Duncan Light

Dr Duncan Light

  • Principal Academic In Tourism
  • Dorset House D239, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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I joined Bournemouth University in September 2014. I am a human geographer by background and all my teaching and research highlights the relationships between tourism, places and spaces. Much of my research focuses on Romania, a country I have visited regularly since 1995.


There are 4 strands to my current research:

First, I am interested in the cultural politics of tourism. My recent research has focused on 'Dracula tourism' in Romania. Dracula presents Romania with a unique dilemma: on one hand it can generate much needed foreign currency through tourism, but on the other hand it fundamentally collides with Romania's sense of its own political and cultural identity. My book 'The Dracula Dilemma: Tourism, Identity and the State in Romania' (Routledge, 2016) explores how Romania has negotiated this dilemma over the past 40 years (in both communist and post-communist contexts.

Second I am researching the role of tourism in the remembrance of communism in Romania. Working with colleagues from Universitatea de Vest din Timisoara, I am exploring 'memory tourism' in museums dedicated to communist repression, and the ways in which visitors interact with, and negotiate, the messages they encounter.

Third, I am interested in cemeteries as places to visit. In particular, I am working with Prof Remus Cretan from Universitatea de Vest din Timisoara to examine visiting visits to rural cemeteries in the Banat region of Western Romania. We are examining the intersections of travel, memory and identity among German Romanians who have emigrated to Germany but who annually take holidays in Romania specifically to visit the cemeteries where their relatives are buried.

Fourth, I have broader interests in the relationships between public memory, urban landscapes and national identity...



Journal Articles


  • Light, D., 2012. The Dracula Dilemma: Tourism, Identity and the State in Romania. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.


  • Light, D., 2022. Communism (Tourism in Communist States). Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing (ed. D. Buhalis). Edward Elgar.
  • Speed, E. and Light, D., 2019. (Dis)ordering the city: buildings, bodies and urban space. In: Speight, E., ed. Practising Place: Creative and Critical Reflections on Place. Sunderland: Art Editions North, 118-131.
  • Light, D., 2017. Travel and tourism in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Dracula: An International Perspective. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 139-156.
  • Young, C. and Light, D., 2017. The corpse, heritage, and tourism: The multiple ontologies of the body of king richard III of England. Heritage of Death: Landscapes of Emotion, Memory and Practice. 92-104.
  • Ciobanu, C. and Light, D., 2017. A new geography of protest in Bucharest. In: Adi, A. and Lilleker, D., eds. #Rezist: Romania’s 2017 anti-corruption protests: Causes, Development and Implications. Berlin: Quadriga University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, 63-67.
  • Light, D. and Young, C., 2017. The politics of toponymic continuity: The limits of change and the ongoing lives of street names. The Political Life of Urban Streetscapes: Naming, Politics, and Place. 185-201.
  • Light, D. and Young, C., 2017. Memory, commemorative landscapes and transitional justice. In: Stan, L. and Turcescu, L., eds. Justice, Memory and Redress in Romania New Insights. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 145-165.
  • Chapman, A. and Light, D., 2017. Last Night of the Fair: Heritage, Resort Identity and the Closure of Southport’s Pleasureland. In: Wood, J., ed. The Amusement Park History Culture and the Heritage of Pleasure. Abingdon: Routledge, 179-202.
  • Light, D. and Watson, S., 2017. The Castle Imagined: Emotion and Affect in the Experience of Ruins. In: Tolia-Kelly, D. and Waterton, E., eds. Heritage, Affect and Emotion. Routledge, 154-178.
  • Light, D., 2017. The undead and dark tourism: Dracula tourism in Romania. In: Hooper, G. and Lennon, J., eds. Dark Tourism: Practice and Interpretation. Abingdon: Routledge, 121-133.
  • Light, D. and Young, C., 2017. Spatiul public si mosteniril materiale ale comunismului in Bucuresti. In: Stan, L. and Vancea, D., eds. Romania postcomunista: Trecut, prezent si viitor. Iasi: Polirom, 63-81.
  • Young, C., Light, D. and Dumbrăveanu, D., 2017. Public space, memory and protest during post-socialist transformation: The emergence of Piaţa Universităţii (University Square), Bucharest, as a space of protest. Public Space: Between Reimagination and Occupation. 75-88.
  • Light, D., 2017. Characteristics of the audience for 'events' at a heritage site. The Heritage Tourist Experience: Critical Essays, Volume Two. 211-218.
  • Young, C. and Light, D., 2016. Multiple and contested geographies of memory: Remembering the 1989 Romanian ‘revolution’. Memory, Place and Identity: Commemoration and remembrance of war and conflict. 56-73.
  • Chapman, A. and Light, D., 2016. Last Night of the Fair: Heritage, Resort Identity and the Closure of Southport’s Pleasureland. The Amusement Park: History, Culture and the Heritage of Pleasure. Routledge (forthcoming).
  • Light, D. and Young, C., 2015. Public memory, commemoration and transitional justice: Reconfiguring the past in public space. In: Stan, L. and Nedelsky, N., eds. Post-Communist Transitional Justice: Lessons from Twenty-Five Years of Experience. New York: Cambridge University Press, 233-251.
  • Light, D., 2015. Heritage and Tourism. In: Waterton, E. and Watson, S., eds. The Palgrave Companion to Contemporary Heritage Research. Palgrave, 144-158.
  • Light, D. and Young, C., 2015. Local and Counter-Memories of Socialism in Post-Socialist Romania. In: Beyen, M. and Deseure, B., eds. Local Memories in a Nationalizing and Globalizing World. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 221-243.
  • Light, D. and Young, C., 2015. Public space and the material legacies of communism in Bucharest. In: Stan, L., ed. Post-Communist Romania at 25: Linking Past, Present and Future. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 41-62.
  • Light, D., 2012. Taking Dracula on Holiday: The presence of home in the tourism encounter. In: Smith, L., Waterton, E. and Watson, S., eds. The Cultural Moment in Tourism. Routledge, 59-78.
  • Light, D., Young, C. and Czepczyński, M., 2009. Heritage Tourism in Central and Eastern Europe. In: Timothy, D. and Nyaupane, G.P., eds. Cultural Heritage and Tourism in the Developing World. London: Routledge, 224-245.
  • Light, D., 2009. Halloween in Transylvania. In: Foley, M. and O'Donnell, H., eds. Trick or Treat? Halloween in a Globalising World. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 186-200.
  • Light, D., 2006. Romania: national identity, tourism promotion and European integration. In: Hall, D., Smith, M. and Marciszweska, B., eds. Tourism in the New Europe: The Challenges and Opportunities of EU Enlargement. Wallingford: CABI, 256-269.


