Emerging Scholar Profile- Dr. Fiona Eva Bakas
Fiona is a critical tourism researcher with international teaching experience, currently working as a postdoctoral researcher for a nationwide project on creative tourism in rural areas and small cities (CREATOUR), at the Centre for Social Studies, Coimbra University, Portugal.
Fiona’s most recent research has focused on the role of gender in tourism labour from a feminist economics angle. In 2014- 2016, she conducted qualitative research and analysis as part of a nationwide project GENTOUR II (www.genderintourism.com) on the role of gender in tourism labour, investigating the role of gender equality in boosting innovative forms of economic growth in tourism and focusing on aspects of management, recruitment, the pay gap, economic innovation, internationalisation and networking in Portugal. In addition, working in a research group rated as ‘Excellent’ by the national funding agency (FCT), Fiona actively collaborated with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to promote sustainable regional development through tourism. She focused on the cultural dimensions of tourism, intangible heritage and festivals and social inclusion through urban tourism.
Fiona’s future research will focus on creating new conceptualizations of creative tourism in rural areas and analyzing the creative tourism offer created within the CREATOUR network from a variety of angles, including a social embeddedness perspective. CREATOUR (www.creatour.pt) is a three-year project (2016-2019) and an incubator/demonstration and multidisciplinary research initiative that aims to connect the cultural/creative and tourism sectors through the development of an integrated research and application approach to catalyzing creative tourism in small cities and rural areas throughout Portugal. During the project, five research centres are working with a range of stakeholders located in small cities across Portugal in the Norte, Centro, Alentejo and Algarve regions, to create a creative tourism network. Fiona is helping to coordinate the research centres, write reports, articles and book chapters, participate and present at regional IdeaLabs (researcher-participant creative knowledge production and networking sessions), organise scientific events and undertake pilot site-visits.
Fiona has published in various peer-reviewed journals and books on aspects of creative and cultural tourism, gender in tourism labour, qualitative methodologies, handicrafts, entrepreneurship, rural tourism, ecotourism, and feminist economics. The latest article to be accepted was entitled “Creative tourism: Catalysing artisan entrepreneur networks in rural Portugal” in the International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research. Her latest book chapter is called: “‘An Uneasy Truth?’: Female Tourism Managers and Organizational Gender Equality Measures in Portugal” in the book: ‘Gender Equality and Tourism: Beyond Empowerment.’ In order to reach a broader audience, Fiona has published in other media, such as online on the NGO Equality in Tourism’s website and has facilitated the voices of female Greek tourism handicraft-makers to be heard by assisting them to publish in international books and online journals.
Throughout her academic career, Fiona has enjoyed presenting and networking at international conferences on aspects of critical tourism. She has taught on various topics, most recently teaching undergraduates a module on Tourism Transport and Accessibility at Portucalense University, Porto. Additionally, she has given seminars/guest lectures on aspects of ecotourism development and ecolabelling, gender in tourism labour and qualitative methodology to undergraduates and PhD students at Otago University, New Zealand and Aveiro University, Portugal.
Fiona has efficiently helped organise various scientific events. As an events professional she organised the social events for two large (over 1000 participants) academic conferences held in Kos, Greece in 2006 and 2007. As an academic, in July 2015, Fiona helped organise the GENTOUR Forum and in May 2017, she organised the social events for the INVTUR’17 conference- an international tourism conference with over 400 participants. She was also the main person responsible for organising the first ‘INVTUR 2017 PhD Workshop’, which had over 50 participants and featured innovative interactive workshops and multiple mentor sessions.
Fiona has a varied academic background which adds richness to her research perspective. In 1999, she received her undergraduate degree (BSc (Hons), in Plant Biotechnology with European Studies (German) from the School of Biosciences, Sutton Bonington Campus, and The University of Nottingham, UK. In 2003, Fiona decided to enrol in an MSc in Ecotourism at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Portsmouth University, UK, a program from which she graduated with a distinction and a thesis entitled ‘Consumer Attitudes to Eco-certification at Lake Plastira, Greece.’ Finally, in 2011, Fiona decided to really go for it and applied for and received a PhD scholarship at Otago University, New Zealand to study critical tourism, under the supervision of Hazel Tucker and Brent Lovelock. Fiona’s PhD research focused on gender and tourism development from a feminist economics angle. More specifically, she studied the relationship between tourism entrepreneurship and gender roles by engaging in ethnographic research with handicraft-makers in Crete and Epirus, Greece. Thematically analysing how changing economic priorities transform gendered and economic subjectivities provided a nuanced angle on entrepreneurship theorising. Fiona’s PhD thesis title was: ‘Tourism, female entrepreneurship and gender: Crafting new economic realities in rural Greece’.
Before deciding to follow an academic career, Fiona worked for 20 years for various companies in Nottingham, London, Athens and Dunedin. Comprehending the importance of giving back to the community, Fiona engaged in a variety of voluntary work such as working for Age Concern and Otago University Student Union Events Office.In her free time, Fiona practices Iyengar yoga, bakes cakes, jogs in the park, swims and dives in the sea in Greece (it’s too cold in Portugal!) when visiting her parents, goes hiking in the Portuguese mountains where she lives with her partner, two dogs, two cats and two ducks; designs and sews leather pouches, takes folk dancing lessons, goes to festivals and watches movies. Fiona is bilingual in English and Greek, speaks Portuguese and German to a good level and has some knowledge of Italian and Russian.
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