All Articles by Renk van Oyen

De man van La Clappeye Acts - Acting for Art. Werkzaam in de kunsten en is daar trots op. Fier de motor, katalysator en incubator te mogen zijn van menig kunstenproject. Heeft niets te maken met de vraag of het kunst met grote K. of kleine k. is. Goed is goed en slecht máken we goed, net zo lang tot het goed is. ADHD'er, voorliefde voor excentriekelingen, speel draailier, gek op theater, schrijven, festivaldier, houdt van buitenissige dingen. Is nog nooit "in the box" geweest en heeft geen idee hoe het er daar uit ziet.

63 Articles

Free download: All the links and tools!

Hundreds of links to high-quality tools and resources

We’ve collected quite some links over the years, to websites and affiliates who produce and create the most useful and innovative tools and methods, known to us. We already share them through our weblinks pages. You can see them categorised here.

Because of the cheerful summerness that is both you and us, we put them all together into a neat PDF, for you to download completely free of charge!

There’s even more! Why not look at a curated list of resources, used in our courses and knowledge materials!

Leisure communities of practice

Using leisure as knowledgebuilding

A practice is defined (Shove) as  ‘a process of integration resulting in a structured arrangement’. It results in a practice that exists for a while as a recognisable entity (Richards; Shove)

Within leisure and community of practice, all the basic elements are present to facilitate learning-environments. However inherent to the structure of international citytour companies and the way they function, also gives little affordance to co-learn, collaborative teaching and flow of knowledge through actual practice. The quality of staff is not always high enough to do it, although all the ingredients for successful knowledgebuilding are present.

Quote Greg Richards:

Most leisure practices also involve the development of particular skills, competences or knowledge. When we play sport we increase our level of skill, and this increases our desire to participate (what Scitovsky (1976) has termed ‘skilled consumption’).

Ofcourse, most activities in travel and leisure have a more or less fixed timescale and are modular. In travel, people share a space and place and move on, either into their ordinary lives or the next travel location.

Let guides learn from eachother, from experience, co-production and co-creation, and let them pass the knowledge on to eachother.

Knowledge creation takes place through practical interaction and informal learning, making it accessable to new and even temporary tourguides and several stronger local leadership-roles. They create “communities of practice.”

Why optimism guides your guiding

Optimists are attractive!

Your guides in the various European cities are valuable hubs of knowledge! They are usually popular- certainly withing pubcrawls and partytype groups and the have an optimistic quality about them.

In networks- both virtual and in real-life, optimism is seen as attractiveness. Further more, other people react to an attractive quality in a positive way. Optimists are usually more liked. Even the ones that don’t like him or her, will react in a positive way, as it is strategically unwise not to, as other perceive them with a positive outlook.

They have a high-degree centrality within their networks, which means they are the local connectors, the hubs; although perhaps not the best connector to the wider network.

Organisations like yours can be made to be perceived as entities, with structures, a face of faces, local presence and be laden with attractive traits. They can alternate in being extraverted and intraverted. That requires depth! Depth you cannot give if you are too transient in your local presence.

Hostels and the city: 5 ways to engage local networks

Hostels and local networks: Scaling up your localness!

You can be a big ass hostelchain or a small and cozy local hostel, running on volunteers, depending on your uniqueness locally. In both cases there are effective and affordable ways of making the most of your localness!

Below are 5 scalable ways to engage local networks with. Scalable in the sense that all 5 of them are reachable for small and big hostels alike!

1) Be a local stakeholder, not (just) an international one

A hostel or cityguiding company, aswell as touroperator, should try and be a local institution. Tapping into the local urban grain actually connects you to the local culture, cultural institutions, startups and local networks;

Source: Bevolo 2016
Source: Bevolo 2016

2) Local culture is a carrier of localness, not of your brand

You’re being all wonderfully local and all that, ofcourse. Remember to see local culture as carriers of localness- your main trait -and not neccesarily lf your brand. Don’t make them wear your t-shirt but BE  the t-shirt; adopt it and it’s underground qualities!

(...) we’ve set up programmes like Stay ‘n’ Play and ClinkCREATIVE which give musicians and artists free accommodation at the hostels in exchange for playing a gig or displaying their work (...) Liam Doyle (Clink Hostels)

3) Use your international network!

