi-sensory spatial ambience conducive to consumption (Chapter 5). Maintaining the experiential atmosphere of space itself is imperative to the city’s economic success, anything that deviates or threatens it is excluded. This was illustrated by traceurs constantly being moved on by security guards from ‘public’ urban spaces even though they were not breaking any formal laws.

Secondly, the role of living the parkour lifestyle is contextualised through exploring the pressures and realities of the lived experience of twenty-first-century capitalism that fixes young people in precarious working conditions in the service economy. The precarity of working life meant that it was hard to make the transition into adulthood, thus infantilising the traceurs because they were unable to secure a living wage and move from the familial home. Raymen points out the contradictory nature of the traceurs’ lives, showing how parkour was originally a form of childish urban-play, that has been ‘adultified’, increasingly professionalised, and commodified – in contrast to the infantilisation of ‘work’ and adulthood that demonstrates the existential insecurity of hyper-exploitative labour markets and the kind of emotional labour young people experience. As Raymen argues, this is a socio-historic moment revealing modern society’s obsession with youth and its socio-economic value.

Thirdly, this led to nuanced understandings of how parkour is a crucial form of identity work that helped to negate sensations of hopelessness and achieve a sense of purpose and wellbeing. Paradoxically, traceurs become prosumers by commodifying parkour practices, whereby leisure becomes work-like in what Stebbins (2007) conceptualised as ‘serious leisure’. By embedding the entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism within the practice of parkour, the traceurs are also offered liberalism’s fabled rewards of autonomy and ‘freedom’ (Chapter 4). The precariousness of post-industrial labour markets and the blurring of work and leisure provide a broad angle for a critical discussion about parkour. Raymen argues that this wider context has been neglected, but it is critical for understanding the attraction to parkour within the global and structural context of socio-economic change. This is contrasted with the spatial realm of parkour that Raymen acknowledges is far more complex by offering authentic, therapeutic and ‘Real’ experiences for the participants. Yet, by drawing on non-representational theory Raymen shows how traceurs embody the physical materiality of the city as an affective space of consumption through their enjoyment of creating images and videos in off-limits spaces; images and representations that would latterly be commodified for others’ consumption.

Thoughtfully weaving a breadth of theory with rich ethnographic research, the book offers a comprehensive analysis for academics and students across the social sciences of the harm leisure produces. Raymen works to answer the questions concerning the paradoxical contradictions of parkour’s position at the nexus between ‘deviance’ and ‘leisure’, asking why this group of people who were actively excluded from urban spaces due to capitalism’s hegemonic control of central city areas, perpetuate and participate in the economic system that marginalises them (Chapter 4). However, it is acknowledged that further work is to be done to explore how hyper-consumption, leisure and gender intersect and how masculinities shape urban spaces of leisure and harm. The book offers insight into the complexity of the integrated relationships between deviance, conformity and the transgression of spatial rules in late capitalist cities and consumer culture.

Copyright © Jenny Hall 2022


Rojek, C. (2010). The Labour of Leisure: The Culture of Free Time. London, Sage.
Stebbins, R. (2007). Serious Leisure: A Perspective of Our Time. London: Transaction Publishers.
Zukin, S. (1995). The Cultures of Cities. Cambridge, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Royal Geographical Society with IBG International Conference 2022: CFP: Beyond Recovery: Sustainable Urban Tourism

Royal Geographical Society with IBG International Conference 2022: Geographies Beyond Recovery

30 August – 2nd September, Newcastle University, United Kingdom

CFP: Beyond Recovery: Sustainable Urban Tourism

Dr Brendan Paddison, York St John University

Dr Jenny Hall, York St John University

In many post-industrial cities, tourism has become the panacea for renewal and urban regeneration, widely considered the saviour of business economies and an instrument for poverty reduction. Yet, the promise of sustainability and social transformation are often empty as policymakers have concentrated on sustaining tourism over supporting greater social, economic and environmental sustainability (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2020). Overtourism, the climate crisis, the availability and quality of tourism work, and concerns regarding the capacity of communities to absorb tourism continue to highlight the unsustainable nature of the current industrial models of tourism. In addition, the pandemic has intensified social and economic inequalities (Jamal & Higham, 2021) and heightened issues of urban vulnerability (Sharifi & Khavarian-Garmsir, 2020), particularly for those destinations where tourism and hospitality have a major economic role.

