Lusine Margaryan, postdoctoral researcher Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Natural Re-source Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), will present: "Understanding the role of nature in outdoor event experiences: Perspectives from BIOTOUR project in Norway."
Special events are growing in popularity and have a potential to become powerful magnets, attracting visitors from near and afar. Among various types of special events, outdoor events (and more specifically, nature-based events) have a unique appeal and their growing popularity has been noticed already a decade ago. However, a lack of research closely interrogating these phenomena persists. This especially refers to understanding the role of nature and various natural features in the design of outdoor event experiences. In fact, a systematic review of 30 major books within event studies literature, demonstrates that the role of nature in special events is either absent completely or is discussed within two main contexts. Those are: (a) nature as force majeure, and (b) environmental impacts of events.
Outdoor events are often imagined taking place within 'empty space' that needs to be filled with some content, and a deeper discussion on the role of nature in outdoor event experiences has been lacking. Here theoretical perspectives from a more mature field of nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation can provide valuable insights on nature experience and its design in a commercial context. Analysis of the use of nature in the outdoor event sector is important not only for the advancement of interrelated scholarship on events and tourism, but also for the broader understanding of the ever-evolving dynamics of human-nature relationships.
Grounded in the theoretical intersection of visitor experience design, event studies and nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation, the aim is to contribute with new knowledge on the role of nature in outdoor event experience design. Specifically, the ways cultural narratives of nature are woven into the context of natural areas with the purpose of designing an outdoor event experience. Outdoor events are treated as nature-based phenomena, which allows benefitting from the experience and insights stemming from nature-based tourism literature. We look at the case of Norway, which experiences rapid growth in tourism flows as well as proliferation of a wide variety of outdoor events in its scenic natural landscapes.
Lusine Margaryan has completed her PhD in Tourism Studies from Mid Sweden University, where she also worked as a Senior Lecturer afterwards. Currently Lusine is a Post-doctoral researcher at Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Department of Natural Resource Management, working in a project BIOTOUR - From place based natural resources to value-added experiences.
Aspiring to spread scientific knowledge out of the academic walls, Lusine also serves as one of the authors in the upcoming global IPBES assessment on Sustainable Use of Wild Species. Lusine's research interests pursue bringing together environmental and social sciences perspectives with a focus on nature-based tourism and outdoor recreation. View more profile details here.