Most tourism stakeholders forget to utilise to local stakeholders, that what would give them actual influence: their own international networks!

4) Utilise the non-tangible networks the city has to offer

Where there is culture, there are buildings. Where there are buidings there is place, mobility, perception of practice and hundreds of years of mobility along the same structures. They are more often than not tangible in their form, nor are they easy to discover and address. People around cultural hubs in cities, are highly mobile within different kinds of networks.

Generator Hostels has become known for its successful use of urban, local networks. ClinkNoord in Amsterdam, part of Clink Hostels, try to integrate local culture and art as much as possible within design and events.

www.urbanexploringtours.nl/
www.urbanexploringtours.nl/
Urban grain and tourism-coproductions
Urban Exploring tours seeks to integrate local urban grain into the localness as understood by the travel industry.

The commercial interaction-chain of buying, using and selling, has different rules there, as it utilises ways of reciprocation that run through several layers of exchange and mobilty, often hidden from sight by for instance local habits, festivals, exchanging gifts, producing services and by perceptions of the urban grain.

Artists are wellconnected and move around different networks they don’t neccesarily use directly, but will know when to access through embeddedness and communities of practice.

Liam Doyle of Clink hostels continues:
It gives creativity and collaboration – between tourists and locals, artists and audiences – the chance to flow through our hostels and out into the cities. We really love that and think it makes Clink really unique,
Liam Doyle at WYSE Tavel conference 2016

5) When you’re starting up, why not be a startup?

Since you’re starting out- beit a hostel, a cityguiding company or even just a new local project, why not actually be a local startup?

  • It positions you on the new-and-happening side of entrepeneurship;
  • You can actively penetrate the local businessmarket;
  • Tap into local business-networks and expats;
  • Leverage your ideas and investments
  • Expect to be smiled upon by large community of highly skilled and well networked people.
  1. https://angel.co/amsterdam/online-travel/jobs
  2. https://www.startupfesteurope.com/site/traveling-to-amsterdam/
  3. http://startupamsterdam.org/partner/travel-bird/
  4. http://www.eu-startups.com/2016/03/amsterdam-based-travel-tracking-app-polarsteps-secures-e500k-in-funding/
  5. amsterdam startups-list.com/startups/travel

5 Tools for tour-production and planning

Amongst the thousands of tools you can use within the field of citytour-production and ideation there are several I personally use all the time. Below are 5 of my favourite tools.

Enjoy!

Timelines

There are quite a few commercial timeline sites outthere but the best ones I find, are the Knightlab timeline creator, Timemapper and Timelinesetter. All 3 tools use google spreadsheets as their source, hosted on your own cloud.

Knightlab timelinecreator

Simply edit the provided template in google docs, publish it to the web and paste the link into the generator page to generate an html code to embed into your site.

Example of timeline made with TimelineJS
Example of timeline made with TimelineJS

Timelinesetter

TimeMapper

Voicethread

This wonderful tool allows you to place several media like soundfiles and video in a timeline and collaboratively comment on each second of it, through text, speech or annotations.

Vialogues

Create a virtual classroom to discuss video material, like the recording of a pubcrawl.

See more tools

Knowledge-creation software

Tools and software

And even more here

Timeline tools assorted

City PubCall – Calling the shots!

Why crawl the shots if you can call them?

City PubCall is a completely new way of creating & market pubcrawls, connecting travellers to the local!

Pubcrawls and stories of drinking: some tips for guides

More often than not, pubcrawls and stagparties have a very bad reputation indeed. Part of the problem in relation to pubcrawls, is the active participation of the pubcrawlguide in both the formation of the travelstory created and repeated by the tourist, as in his part of the tour-dramaturgy, leading up to- during the pubcrawl and the creation of the narrative afterwards.

Telling, retelling, living and reliving of stories, is closely linked to drinking.

