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Personal profile

Research interests

I am fascinated by the ways in which individuals create and make sense of the world as they engage with the mundane and often taken-for-granted activities of life. Of particular interest is the area of identity; how it is constructed, contested and experienced, performed and displayed through encounters with the buildings, monuments, landscapes, and 'things' frequently recreated as ‘heritage’. Heritage places, objects, practices and landscapes are never silent, they 'speak' of life, death, conflict, kinship and community and the stories they tell are the connective threads linking the past, the present and the future. Such stories are not neutral yet they influence individual and collective understandings of the self, other and the wider world. I am interested in how heritage is classified and 'used', interpreted and experienced, how it is imagined, remembered, memorialised and contested.

My research approach is ethnographic, broadly asking ‘what is going on here?’ in order to reveal wider ‘truths’ about what being human-in-the-world looks as well as feels like. I have researched, written and collaborated on a range of topics focusing on Englishness; identity and colonialism; heritage, materiality, kinship and belonging; the British Royal Family;  'being a chef'; museums, airports, the body (sightseeing and walking); maps and mapping; photography; as well as the relational significance of time, place, history and memory.

Supervisory Interests

As an experienced supervisor and examiner I am keen to encourage PhD applications focusing on projects that align with my areas of interest, broadly focused in relation to:

Anthropology: Heritage, identity and materiality, post-conflict landscapes, memorialisation, embodiment, tourism and the coast/seaside.

Please contact me for an informal chat prior to submitting an application.

Current PhD Supervisions

Helene Abiraad: Locating narratives of memory in social activism in Lebanon

Ian Cantoni:Mémorial du Camp de Rivesaltes: The Topography of French Memory VIVA June 2019

Lisa Hardie: Embodied geographies of cultural memory at Gallipoli

Kristin O’Donnell:  Participatory Practices of Memory: Memorialising the Great War in Britain during the Centenary Moment

Adam Phillips: Performing Authority Through Assembly and Representation

Ëpha Roe (creative practice): A Photographic Study of English Identity, Folklore and the Landscape

Paul Sermon PhD (by publication and creative Practice): Empathy and Presence

PhD Completions

2019 Jennifer Holland: Navigating uncertainty: Tourists’ perceptions of risk in ocean cruising

2018  Kirsti Laerdal: The Co-constructed Performances of Hospitality Culture: Behaviour, encounters and social interaction in English hotels

2017  Uschi Klein: Seeing Self and World: Everyday photography and young male adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

2017 Michael Williams: Music Events as Contemporary Spectacle: U2s ‘360’ Tour - a collective experience of rock, rituals and resistance

2017  (Practice based PhD) John Barlow: Experiences of Travel and northern rural landscapes in contemporary art

2014  Angela Wichmann:  Sports Tourism Participation at the World Gymnaestrada: An expression and experience of community and identity

2011 Geoffrey Bird: Tourism, Remembrance and the Landscape of War

2009  Mary Beth Gouthro: Consuming Heritage, Experiencing Identity: Finding Meaning through Interpretations of Industrial Heritage Tourism

2008  (MPhil)  Saba Al-Mahadin:Power, Polity and Troubled Times: The Development of Tourism in Petra

2003  Sashana Askjellerud: Conflict transformation through tourism



Approach to teaching

As an anthropologist, my teaching philosophy is based upon the principle that education should change students by challenging them to question not just what they know about the world but more importantly how they come to know. What and how we have been taught to think, taught to see who we are in relation to other people, places and ways of living influence the beliefs and assumptions we have about the world around us.  The subjects I teach provide the context to engage and encourage my students to learn through critical self-reflection, as one student commented in 2018: “This module pushed students …. to think and act outside the box and work beyond boundaries’.

I use workshops, lectures, images and films; objects, walking and drawing; posters, presentations and conversations grounded in my student’s own experience s to help them explore and grow into new ways of thinking. I love the different cultures and ways of knowing my students bring into the classroom and through these I learn something new every year, something that all too often challenges my own beliefs and assumptions, my own worldview.

External positions

Finance Committee Member, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

2015 → …

Trustee, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Northern Ireland


Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
Tourism Social Sciences
symbol Social Sciences
national identity Social Sciences
kinship Social Sciences
Caribbean Region Social Sciences
colonial age Social Sciences
ethnography Social Sciences
everyday life Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1994 2018

Heritage for Tourism: Creating a link between the past and the present

Palmer, C. & Tivers, J., 27 Jul 2018, Creating Heritage for Tourism. Palmer, C. & Tivers, J. (eds.). p. 1-12 12 p. (Developments in the Geographies of Leisure and Tourism).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

Future Generations

Being and Dwelling Through Tourism: An anthropological perspective

Palmer, C., 9 Nov 2017, UK. 174 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredResearch


Afterword: the experience of 'matter out of place'

Palmer, C., 1 Dec 2014, Tourism and Violence. Andrews, H. (ed.). Farnham, p. 233-242 10 p. (New Directions in Tourism Analysis).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

Maps, mapping and materiality: navigating London

Palmer, C. & Lester, J-A., 1 Nov 2013, Mediating the tourist experience : from brochures to virtual encounters. Lester, J-A. & Scarles, C. (eds.). Farnham, p. 237-254 18 p. (Current developments in the geographies of leisure and tourism).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch


Culture, identity, and belonging in the “culinary underbelly”

Palmer, C., Cooper, J. & Burns, P., 2010, In : International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research. 4, 4, p. 311-326 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
cultural anthropology
identity formation
research focus

Activities 2015 2015

  • 1 Research degree

Navigating uncertainty: Tourists' perceptions of risk in ocean cruising

Clare Weeden (Supervisor), Jo-Anne Lester (Supervisor), Catherine Palmer (Supervisor)

Activity: External examination and supervisionResearch degree