It is within this context that this session explores the spatial in(justice) public policymaking and governance structures have on the ecology of urban tourist destinations and the inequalities this creates. As urban destinations emerge from the pandemic, striving to achieve a balance between development and sustainability is at the forefront of tourism debates (Rastegar, Higgins-Desboilles & Ruhenan, 2021). If concerns regarding the economic, social, cultural and environmental impacts of tourism are to be addressed, the unlocking of the industry is an opportunity to think radically about how tourism policy can be reimagined for a just tourism future. We invite contributors to critically and radically reimagine policymaking in city destinations through the lens of social justice and the transforming potential it holds for reducing the impacts of tourism.

This session aims to traverse disciplinary boundaries and welcomes contributions from all fields, which may relate, but are not limited, to the following themes:

  • Geographies of harm in tourism cities 
  • Mobilities and spatial politics of urban travel   
  • Representations of difference in city destinations 
  • Development discourses in urban tourism 
  • Sustainable engagement with communities in tourism cities 
  • Reflexive and critical modes of tourism practice in cities 
  • Urban governance structures and the role of the private sector in urban destinations 
  • Spatial justice and policymaking in urban destinations 
  • Urban regeneration and tourism 

Please send abstracts (approx. 300 words) with author contact details to Dr Brendan Paddison ( & Dr Jenny Hall ( by midnight Wednesday 23rd March 2022.

We hope to host the session as a hybrid model of live in-person and live online.


Higgins-Desbiolles, F. (2020). Socialising tourism for social and ecological justice after COVID-19. Tourism Geographies, 22(3), 610–623.

Jamal, T., & Higham, J. (2020). Justice and ethics: towards a new platform for tourism

and sustainability. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 29(2–3), 143–157.

Rastegar, R., Higgins-Desbiolles, F., & Ruhanen, L. (2021). COVID-19 and a justice framework to guide tourism recovery. Annals of Tourism Research, 103161.

Sharifi, A., & Khavarian-Garmsir, A. R. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic: Impacts on cities and major lessons for urban planning, design, and management. Science of The Total Environment, 749, 142391.

Royal Geographical Society with IBG International Conference 2021

It has been a busy year at RGS this year where I presented three papers on diverse topics including, COVID-19 the recovery of tourism in historic cities, experiences of restricted leisure through the use of the cycling app Zwift and of course mountaineering.

My papers were as follows:


With Katrina Myrvang Brown, James Hutton Institute


With Dr Paul Barratt, Stafford University

BEYONd COVID-19: Re-purposing tourism: Engaging our radical in a Northern English Tourist-Historic City

With Dr Brendan Paddision, York St John University

I had the great pleasure to Co-chair Dr Anna de Jong and Professor Gordon Waitt’s session on Food Geographies and I was re-elected Treasurer for the Geographies and Leisure Tourism Research Group.

Here is my paper for Dr Jonathan Westaway and Paul Gilchrist session on Mountaineering and Everest as a place of exception:



This paper explores the enduring appeal of adventurous white masculinities and the impact this has on women mountaineers. 

It stemmed from our experiences of mountain guiding and a curiosity to understand the experiences of women mountaineers. Broadly the research explored the sensory and emotional experiences of professional women mountaineers and how these are impacted upon by socio-political influences in extreme adventure tourism settings.

Our research explores the emotional labour experienced when managing risk and how this limits access to the social and material spaces of mountains in, gendered ways. We offer a feminist affective analysis of the structural inequalities experienced by professional mountain guides (United Kingdom). This presentation focuses on the emotional labour experienced when managing risk and how this limits access to the social and material spaces of mountains in, gendered ways.

To do this we explore how:

1) Governance structures in mountaineering codify and grade mountaineering spaces and places

2) And how grading as a governing structure produces extreme spaces of risk through the hidden practice of women solo mountain climbing

Mountains are increasingly commodified leisure and tourism spaces that provide opportunities for adventure, generating imaginative and material ideas of risk. Rooted in a legacy of imperialism and gendered traditions, these experiences often feed into narratives that reify the trope of the heroic and intrepid adventurer (Ortner, 1999).