  1. Make clear “chapters” within the tour, clearly marking each one with storytelling opportunities.
  2. Format the dramaturgy of the tour, leading up to the first location, in such a way that a sense of achievement is created, such as introducing a gaming element after having finished the first location. Make sure you assign a role to one or more pubcrawlers, giving him or her a higher status within the group.
  3. Make the story unique but with interexchangable elements, drawn from other “drinkingstories”, narrated by key-players within your pubcrawl group.
  4. The drinking itself is not seen as anything special. They turn into stories if they involve one or several acts of transgression, defined as the crossing of boundaries set by an authority or convention (Tutenges; Jenks, 2003).
  5. Pubcrawlers actively seek out structures and situations that give affordance to the forming of narratives; You can utilise this within the planning of your pubcrawl;
  6. Not every “chapter” within tbe tour-dramaturgy has to be clearly outlined. They can also be construed into a narrative by the actual turn of events.
  7. Try to pre-construe storylines by, for example, theming, making it easier for the participants to form a cause-and-effect relationship between the demarcation of locations and chapters.

For collecting and archiving stories and narratives:

Stories Matter

Several flashcard tools

Text transcription and annotation tools

Timeline creator

Mobile diary study

 timeline Experience Design for hostels and bed breakfast La Clappeye22

More tools

Read also:

Staging the tour-location for groups: Event-space and perception

Some reading for you

  • Briggs, D. (2016) ‘Risk and transgression on holiday: “new experiences” and the pied piper of excessive consumption’, .
  • Richards, G. (2016) ‘Power of youth travel 2016’, .
  • Tutenges, S. (2016) ‘Pub crawls at a Bulgarian Nightlife resort: A case study using crowd theory’, .
  • Tutenges, S. (2016) ‘Stirring up effervescence: An ethnographic study of youth at a nightlife resort’, .
  • Tutenges, S. (2016) ‘The influence of guides on alcohol consumption among young tourists at a nightlife resort’, .
  • Tutenges, S., Hesse, M. and sebastientutenges (2008) Patterns of binge drinking at an international Nightlife resort. Available at: https://alcalc.oxfordjournals.org/content/43/5/595 (Accessed: 15 March 2016

Staging the tour-location for groups: Event-space and perception

Staging the tour-location for groups: Event-space and perception

Free course excerpt

When staging a tour-location, we use several techniques, deriving from different research- and practice-areas. When staging a tour-location- regardless of the research and theoretical backgrounds used, always remember that you are part of the group, room and space aswell. If it doesn’t feel right to you, you might very well be right. The trick then, is to find out what exactly is “wrong” and what to do about it.

This lesson excerpt is free to download below!

The group versus the interior

You can pre-stage the location, to work in your advantage. Before you arrive with the group, make sure you have set everything up and discussed this with the pub owner.

Instead of asking the owners permission on several small actions, ask them if it’s alright to “set the location”. It prevents having to explain every detail. The theoretical part of this is abstract and not everyones cup of tea, so take your time.

Using some basics of Grouping in Gestalt, Ï will show some examples of use in practice.

Join the locals

How do the participants know who are locals and who aren’t? Most of them will want to meet locals and be part of them, for the duration of the tour and foreseeable period of time afterwards.

There are many semiotic features that define who is part of which group, how they comunicate with eachother and other groups. Meaning, inclusion, exclusion- basically all communication that we perceive and can process, is transfered by “language” both parties can understand and can communicate about on meta level, using the modalities they know but also the modalities they know, the other “party” will understand and and communicate about.
There is much, much, much more going on than that! There are forms of communication going, that not yet have means of both sending and receiving from one set to an other. There simply is no language to describe the unknown. This produces an alternative form of sending and receiving that is formed by proximity and the amount of events wherein different groups meet eachother within a certain space. This is called emergent effects, as opposed to stereotypical effects.

Using “similarity” and “closure” as metaphors, when arriving at the pub the “opening-scene” of the tour-location, can be made to invite the participants to join a setting that has an opening, just for them. An oval table with a few locals sitting on just one side of it, looks inviting to join (using “closure” as visual metaphor) and the tour-participants can easily feel welcomed by either the locals themselves or the familiarity of the tourguide with the locality itself. Use your position to link the physical local to the tour participants.

bar stoelen tafel op tour graphics
Open shape, but closed-off and uninviting, because of use of different materialities (wood, vs cushions), shape and grouping

In the bar-picture below, the “localness” is emphasised by the broken circle of locals on bar-stools. The broken space can be very inviting to join them but can also be potentially threatening. In this case, the empty space is used as service-space (vitrine), which would be less inviting for this particular purpose.

bar met citytour green

A table is a much more inviting environment for the tour participants to join the locals. Hospitality is conveyed and experienced through the righ modalities: texture, materiality of space, light, heat, brightness, scent, atmoshpere, a turntaking of reciprical behaviours, food and drink!

