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Title: Branding barbarians : a study into the use of renewable heritage tourism destinations as platforms for decolonial options
Author: Montgomery, Paul Edward
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2019
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Branding Barbarians is a research project that uses decolonial theory and indigenous method to examine Archaeological Open-Air Museums (AOAMs). This thesis uses three cases in the United Kingdom and one in Sweden, each depicting either Vikings or Saxons, to test the potentials of AOAMs as renewable, resilient heritage sites which can foster decolonial options to European pasts and presents among visitors. Using visitor interviews and sentiment analysis, and autoethnographic work, I examine how the cases re-present the past and can change visitor perceptions of Vikings or Saxons. I also analyse economic factors surrounding these sites, and their capacity as resilient, renewable heritage resources. I apply a mixed-methods approach to economic analysis of the value of AOAMs by examining public records and data collected during visitor interviews. This research does not determine 'best practices', as I argue that these are antithetical to fostering decolonial options. However, it has found several challenges and opportunities. Capacity to meet pressures to be self-sustaining is an issue that affects AOAMs, as in much of the museum sector, which may be exacerbated by organizational structure and affiliations. Networks, diverse sources of revenue/funding, and risk-preparedness (e.g. maintaining insurance policies) were positive for site resilience. Visitors came to the Viking attractions with strongly formed notions of what a 'Viking' was, but sites were still able to influence changes in their perceptions. Visitors to Saxon sites held comparatively nebulous understandings of what a 'Saxon' was, descriptions of them often including keywords like History and Englishness rather than other attributes. Post-visit perceptions still involved this, but also resulted in additional positive traits such as Intelligent. Sites that thoughtfully used narrative to create learning proved the most successful in altering visitor perceptions, with the role of costumed interpreters being central to the navigation of more difficult heritages.
Supervisor: Ashby, Steve ; Perry, Sara Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available