More broadly as, feminist tourism scholars Ferguson & Alarcon (2015) argue, gender equality in tourism has yet to be systematically integrated in policy and practice. In adventure tourism, this is acutely apparent where even a casual glance into hypermasculine adventure cultures reveals systemic inequalities associated with gender, race, dis/ablement and age (Hough MacKenzie & Raymond, 2020; Beames, Mackie, Atencio, 2019; Frohlick 2005, Ortner, 1999).


To illustrate, the 22nd of May 2019 hit the headlines with the extraordinary image of over 220 people queuing to summit the highest point on earth, Mount Everest (Arnette, 2019). Only twenty-nine were and none were guides (figures relate to the South Route considered to be the easiest and thus most popular) (Salisbury, 2021). Despite a booming adventure tourism industry and the rapid commodification of high-altitude mountain places (Cater, 2013), it is striking that in the twenty-first century, so few women are represented. Such statistics provide fresh impetus for interrogating how inequality in the apparatus of adventure tourism is perpetuated.

Women have made a significant but hidden contribution to mountaineering due in no small part to the “complicated relationship of nationalism, colonialism, and masculinity at play” (Hunt, 2019, 2). However, mountaineering is rooted in a powerful legacy of male-dominated clubs and governing institutions founded on masculine norms. These clubs assumed responsibility for codifying and grading mountains that govern spatial practices in mountaineering in two ways. Firstly, by establishing traditions based on making first ascents of mountains, of which, very few are by women. All first ascents were graded by their difficulty and recorded in official guidebooks and records published by the clubs. Grades are symbolic of risk, the higher the grade the greater the risk where protection is virtually absent and the climber is effectively soloing. Secondly, mountains are codified through masculine emotions and expressions such as bravery, strength, aggression and heroism (Roche, 2015; Colley, 2010). Displays of heroism became synonymous with mountaineering and socially transmitted through rules that have evolved over generations that govern how to be a good mountaineer (Beedie, 2003, Barrett & Martin, 2016)). Emotions perceived as feminine are hidden, such as empathy, care, and fear (Frohlick, 2006). Femininity is virtually absent in the codification of mountain spaces and places as tourist and leisure destinations where grades, govern and are shared constructed and performed largely through the lens of the male body.

The impacts are threefold, firstly, climbing hard grades secure reputations and places intense pressure on mountain guides to perform in spaces of extreme physical risk. Doing so enables them to secure social and economic benefits. Secondly, women mountaineers are perceived as transgressing femininity and familial gender norms by engaging in risk (Dilley & Scraton, 2010; Frohlick, 2006).  Thirdly, to survive in this emotional battleground women have historically internalized and reproduced colonial values in mountaineering leaving traditions that govern how mountaineering is performed and reproduced largely untroubled (Taylor, 2006).

Theoretical Framework

We drew on Sara Ahmed’s (2004) work to explore ‘how broader structures of power and injustice are (re)produced’ (Everingham & Motta, 2020, 3). Emotions as Ahmed attests have histories that are shared and replicated – this is no more evident than in the familiar trope of the mountaineering hero. Through this framework, we explored how heroism becomes an affective economy (Ahmed, 2004) through the grading of bodies that drives extreme forms of risk-taking and the emotional labour, dissonance or discomfort experienced through incongruence between displayed and felt emotions (Hochschild, 2012 [1983]).


Data was co-produced inductively over the course of seven winter mountaineering days with seven women mountaineers in the United Kingdom (UK). Experimental go-alongs were used to collect video ethnographic data via GoPro Hero 3s.

Data analysis involved deep reflection that was triangulated using film footage, semi-structured interviews and field diaries. NVivo provided a powerful platform for analysis, twenty-five codes and sub-codes emerged from the data and themed, under codes such as soloing, silence, well-being and grading (Braun & Clark, 2012).

Findings & Analysis

Our findings demonstrate how affect has a profound influence on how individuals gain access and legitimacy (or not) to particular groups, formally and informally. We argue that the grading structures that govern mountaineering produce inequalities that downgrade women’s bodies in numerous ways and are closely tied to how reputations are embodied.