  • Light, D., 2023. Stereotypes of Eastern Europe in Have His Carcase. In: 46th Annual Convention of the Dorothy L Sayers Society 5-8 August 2022 Bristol.
  • Light, D., 2021. Domestic tourism and transitional justice: Exploring the relationship in Romania’. In: Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Transitional Justice 6-7 July 2021 Loughborough.
  • Light, D., 2019. Why is the heritage of the seaside so unappreciated? In: Sea Change: Coastal Heritage and Climate Change 4-6 September 2019 Blackpool.
  • Beer, S. and Light, D., 2019. Don’t be afraid of the dark: dark night skies and being. In: Ellis-Hill, C., ed. Humanising Care, Health and Well-being Conference 13-14 June 2019 Bournemouth. Humanising Care, Health and Well-being Conference: Abstract book Bournemouth University: Centre for Qualitative Research Bournemouth University.
  • Light, D., 2019. ‘Muzee si justitia transitionala: intalnirile tinerilor cu trecutul communist la Muzeul Memorial Sighet’ (Museums and transitional justice: Young peoples’ encounters with the communist past at Sighet Memorial Museum). In: Research Seminar Series, Centre for Regional Development, Cross-frontier Studies and Territorial Planning, Universitate de Vest din Timisoara, Romania 29 May 2019 Timisoara, Romania.
  • Axon, S., Light, D. and Chapman, A., 2019. Energy at the Edge: Conflicting narratives of renewable energy developments in coastal communities. In: The 15th annual International Association for the Study of Environment Space and Place conference 24-26 April 2019 Liverpool, UK.
  • Beer, S. and Light, D., 2019. Dark tourism without death: the joy of dark night skies. In: Travel and Tourism Research Association 2019 annual research conference. Tourism in the era of connectivity 8-10 April 2019 Bournemouth.
  • Light, D. and Chapman, A., 2019. The strangely neglected heritage of the British seaside. In: Travel and Tourism Research Association (Europe Chapter) Annual Conference 8-10 April 2019 Bournemouth, UK.
  • Chapman, A., Light, D. and Axon, S., 2017. Reconciling tourism and blue energy at the coast. In: The Visitor Economy: Strategies and Innovations 4-6 September 2017 Bournemouth.
  • Light, D., Chapman, A. and Axon, S., 2017. Blue energy: Marginality, identity and engagement at the coast. In: Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference 29 August-1 September 2017 London.
  • Light, D., 2017. Global changes in the nature of tourism: Implications for the cities of Central and Eastern Europe. In: Building Urban Tourism through Place Making and Urban Regeneration in Central and Eastern Europe countries 19-20 May 2017 Timisoara, Romania.
  • Axon, S., Chapman, A. and Light, D., 2017. Coastal sustainability transitions: Marginality, engagement and communities. In: Sustainability Transitions in the Coastal Zone 30 March-2 April 2017 Southern Connecticut State University.
  • Chapman, A. and Light, D., 2017. Last night of the fair: Heritage, resort identity and the closure of southport’s pleasureland. , 179-202.
  • Gale, T., Light, D. and Long, P., 2016. Student assessment as a means of programme evaluation. In: Association for Teaching in Higher Education Annual Conference 9 December 2016 Cardiff Metropolitan University.
  • Light, D., 2016. Travel and Tourism in Bram Stoker's Dracula. In: 4th World Dracula Congress 20-22 October 2016 Trinity College, Dublin.
  • Chapman, A. and Light, D., 2016. Pier-ing into the future: Seaside pier sustainability in the 21st century. In: 2016 ATLAS Annual Conference: Tourism, Lifestyles and Locations 14-16 September 2016 Canterbury, UK.
  • Light, D., 2016. Space, place and tourism: New conceptualisations. In: Spatii altfel (Alternative Spaces) 10-11 December 2015 Bucharest, Romania. International Review of Social Research.
  • Light, D., 2015. Myth, Media and Place: Dracula and Transylvania in the British popular imagination. In: Beliefs and Cultures in Education and Culture 25-27 June 2015 Timisoara, Romania.
  • Chapman, A. and Light, D., 2014. Working with the carnivalesque in seaside resorts: An employee perspective. In: Seascapes: The Cultural Life of Seaside Towns’. COaST 2014 Conference 28 May 2014 Margate, UK.
  • Light, D. and Watson, S., 2013. The castle imagined: Emotion and affect in the experience of heritage. In: Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers annual conference 28-30 August 2013 London.
  • Chapman, A., Light, D. and Young, C., 2013. Employment, professionalism and opportunity: women's experience of tourism employment in Communist Romania. In: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 28-30 August 2013 London.
  • Young, C. and Light, D., 2012. Place (re)naming, power, resistance and indifference in post-socialist Bucharest. In: Trends in Toponymy 5 8-11 July 2012 Bern.
  • Light, D. and Young, C., 2011. The persistence of socialist-era street names in everyday life and practice in the post-socialist city. In: Cities after Transition, 4th Workshop: Space, Culture and Transition 13-17 September 2011 Bucharest.



