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Creative Tourisms: Aestheticizing Poverty and Violence in Trench Town, Jamaica

Osbourne, Alana (2016) Creative Tourisms: Aestheticizing Poverty and Violence in Trench Town, Jamaica. In: First Postgraduate Conference on Caribbean In/securities and Creativity, 23 May 2016, University of Birmingham, UK. (Unpublished)

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Tourism entails producing spaces as sites for consumption and crafting narratives that entice people into visiting a given area. As such, references to Kingston’s downtown violent ‘ghetto life’ have infused Jamaican visual and musical culture, in part drawing curious tourists to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae. Within this neighbourhood, the core of informal and sporadic tourism activities can be found in Bob Marley’s former home, renewed as the ‘Culture Yard’ and run by a grassroots community organization. However, numerous other projects are envisaged to tap into the area’s rich cultural heritage, involving stakeholders from both within and outside the community. Restoring musical landmarks, highlighting famous reggae artist’s homes, creating a music village and a wax museum are but a few examples of fantasized tourism enterprises. Some of these projects have been talked about for over a decade, however none have yet been implemented, maintaining the impression that Trench Town is perpetually on the cusp of developing a full blown tourism industry. Drawing on fieldwork carried out in Kingston I discuss how community organisations continue to design possible Trench Town based tourism activities, whilst outsiders continue to dream up ‘ghetto’ narratives. I analyse how the different aspirations to create a tourism economy in Trench Town are tied to - and interact with – tourist reveries of ghetto poverty and violence, thereby creating an entanglement of imaginations around (in)security.

Type of Work:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
Department:Department of Geography
Date:23 May 2016
See the location now via Google Maps (17.982,-76.8054)
Keywords:Tourism, Kingston, Jamaica, Jamaican culture, Trench Town, reggae, Culture Yard, musical landmarks, music village, wax museum, tourism industry, qualitative research, Carribean(in)security.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
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Funders:Leverhulme Trust
Copyright Holders:Alana Osbourne
ID Code:2182

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