Reputation is everything in mountaineering – we found that all the research participants expressed how having a name is a big thing in the outdoor industry. Mountaineering identities are built upon producing a logbook of extreme risk-based climbing achievements. Despite having the correct identity and credentials women struggled to achieve recognition from their clients (male & female) frequently experiencing what research participant Selkie expressed as that ‘Dip in the shoulders when they are given [Annabel] or myself on mountaineering course’. This produced an exhausting daily ritual of self-masculinisation where they recounted heroic stories of hard grades/mountaineering routes they had climbed. Downgrading women’s mountaineering bodies has a heritage that can be traced to the late 1880s, for example, Elisabeth Le Blond’s phenomenal first winter ascents in the Alps were downgraded and attributed to her male guide technical skill (Gifford, 2013).

Such discrimination remains unchallenged because Fernando & Prasad (2018, 10) point out ‘negative consequences follow those who challenge the system’ driven by the fear of losing economic and social status. The emotional labour involved in managing grading or gradism means, women ‘have to work twice as hard’ (Arnot Reid, 2017) and take’ what one research participant expressed ‘as whatever the mountain throws at us’. The gendered nature of being a good mountaineer governs and grades bodies. More broadly, we argue, gradism, contaminates the sensory fabric of mountaineering destinations circulating as an affective economy manifest in route names, style of ascent, climbing performance and representation.

Governance & Gradism

The value placed on grades and climbing extremely difficult routes is institutional and pervades structural inequalities. For example, during a national review of the highest UK mountaineering qualification Mountain Climbing Instructor (Winter) Selkie challenged the proposed upgrading of the level aspirants must demonstrate from grade 3 winter to grade 5. In voicing her concerns that such a move was dangerous Selkie risked both social and economic status leading her to consider stepping down from a role leading the winter mountaineering programme at one of the National Mountaineering Centres. She experienced a competitive gradism that challenged her status and identity as a good mountaineer, producing intense emotional labour manifest in feeling weak, lacking competence and shame. Illustrating how gradism works as an affective economy that sticks to mountain-climbing bodies silencing difference and vulnerabilities (Ahmed, 2004).

Soloing in Work

Climbing hard grades produces structural inequalities in working environments, for example, Lorrie had worked hard to build a reputation with her new employer and colleagues and the chief way of working was to ‘onsight’ the climbs when leading clients. In mountaineering, an informal code requires the leader to climb a route without having any prior knowledge of it physically, apart from the route description contained within a guidebook. This is classed as onsighting.  To receive assistance whilst climbing is perceived as weak and can lead to social shaming (Lewis, 2000). To onsight a route ramps up the pressure on the leader because all the unknowns of the climb must be worked through in situ. This, combined with leading unknown clients who may not be competent climbers themselves means the leader must be sure they can not only climb the grade but can solo the route.

Soloing is steeped in a history of heroism and is the riskiest form of mountaineering where a mountaineer climbs alone with minimal and no protection. As a result, the research participants were under pressure to lead at their limit to satisfy the demands of clients and employers. We argue that onsighting is an example of a gradist affective economy signifying valued masculine traits such as, heroism, risk-taking and strength, attributable to the gradist social control mechanisms that form the moral boundaries (Eger, 2021) of being a good mountaineer. The fear of social shaming prevented Lorrie from speaking to her employers to seek help, forcing her to accept physical risks involved as preferable to the social risks of appearing weak or incompetent because this would significantly impact her professional status socially and economically.

The precarity of working in such a gendered environment makes women mountain guides like Lorrie vulnerable and renders them powerless to challenge such inequalities. As such, the emotional labour produced by onsighting was significant with Lorrie expressing how the fear of ‘failing and how I was perceived in front of peers, all that stuff is exhausting’.

The pressure to perform also impacts on personal/leisure time where mountain guides feel compelled to climb at even harder grades to maintain a sense of bodily power, confidence and control to meet the expectations placed on them.

Solo Climbing in Leisure

Structural inequalities were also evident in leisure spaces: Within leisure five research participants used soloing as a tactic to avoid unwelcomed surveillance this had a dual purpose of alleviating sensations of toxic competition and enabling them to secure social status. This was not without consequence and produced emotional labour.

