Successful Completion of online webinars on Dark Tourism & Contested Histories

Published by Jessie McDonald
Date 17/05/2021

FEG, the Federation of European Tourist Guide Associations, is delighted to announce the successful completion of their online webinars, on Dark Tourism and Contested Histories in 8 European countries, as part of the EU Horizon 2020 RePastProject, facilitated by Clio Muse. The final report is now complete and will shortly be sent to the FEG member-associations participating.

As if the resounding 94% overall success rate of the online webinars was not enough, recent events, from elections to apologies, and even the renewal of hostilities, further highlight the relevance of such webinars to professional Tourist Guides, in a 21st century world. Indeed, all of us, as guides in Europe, must deal with contested histories, the resurgence of old grievances and/or the rise of Nationalism, and we are surrounded 24/7 by conspiracy theories.

A surprising comment, often stated by the 419 participants, all qualified tourist guides, in 8 different European countries, was that they had no idea that they were already doing “Dark Tourism” tours but didn’t realise it! In fact, many guides, on learning what the webinar actually covered, were sorry that they had not signed up to it, as they had misunderstood the contents being covered, and its relevance to them.

Increasingly, due to social media and more awareness in general, clients want to know about “the elephant in the room”, they want to ask the difficult questions, and they want an honest reply. Just how to wash our dirty linen in public or talk about dark periods in our history was the challenge set by the 8 accredited FEG Trainers, all of whom had been collaborating under the expert eyes of Efi Kalampoukidou, FEG President, and Iris Barry, Training Consultative Group (TCG) Convenor, for months

Participants were “entertained and informed” on practical topics such as how to deal with difficult questions; which words to use, how to get clients to behave respectfully at sensitive sites,but also were encouraged to look at sites in their ownarea of guiding and think about how they would approach it and promote them for their guided tours. Through video and audio clips, the use of breakout rooms and the chat pod, graphs, maps and text and images, the participants were steered through 6 hours of online presentations over 2 mornings and some simply could not get enough, as evidenced from their comments:

Having completed the Dark Tourism webinars as part of the RePAST EU-funded project, the Federation of European Tourist Guide Associations (FEG) trainers are now actively preparing classroom workshop versions for when Covid restrictions allow face to face sessions, and also tweaking the webinars to allow for even more interaction, more hands-on participation.

Trainers were all FEG accredited trainers, but for some, it was their very first time giving a FEG webinar, making their achievement even more impressive. Evidently, the standard of the online webinars’preparation given to our trainers by such seasoned colleagues as Radoslaw Szafranowicz-Maloziec from Poland and Iris Barry from Scotland, paid off!

These are the FEG Dark Tourism trainers who delivered the online training for us to our colleagues:

Spain: Iris Barry (English)
Cyprus: Adrien Bordrez (Greek)
Kosovo: Mary Kemp Clarke (English)
Poland: Wika Trel (Polish)

Germany: Viola Lewis (German)
Greece: Efi Kalampoukidou (Greek)
Ireland: Jessie McDonald (English)
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Maria Joao Moreira (English)

The webinars were given in English, Polish, German and Greek. Given their outstanding success, it is hoped to expand the webinars or classroom seminars to other European Countries with difficult or dark legacies and social histories. The webinars are also available in French, Portuguese or Italian. The webinars count as 6 hours of Continuous Professional Development (CPD), and participants who successfully attended both days training (419 of them!) were all issued with FEG certificates of attendance to that effect

Dark Tourism

For more information on FEG Tourist Guide Training, visit our website. The Training Consultative Group will be pleased to answer your inquiries.

Accredited Trainers

Jessie McDonald

FEG Trainer and ATGI Member, based in Ireland

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