Reflections on the 5th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places

By Heather Skinner,

The Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places is an annual event organised by the IPM and is dedicated to the theory and practice of place management and marketing. Unique among academic conferences, the Symposium offers scholars the opportunity to engage directly with place making, management and marketing issues as each year the event attracts place practitioners among our delegates and includes opportunities for all delegates to engage with local businesses, policy makers and other stakeholders.

The 5th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places held 16th-19th April 2018 explored the utopian or dystopian visions associated with the place practices we study, promote or enact.

Not surprisingly, for a place management event, the issue of power, politics and stakeholder engagement was also explored by many delegates. A number of our delegates raised the issue of conflict between place stakeholders as potentially offering a positive rather than negative opportunity for making places better.  Many delegates also explored issues relating to tourist utopias and dystopias. That Utopia is a non-existant condition was a strong theme that emerged overall from the Symposium. As Utopia is often considered to be a perfect vision of a future world, it does not exist in the present. Thus Utopia may be seen either as something for which to strive for, or as a condition that always implies change or improvement to places, and the temporal aspects of utopias and dystopias were also present in a number of papers.

Each day of the Symposium included a keynote address by internationally renowned speakers who were challenged to explore the utopian or dystopian visions associated with the place practices we study, promote or enact in the addresses they made to our delegates. You can read more about our speakers’ visions of utopia and dystopia in place management practices & research here.

The 2018 Symposium attracted over 60 participants and presented the research of 52 authors from 34 institutions across 16 countries: Australia; China; Croatia; Egypt; Finland; Germany; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Netherlands; Norway; Russia; Slovenia; Thailand; Turkey; and the UK.

A detailed summary of IPM Senior Fellows, Fellows and IPM Members’ involvement in the 5th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places can be found on the IPM website’s newspages.

This year we were also joined by 4 delegates from the Buggiano-Pistoia area in Tuscany: Daniele Natali and Francesca Galeazzi from the SELVA Social Cooperative, and Elena Pellicci and Sabrina Antognoli from the Buggiano Municipality. They were keen to participate in the Symposium to help find answer to the question How do towns learn from each other to help make places better?

Student engagement at the 5th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places also took a novel turn this year. Professor Desmond Wee of Karlshochschule International University in Germany attended the Symposium with his undergraduate students as part of their Critical Tourism module. Although since its inception the Symposium has received delegates studying at Masters and Doctoral level, this is the first time the Symposium has hosted undergraduate students.

Each year we have taken delegates around the island to connect with the place that hosts our event. However, in another first for this year’s Symposium we undertook some sessions ‘on the move’, not only visiting sites of interest around Corfu, but actually presenting a number of papers outside of our usual conference room. In this way we hoped to offer our delegates a real taste of Corfu. You can find out more here about our trips around the island, and some of the amazing food and drink we experienced in some of the fabulous venues we visited.

The Proceedings of the 5th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places has now been published ISBN: 978-1-9998459-1-9. You can download the full proceedings here.

The 6th Corfu Symposium on Managing & Marketing Places will be held 6-9 May 2019 with the theme of Connecting Places. Places are formed and managed through both real and virtual partnerships and networks. Places are connected to each other, either geographically, technologically, socially or politically. Places also connect people to each other and to other places. Please join us in 2019 to explore the connections between places and the people who use and inhabit them.

The call for papers is now open and we welcome submissions of 1000 word abstracts from our academic and practitioner members.

Please see the full call for papers here or contact for more information.