For leisure, Lorrie planned a two-day solo winter climbing experience.  On the first day, she had an amazing experience but abandoned her second climbing day. She attributed this to sharing her experiences with her peers after the first day. Sharing her success ruptured her ability to disengage from social norms. Emotional politics impacted in two ways; firstly, adherence to normative values of risk and femininity (Dilley & Scraton, 2010); secondly using her experiences to build social status as a good mountaineer – that pushed her into a space of risk beyond her limit. The consequence meant ‘It stopped Her enjoying going climbing that winter for leisure as ‘it was just too pressured’. The impact of engaging in spaces of extreme risk during work and leisure led to Lorrie cease mountaineering – she was burnt out.

Soloing is a tightly controlled space with many functions that are embodied in the gradist sensory politics of being a good mountaineer. Soloing circulates as an affective economy that reifies normative masculinities where risk is agentive for men (Eger, 2021). As Eger (2021, p.8) points out ‘this contrasts with women’s experiences, who learn to consider their social interactions and movements through an internalization of risk, to keep safe’ and be modest for fear of reprisal. This conflict produces significant emotional labour. As such, there is a hidden history of women mountaineers engaging in soloing notably: UK’s Alison Hargreaves, French climber Catherine Destivelle and the American mountaineer Steph Davies. Following her solo ascent of the Grand Jorasses Destivelle noted that she soloed so that ‘nobody can now say that it was my climbing partner, male of course, who did all the work’(Destivelle, 2015, p.186).


For the research participants solo mountaineering is a product emotional labour involved in proving that they are good mountaineers. A good mountaineer is graded through masculine heroic qualities that circulate as an affective economy producing extreme risk spaces, performances and thus, destinations. In sum, gender is consequential in mountaineering and inequality sits at the heart of one of its governing structures – grading. In sum, topographically, morphologically, geographically and culturally mountain spaces are codified by masculine ways to sense, feel and be.

Drawing on Ahmed (2004) we experimented with a new way to research how identity, place and power are constituted through embodied experiences of tourism practices (Buda et al. 2014, 104). Our contribution flags a clear need to take seriously the affective geographies of the tourist encounter and how particular places and environments become co-constituted with affective economies and in our case how women mountaineers experience and mitigate structural inequalities in spaces of adventure tourism. This chimes with calls to redouble efforts to address issues of decolonisation and diversity in tourism studies (Chambers & Buzinde, 2015). 


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Book Review

Leveraging disability sport events: impacts, promises, and possibilities

by L. Misener, G. McPherson, D. McGillivray and D. Legg, Oxfordshire, New York, Routledge, 2019, (PBK), ISBN 9780367520267; (HBK), ISBN 9781138090781; (eBK), ISBN 9781315108469

Jenny Hall Published online: 23 Mar 2021

Download here

Once again a busy month here is the article:

Leveraging Disability Sport Events is a monograph founded upon a longitudinal research project of global scope and scale. The volume provides insight into the social and political phenomenon concerning how large-scale sporting events are used to influence societal structures to garner equity. Over three-years, the researchers investigated the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 (G2014) and the Toronto Pan-Am/Parapan American Games 2015 (TO215) producing an in-depth case study ‘to offer learnings from other countries and contexts’ (Chapter 1, 1). The book explores how parasports are used for community development; strategic alignment between event strategies; and impacts and outcomes for addressing disability issues, such as accessibility, participation and policy. The authors challenge scholars, event organisers and governments at all levels to consider how events are positioned, used and leveraged to create positive social change pre, during and post-event. Through the lens of critical disability studies, the research makes a significant contribution by highlighting the imbalance of power affecting social and political considerations concerning how persons of disability access societal structures. Following Shildrick (2007, p. 233), the study is founded in neither a rights-based or citizenship-based approach but seeks ‘to extend and productively critique the achievements of working through more modernist paradigms of disability’ (Chapter 1). In doing so, this multi-disciplinary, multi-site and interdisciplinary project exposes how disability remains subject to systemic discrimination and oppression in large scale event production.

