Reflections on the 4th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places

Corfu Symposium Institute of Place Management Ares Kalandides
Photographer: Ian Southerin – Location Photography

By Heather Skinner*

The 4th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places took place 24-27 April 2017 at the Mayor Mon Repos Palace Art Hotel. The Institute of Place Management (IPM) now organises the Symposium, and has once again provided formal accreditation for the event. The Symposium focuses on both theory and practice, on both knowledge production and its impact, and this is unusual at academic events. The IPM’s links with the Journal of Place Management and Development (JPMD) with its focus on communicating with academics, practitioners, policy makers and local government, is also a driving factor behind the balance between academic and practitioner input into this event, and a special issue of the JPMD (Volume 10 Number 2) has been devoted to a selection of papers from our past events related to the Special Issue theme of Responsible Tourism and Place Making.

This year’s Symposium focused on the theme Place Making from Various Gazes. This enabled us to consider practitioner, policy, and academic papers in vibrant, positive, supportive, and, most importantly, impactful sessions that can make a real difference not only to the island of Corfu that is our host for these annual events, but also in other places where our delegates work and live.

The Symposium is a truly international event, and while we are keen to have impact on the island that is host to our event, the 2017 Symposium presented 3 keynote speeches from academics and practitioners from three different countries, and attracted almost 50 delegates presenting 35 papers representing 58 authors from 33 organisations in 21 countries. Our furthest delegates travelled from Australia, Thailand and China, we also attracted many delegates from Europe, but also delegates from Russia, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Morocco and Albania.

One of the key features of this year’s Symposium was stressed in our opening Keynote Address by Professor Cathy Parker, IPM Director, and Professor of Retail and Marketing Enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. This was that the nature of academic enquiry into place management and place marketing issues is inherently interdisciplinary.Cathy Parker

Mr Alekos Liapis from the office of the Greek Secretariat General for Media and Communication in Athens presented our second Keynote Address. The Secretariat General examined Greece’s image in the international media for the period 2008 to 2016. The study was based on the collection and processing of 400,000 media reports with direct references to Greece, in 1000 international media of 28 countries during the period 2008 – 2016. The results of this research and the main lines of the Strategic Plan of the National Communication Policy were presented in the keynote speech on “Re-branding Greece”.Alekos Liapis

Our final Keynote Address was delivered by Professor Ares Kalandides, recently appointed Professor of Place Management at Manchester Metropolitan University, Director of the IPM, and Managing Director of Inpolis Urbanism, an international consultancy on place development. Based in Berlin, Professor Kalandides spoke to delegates about “Conceptualizing placemaking – and why it matters for practice”.Ares Kalandides

The theme of the 2017 symposium Place Making from Various Gazes’, was also informed by the passing, on 18th March 2016, of Professor John Urry, whose research on a range of subjects relevant to place making, including urban and regional research, and research particularly into the economic, social, environmental and cultural implications of developments in tourism, revolutionised academic research and practitioner insight into The Tourist Gaze.

Delegates at the 4th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places presented papers from the gazes of their various disciplines, including advertising, agricultural development, architecture, botanic gardens, data science, farming, food and drink, geography, hedonism and luxury, higher education, law, literature, music, place branding, place management, place marketing, sustainability, and tourism. As the Symposium continues to grow and to become increasingly interdisciplinary, it is likely that papers and discussions will include a broader range of issues presented from a wider range of disciplines.

Once again the Symposium was opened by the Mayor of the Corfu Municipality, Mr Konstantinos Nikolouzos, who is very keen to find ways of engaging delegates to the Symposium in helping address some of the challenges facing the island.  

This year we also held an open event where local businesses and tourist related organisations could hear short presentations from selected delegates whose research could have a real impact for Corfu even though its initial focus may have been on other places, or be of a conceptual nature.

We aim to build on this even more in future years, encouraging engagement with the business community in advance of the 2018 Symposium, and engaging delegates during that event to consider how their work could have more of an impact in practice.

We also aim to continue to strengthen the Symposium’s links with the local business community in Corfu, and wider through the IPM’s networks of place practitioners. Each year we have taken delegates to visit various destinations around the island, including the opportunity to visit local producers of crafts and food and drink products. This year, along with a pre-Symposium Island Tour that offered delegates the opportunity to visit Kassiopi, Paleokastritsa, and the Achilleion Palace, we made a stop at the Vassilakis Distillery to taste some of the island’s traditional kumquat products, and also visited Ambelonas Vineyard for an evening tasting local speciality Corfiot food and drink.

Our final evening was spent at Archontiko Restaurant in the South of the island, where our Gala Dinner was accompanied by traditional music, and the end of evening dancing was led by Alex Christou and Christina Panagiotidou of our official partners, Green Corfu, a local travel agency specialising in alternative holidays on the island.

In summary, the key themes that arose during the Symposium surrounded issues of:

  • Authenticity and place, and this is likely to be an issue that recurs in future events as it has done in the past;
  • Co-creation and Collaboration, between those responsible for managing and marketing places and a place’s stakeholders, and also between different places, also arose in many discussions as it became evident that many places continue to try to implement individual responses to various challenges, whereas it may be more appropriate for them to consider how they could implement similar responses and initiatives recognising that they may be more similar to clusters of other places globally than their practices currently reflect;
  • Money, Power and Politics featured heavily in many of the papers presented at this Symposium, and engaged delegates in interesting and lively discussion not only about how these issues impact upon people and places, but also generated some interesting potential solutions for place management and marketing practice.

The 5th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places will be held 16th – 19th April 2018. The theme will be “Changing places: Visions of utopia or dystopia?”SMART growth, inclusive growth, degrowth, devolution, revitalisation, placemaking, place branding and destination marketing: A list of common place practices or ambitions. But what future do these bring to the towns, cities, regions or nations in which they are adopted? The theme of the 5th Corfu Symposium is to explore the utopian or dystopian visions associated with the place practices we study, promote or enact. Whilst we do not expect all authors to provide this reflection themselves, time will be devoted, within the symposium, to collectively discuss and debate the potential impact on places tomorrow from the work we do today.


  • Submission of 1000 word abstract 11th December 2017
  • to   
  • Decision on acceptance 19th January 2018
  • Final deadline for Registration 12th March 2018

For further information visit our website

Heather Skinner*Dr Heather Skinner is IPM Director and chair of the Responsible Tourism SIG.