On 14 and 15 July, the University of Westminster hosted an interdisciplinary symposium focused on the relationship between ‘Tourism and the Night’. 

The event was organised by Adam Eldridge, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, in conjunction with members of the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment’s Tourism and Events Research Group. The symposium attracted delegates from all over the world, including guests from Sydney and Toronto. Over 20 papers were presented, including keynotes by Professor Graeme Evans of Middlesex University and Professor Marion Roberts from the University of Westminster.

A diverse range of topics was discussed and there were three recurring themes. Several speakers discussed conflicts in nightlife districts between residents and revellers - and the role of the night-time economy in gentrification. A number of delegates also discussed the ways cultural activity in cities is being extended into the night through night tours, light festivals, and other night events. A final theme covered the experiences of night-time workers, with one delegate from the Central European University memorably describing his experiences during a year-long ethnographic study of night work in London’s markets.

The speakers covered a fascinating range of case studies focusing mainly on European cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Budapest, Belgrade, Lisbon, Berlin, Frankfurt and, of course, London) but also on cities more geographically and culturally distant (e.g. Masshad in Iran). The event was the first of its kind and it builds on emerging interest from academics and policy makers in the urban night.

For more information on this and future events, please contact Dr Adam Eldridge (Department of History, Sociology and Criminology) or Dr Andrew Smith (Tourism and Events Research Group).

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