Student Guides as Mediators of Institutional Heritage and Personal Experience

Student Guides as Mediators of Institutional Heritage and Personal Experience

Simon C. Woodward (School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Leeds Beckett University, UK) and Elizabeth Carnegie (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, UK)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3725-1.ch004
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This chapter examines the role of student guides as mediators between the institutional mission and heritage of their university and visitors to the historic campus. Drawing on a longitudinal study undertaken at two historic universities in the west, the authors establish that a small cadre of elite, competitively-chosen guides at these institutions perform a role of openness and democracy on behalf of the increasingly complex and hybrid modern university. The chapter considers how student guides are able to navigate their own pride at such privileged engagement and how this privilege impacts on tours offered to visitors, where campus tours become a negotiation based on internal and external influences and are constructed and reconstructed according to the imagined or actual demands of different tour groups. By managing risk at the point of employment, and by encouraging free reign in tours, there is limited risk involved to host universities as student guides offer an informed, personalised heritage experience to both domestic and international tourists.
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As indicated above, the role of campus tourism in the contemporary tourism experience has received comparatively limited attention in the literature. Connell (1996, 2000) and Woodward (2013) explore in outline the varying functions that universities can play within a destination’s product, with Ming (2007) exploring the Chinese experience in particular. More specifically, the role of the university and college campus as public space, and thus part of the wider destination product, has been reviewed by, inter alia, Gumprecht (2003, 2007) and Bromley (2006) whilst the contribution of students (and their presence in a destination) to placemaking in their host communities has been explored by Shaw & Fincher (2010) and Pereira Brando Albino (2015).

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