  • Chapman, A. and Light, D., 2022. Why we do like to be beside the seaside – now more than ever. Archant. Published.
  • Light, D., 2021. Book review. Under the sign of the cross: the People's Salvation Cathedral and the church-building industry in postsocialist Romania. by Giuseppe Tateo (Berghahn Books, 2020).. Taylor & Francis. In preparation.
  • Light, D., 2021. Book review: 'Museums of Communism', edited by Stephen M. Norris (Indiana University Press, 2020).. Taylor & Francis. Published online.
  • Light, D., 2021. Review of Socialist heritage: the politics of past and place in Romania by Emmanuela Grama (Indiana University Press, 2019).. Taylor and Francis. Published online.
  • Light, D., 2017. Romania's problem with Dracula. History Today. Published.
  • Light, D., 2017. Book Review: Wall Heritage and Tourism: The Heritage Industry of Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie by S.Frank (Routledge 2016). Routledge. Published.
  • Light, D., 2016. Review of 'Tourism, Performance and Place: A Geographic Perspective' by J.M. Rickley-Boyd, D.C. Kundsen, L.C. Braverman and M.M. Metro-Roland (Ashgate, 2014). Social and Cultural Geography, 17(3), 464-465. Routledge. Published.
  • Light, D., 2016. Review of 'Thanatourism: Case Studies in Travel to the Dark Side', edited by T. Johnston and P.Mandelartz (Goodfellow, 2016). Tourism Management, 55, 287-288. Elsevier. Published.
  • Light, D., 2016. Review of 'Cultural heritage of the Great War in Britain' by Ross Wilson (Ashgate 2013). International Journal of Heritage Studies, 22(6), 495-496. Routledge. Published.
  • Light, D., 2015. Review of 'Heritage that Hurts' by J.Sather-Wagstaff (Left Coast Press,2011). International Journal of Heritage Studies 21(3), 2015, 303-305. Routledge. Published.
  • Light, D., 2015. Review of 'Re-Imagining Heritage Interpretation: Enchanting the Past-Future' by R. Staiff (Ashgate, 2014). International Journal of Heritage Studies 21(2), 2015, pp 191-193. Routledge. Published.
  • Light, D., 2014. Review of 'The Tourist Potential of Coasts and Deltas: A Look at the Romanian Coastal Areas' by Gheorghe Romanescu (Parthenon Verlag, Kaisterslautern und Mehlingen, 2012),. Routledge. Published.
  • Light, D., 2014. Review of 'Heritage and Tourism: Place, Encounter, Engagement' edited by R.Staiff, R.Bushell and S.Watson (Routledge, 2013). Routledge. Published.
  • Light, D., 2014. Review of 'Heritage Tourism' by H.y. Park (Routledge, 2014). Routledge. Published.