The researchers ask us to rethink relations between disabled and non-disabled designations in terms of ethics and ontology, exposing how sports events spaces and places are key sites of power that privilege dominant ableist values. Similarly, to Brittain and Beacom’s (2016) work on the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the findings demonstrate how persons with disabilities are included/excluded and expose the imbalance of power and privilege that reproduce norms of ability. The researchers identify a dearth in the literature that examines disability sports events and in particular studies that have applied a leveraging lens to understand the social impact of parasport events. Further suggesting that an absence of literature that explores how social change takes place in parasport events is compounded by a lack of critical scrutiny that leads parasports events to reinforce and replicate inequality in urban spaces. As such, the book contributes new insight on how city-bid processes over-inflate claims that disability sports events can ‘fix’ urban problems, yet they fail to substantively deliver on promises made and thus, legacy.

This volume provides key insight on how G2014 and TO2015 events were subject to systemic policy failure due, in part, to a lack of back-up with appropriate funding, resources and expertise for implementation on ‘promises made’ beyond the games. The authors argue that the strategy, ‘Awareness is Enough,’ failed to deliver and they therefore identify that strategy can only work if it is activated through appropriate resourcing (Chapter 4, 70). For example, leveraging change was too detached from the organisation and management of the G2014 event, which created tension between the rhetoric of ‘opportunity’ and the claims that the games had created and delivered enhanced accessibility. Moreover, key tensions between a welfarist, in contrast to entrepreneurial models concerning marketisation of disability sports events, were prevalent. Although mainstream media has significant potential to change perceptions about disability, the authors found that para-athletes were predominantly (mis)represented through ‘inspirational’ or ‘brave’, medicalised and ‘supercrip’ narratives. These narratives rarely showed impairment. This framing reinforces media-constructed realities that are divorced from the everyday lives of persons with disabilities and are in danger of commercialising the growth in parasports. The researchers suggest that such narratives serve to marginalise para-athletes by framing them as ’other’ and exacerbate social and spatial inequalities. However, it was identified that para-athletes had begun to resist such representations through self-generated social media content, creating a new paradigm for media circulation that challenges ableist mainstream media representations.

Through a comparative analysis of management models that integrate parasports into the main event, in contrast to distinct and separate parasports events that run in parallel, the merits and challenges are explored. Analysis of the implications and impact both models have across several domains is made including the effectiveness of management committees; policy development; representation in marketing and media and how this influences the attitudes and behaviours of spectators and volunteers; volunteer training and development and finally an assessment of the legacies achieved and to what extent. Notably the researchers conducted a large-scale survey of both volunteers and spectators. Using an adapted version of Scale of Attitudes Towards Disabled Persons (SADP) the researchers aimed to understand if there was any behavioural and attitudinal change because of the games. By developing a new global measure to analyse global attitudinal change the researchers found a significant difference between integrated and non-integrated models, with a non-integrated model having a greater impact. However, it was found that attitudes and awareness did not change significantly for either volunteers or spectators. The authors note the limits of their research in terms of its focus on para-events taking place in the West and the need for research that explores other cultures and regions.

Analysis of organisational management committees and functions showed that caution is required in the adoption of either model. Integrated models offered economies of scale and specific parasport management functions that had the power to influence from within. However, in G2014 this proved ineffectual when it came to leveraging the event’s potential and the authors argue that integrated models risk marginalising parasport aspects. The non-integrated model adopted by TO2015 showed that para-events have distinction and emphasis on legacy planning when organised in separate models, but risk exclusion from key decision-making. In sum, there is no clear approach, and the authors make a call for further research. In parallel with Brittain and Beacom (2016, p. 516) findings, both games showed agency in providing a platform for engaging in debate about disability issues but as shown ‘can create as many problems as they solve’. As such, each event was subject to systemic, political, societal and ideological challenges that no ‘Paralympic Games can in itself hope to counter … In a very real sense each Games is a child of its time’ (Brittain & Beacom, 2016, p. 516).

In sum, this book will appeal to scholars, event organisers and public authorities. It provides a critical analysis of how parasports events present unique opportunities to leverage social change for persons of disability. It does so, through highlighting key pitfalls and challenges for delivering upon the promises made to deliver long-lasting social change and thus legacy.


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