About emmasmith

La práctica social de Emma Smith incluye tanto la investigación como la producción y responde a las características específicas del lugar donde trabaja. Sus proyectos exploran la interrelación entre personas y lugares desde una perspectiva interdisciplinaria, abarcando eventos organizados, participación, performance, sonido y texto. Situado en el día a día, el trabajo de Smith investiga conductas históricas y su relación con el presente y explora las relaciones transitorias que establecemos con los lugares y con uno mismo. Su trabajo se centra en la acción social y colectiva. Para ello, excava saberes sedimentados, investiga la psicología del espacio e incorpora la dinámica relacional. Como parte de su proceso de Smith regularmente colabora y trabaja con equipos multidisciplinarios. El resultado, eventos, sucesos e instigaciones son momentos efímeros y particulares para la gente que los experimenta. Proyectos recientes y en curso son ?E =W (Tate Modern, Londres, Reino Unido); A Call for a Song (Mistaken Presence, Lincoln, Reino Unido); or Confabula (Artsadmin, London, Reino Unido).

School for Tourists: on Settling

“These then are the items the Brecht refers to, in the context of rehearsal process for the theatre, as the ‘least rejected items’. That is to say, these are the kinds of things that through the performance of packing, the listing, sifting, trial runs and rejections, will eventually be chosen as the ones that may best enable the practical performance of being a tourist.:

(Alison Phipps and Gavin Jack, Tourism and Intercultural Exchange: Why Tourism Matters,  pp.59)


School for Tourists: on Arrival

“Tourism has […] been considered in terms of people traveling to places, or perhaps more specifically people traveling to places as cultures in mapped space. There is in this approach a presumption of not only a unity of place and culture, but also of an immobility of both in relation to a fixed, cartographically co-ordinated space, with the tourist as one of the wandering figures whose travels, paradoxically, fix places and cultures in this ordered space. This is an understanding of cultures as situated, through an ordering of space, in places; as sites to be travelled to, around and through; culture as the object of detours; cultures as places to visit and come back from…’

(c. Lury, The Objects of Travel. In C. Rojek and J. Urry (eds.) Touring Cultures: Transformations of Travel and Theory, pp.75)


School for Tourists: Before going

“INLAND- CAMPO ADENTRO is a project that examines the role of territories, geopolitics, culture and identity in the relationship between the city and the countryside in Spain today.”



“… when the last rural threads of […] society are being woven into the national urban fabric, the idea of the city is becoming indistinguishable from the idea of society. If we lack consensus on an organizing conceptual structure of the city, it is mainly because we lack such a structure for society as a whole. The burden, then, rests upon all the arts, the humanities, and the sciences; and the task grows increasingly difficult as the complexity of contemporary society itself increases and as rapidly accumulating knowledge deprives us of what we had thought to be stable pillars of understanding. In previous eras, when the goals, the beliefs, the behaviour, and the roles of city folk were clearly distinguishable from those of their rural bretheren, and when urban settlements were spatially discrete and physically bounded, schoolboy common sense was sufficient to identify the marks of ‘urbanness’. Now […] the physical boundaries of settlements are disappearing; and the networks of interdepenence among various groups are becoming functionally intricate and spatially widespread. With it all, the old symbols of order are giving way to the signs of newly emerging systems of organisation that, in turn, are sapping the usefulness of our established concepts of order.”

(M. Webber writing on the situation in America in the 1960’s in Order in Diversity: Community without Propinquity, pp.23-24)

School for Tourists

The School for Tourists was initiated during a one year residency at Grizedale Arts in the Lake Distict, UK, in 2011. Held at the Coniston Institute, a historic building created by John Ruskin in the 19th Century, for education, the arts and social cohesion, the School for Tourists examined existing tourism, as well as the historical and sociological impact of the tourist. Through a week long course that brought together local residents, workers, council members, conservationists, service industry professionals and tourists the project aimed to consider and propose new models of relationship that might offer more to host and guest, to pilot and test new forms of tourism that are reciprocal and contributive.

The School for Tourists II in Casares, Spain, follows on as a development of this project. Having traced the history of tourism from the Grand Tour, to the package holiday, the modernist quest for authenticity to the post-modern quest for the in-authentic the School for Tourists II asks how we might shape a tourist model that begins in the muddy broken middle ground of relationship. What are the tactics for exchange and human relation that can result in benefit beyond the financial myth of tourist development?

In documenting the research process for this residency I will share through this blog some quotes and images from the theory and on site interviews and research that are informing the development of the work.