Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao (IFT) successfully hosted international conferences on “Vernacular Religion, Folk Belief, and Traditions of the Supernatural 2015”, and “The Supernatural in Literature and Film” with Island Dynamics, Denmark on 23 to 28 March. The conferences explored past and present supernatural traditions worldwide, and addressed a wide range of topics of interest to scholars and students of heritage and cultural studies.
During the conferences, delegates spoke with local tradition bearers in Macao and visited sites of legendary and religious significance in the city. The world heritage sites in the historic Centre of Macao – a living mix of Chinese and Portuguese colonial cultural influences – is home to numerous Catholic, Taoist, and Buddhist shrines, churches, and temples. Yet, move away from central Macao’s busy markets and winding alleys, and people would come to temples of capital and consumerism: for Macao – called the ‘Las Vegas of the East’ – is also the site of some of the world’s largest and most glamorous casinos, where tourists engage in different traditions of the supernatural.
The conferences gathered scholars and researchers around the world in addition to IFT professors to discuss the topics including Vernacular Genres of the Supernatural Contested Beliefs, Between Cinema and Tradition, Grieving Sprits in Film and Tradition, Cultures of the Supernatural, Supernatural Tourism, Supernatural in Children’s Literature, Supernatural Experience, and Gothic and the Past in Supernatural Literature.
The 2014 conferences in this series took place in the islands of Shetland, Scotland. The 2015 conference moved across the globe to Macao and IFT was proudly co-hosted the event with Island Dynamics. Found in Shetland, Scotland in 2009, Island Dynamics is a conference organiser for island studies which aims to strengthen small island communities through knowledge exchange and cross-sectoral collaboration.
IFT has a long and distinguished history of providing education and research on tourism. Besides, it is the only public higher institute in Macao providing Heritage Management degree programme and Cultural Heritage Specialist Guide Training and Certification Programme for UNESCO world heritage sites that is recognised and supported by UNESCO. Through organising and participating in international conferences, IFT strives to foster academic exchange and reinvigorate the scholarly dialogue locally and internationally, and provide a platform for researchers and scholars to connect and exchange their researches and ideas on tourism and hospitality related issues.