Tourism Education for An Uninhabitable Earth

5th-6th December 2019 at Jury’s Inn Sheffield


In The Uninhabitable Earth (2019), David Wallace-Wells describes how global warming is set to change our world catastrophically – in less time than it will take our students to pay off their loans. The Economist said of the book: “Riveting … Some readers will find his outline of possible futures alarmist. He is indeed alarmed. You should be, too”. So, this year our pedagogic and research themes, as well as our Doctoral Colloquium, focus on the critical issue of changes to the eco-system and the role of tourism education.

We all acknowledge the importance of ‘sustainability’ – yet are we, as tourism educators and researchers ignoring the implications of changes to economic, socio-cultural and environmental eco-systems? What should our priorities be as educators of tomorrow’s managers? Does Higher Education curricula reflect these imperatives? How do we encourage a collaborative approach between education and industry to help graduates prepare for, adapt to and manage the impact of climate change in tourism? Or are we educating for disaster? Questions like these frame the aim of our 2019 conference and so we are seeking abstract submissions on any aspects of Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth.

Our first Keynote Speaker is Jeremy Smith (, a writer, speaker and sustainable tourism consultant whose work explores the transformative potential of the travel industry and how it can be repurposed to support environmental and social resilience. He is the author of Transforming Travel – realising the potential of sustainable tourism (2018), and Clean Breaks – 500 New Ways to See the World (2010). He is also the co-founder and editor of Travindy, the first tourism news site focussed on the industry from a social and environmental perspective.Jeremy’s presentation is entitled ‘Rethinking tourism for resilience and regeneration’  How should tourism respond to the climate and biodiversity crises? He will explore how we can repurpose our industry so that it brings us closer to nature and one another, while strengthening destinations’ communities and environmental resilience at the same time. 

Dr Miriam Firth is our second Keynote Speaker.  Miriam is Director of Teaching and Learning Strategy in the School of Environment, Education and Development – Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester and author of The Employability and Skills Handbook for Tourism, Hospitality and Events Students (2019).  Miriam will focus on tourism graduate employability in the light of current issues around climate change and future employability.  On Thursday afternoon, delegates will participate in a series of Round Table Discussions, exploring the issues raised by our Keynote Speakers and developing a ‘manifesto’ for Tourism Education in an Uninhabitable World. 

On Friday, we  have our doctoral colloquium, aimed at encouraging doctoral students to present at an established conference, meet potential employers and get constructive feedback in a friendly, supportive environment, a publication workshop will be delivered by Professor Peter Schofield and Professor Chris Cooper will offer tips on ‘finishing touches’ for REF 2021.  Doctoral Posters will be displayed at the conference for delegates to view and doctoral students will be expected to complete a 5-minute presentation of their poster, with an award sponsored by the Family Holiday Association.  Our Awards for Innovation, will be presented by ABTA and the Tourism Society, whilst our panel discussion will consider whether universities can create tourism radical change makers and if the tourism industry actually wants them.  Panellists include Noel Josephides (ATHE Fellow & Sunvil Holidays), Dr Davina Standford (Leeds Beckett University) and Gillian Scotford & Jane Cooper (Access for All UK).


How should tourism education respond to the real urgency of climate change? How can academic efforts encourage transformation? Is a paradigm shift in our approach required? It is expected that the papers will be delivered in many ways: conceptual, discursive, critical, workshop based, experiential, or information dissemination. We welcome delegates’ perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that teaching Tourism offers in all realms of Higher Education. We encourage 150-word abstracts that cover any aspect of the overall conference theme, for example:

Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth: Curriculum Development
Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth: The Learning Experience
Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth: Assessment Strategies
Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth: Collaboration with Industry, Government Partners and/or Local Communities
Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth: Professional Development
Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth: Research
Tourism Education for an Uninhabitable Earth: Doctoral Colloquium

To download abstract form, click here: 2019 ANNUAL CONFERENCE ABSTRACT FORM


This year’s conference is to take place at Jury’s Inn Sheffield located on Eyre Street and a short walk from Sheffield Train Station.

Traditionally known as “The Steel City”, Sheffield was famed for its heavy industry, but is now a modern cityscape within easy reach of the Peak District National Park.

Our Wednesday evening pre-conference activity will showcase the regeneration and transformation of manufacturing places into consumption places with a tour of Kelham Island Brewery; whilst our conference dinner and Thursday evening activity will be located in Cutler’s Hall, a Grade II listed building in the heart of Sheffield and regarded as one of the finest livery halls in the north of England.

Sheffield has fast rail links from the UK and mainland Europe, including direct from London St Pancras International (just over 2 hours), Manchester, and Birmingham.

With four international airports within less than an hour’s drive (Manchester, Robin Hood Doncaster Sheffield, Leeds-Bradford and Nottingham East Midlands airports), Sheffield is easy to reach from overseas destinations.

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