Profile of Teaching PG

  • I teach on 'Managing Visitor Attractions' and 'Tourism Development and Planning' (MSc Tourism Management). I also contribute sessions to various other Masters units and supervise Masters dissertations in Tourism Management

Profile of Teaching UG

  • I teach on Understanding the Tourist (Level 4), Tourist Behaviour and Experience (Level 5) Tourist Issues and Futures (Level 6) and Visitor Attraction Management (Level 6). I also supervise undergraduate dissertations in Tourism Management

External Responsibilities

  • University of Bedfordshire, External Examiner (2016-)
  • London School of Commerce, External Examiner (2014-2016)
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University, External Examiner (2011-2016)

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • Public lecture: "Beside the Seaside: The Past, Present and Future of the Great British Seaside"(Bournemouth University online public lecture series, 24 March 2022)
  • Duncan Light, “Setting the scene: Cemeteries as Contemporary Visitor Attractions”, presented at Belief, burial, tombs and tourists: the past and future of Greyfriars Kirkyard (public event organised by Edinburgh World Heritage, 26 June 2021)
  • 'Dracula tourism in Communist Romania', invited guest lecture to The Dracula Society, London, 14 October 2017
  • Participation in the ‘In Certain Places’ project (coordinated by the University of Central Lancashire and part-funded by the Arts Council). This aimed to pair artists with academics to encourage discussion and exchange of ideas and perspectives. I worked with Emily Speed, a Liverpool-based artist and our collaboration focused on the theme of public space in the city. The collaboration culminated in a public event – entitled “(Dis)ordering the City” at Liverpool’s Bluecoat Arts Centre on 5th October 2016. The final stage of the collaboration was a joint publication, published in 2019.
  • "Introducing heritage interpretation". Introductory presentation at "Who's telling the stories" (workshop on the interpretation of cemeteries for cemetery managers and Friends' groups) (15 May 2015)
  • "Is there such a thing as dark tourism?". Guest lecture to staff and students at Universitatea de Vest din Timisoara, Romania (18 April 2016)
  • "Romania's dilemma with Dracula". Guest lecture to staff and students at Universitatea de Vest din Timisoara, Romania (14 April 2016)
  • Introductory presentation (with Craig Young) at 'Encountering Corpses' (public event at Manchester Museum of Natural History, 26 March 2014)
  • "Dracula, Transylvania and Vampires: Myths and Realities", interactive lecture presented at Bournemouth University Festival of Learning, July 2015
  • "Romania's dilemma with Dracula". Presentation within the "Europe's Backyard" session (which I also chaired) at the Ankur Arts Festival (Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, December 2013).


  • PhD in Heritage Interpretation (Swansea University, 1991)
  • BSc (Hons) in Geographical Sciences (Plymouth Polytechnic (CNAA), 1986)


  • Higher Education Academy, Senior Fellow (2020-),
  • Higher Education Academy, Fellow (2015-),
  • Association for Heritage Interpretation, Member (1986-),
  • Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), Fellow (1986-),