Sitting on one side of the table (staged by you as tour director), the other side seems welcoming and intices to join. Whatever you do, do not place a “reserved” sign on the table.

In the picture below, you see 2 examples. One of them is configured as “closed”, the other one is “open.”

tourlocation open en gesloten opstelling

Mediating objects

In other content (posts, blogs, lectures and articles) I have written about mediation, mediating qualities of objects and spaces. Make sure the participants recognise typically local objects or habits and behaviour typical for local or national life, without trying to be too spefic. It is better to let the participants weave threads together and arrive to conclusions themselves. It enriches the experience and gives them a sense of insight.

In the stillframe below, we see a drinking vessel, typical for Valencian culture. The tour participants are asked to engage in drinking from the vessel (there’s a trick to it; I’ve tried it), but later on in the evening. In this case the tour is very clearly about tapas and the guided consumption of it. People are less engaged with local culture in a participatory manner, but very much consume the experience.

The cityguide in this example is Suzy Anon y Garcia– a tourguide from Valencia I know personally and can recommend her to everyone! She’s a foodie if ever I met one and knows everything there is to know about food and Valencian food in particular!

Want more? See our courses section!

Test your hostelmanagement skills and apply to testdrive a course for free!

Hostelmanager or aspiring to be? Hotelmanager, front-of-house? Leisure professional?

Test your knowledge and skills below. After the quiz you can apply to be a testdriver for one of the courses, completely free of charge!

  • Full course worth between 400 and 900 eur.
  • Including service and live-chat
  • Assignments with personal coaching

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After the quiz you can apply to be a testdriver for one of the courses, completely free of charge! Including all paid services and coaching.

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1.

A stay in a hostel is a social experience and does not require the outlines of a service.

 
 

2.

It’s never nice to think in terms of threats. But if you had you, which of the following aspects might possibly constiture a threat to hostels in Europe?

 
 
 
 
 

3.

In the courses Touringguide training and Practical touringguide training, I provide methods and tools to analyse locations and behaviour with. Which tools and methods would you use?

 

 

In Spatial tour-design: http://blog.la-clappeye.nl/conceptinglesson/spatial-tour-design/

In video and media analysis tools: http://blog.la-clappeye.nl/conceptinglesson/video-and-media-analysis-tools/

In customer journeys, personae and scenariobuilding techniques: http://blog.la-clappeye.nl/conceptinglesson/customer-journeys-personae-and-scenariobuilding-techniques/

 
 
 
 
 
 

4.

Basically there are 3 levels of tourism products:

Which ones?

 

 

 
 
 

Question 1 of 4

Free course

Keepers of souvenirs as meaningmakers

Carrying ‘m home

In grannies cupboard, lies an old pen with mountainview and a fluid, in which a little ship goes up and down if you hold the pen upside down. The pen never really worked properly and the fluid has leaked away. Nevertheless, it was a souvenir and we keep it. They have a special place in our house, minds and memories. They transfer meanings, but only through its owner.

You could say, the souvenir was already purchased when we were still at home. The souvenir relates to our bodies, our homes, the construction of our sense of self and place.

Souvenirs transfer meaning and culture, by means of their material qualities. A wooden carving, made from a regional kind of wood, gives meaning through the work involved making it, the details made by the craftsman, the time it took to make it, the place where you bought the thing, the context wherein you bought it, its size, its weight, its grainy structure. They are all coupled to its meaning, at the very moment it changed hands.

The relationship between an object and its owner, is almost a magical one, according to many anthropologists and scholars. The object is imbrued with meaning, it has the power to ‘communicate’ and it tangibly occupies a space, whilst symbolising another symbolically-  temporal and geographical.

Mass production

Even mass-produced plastic rubbish, implicitely carries these qualities, although there is a significant loss in containing and transferring meaning, due to lack of forementioned qualities.

The souvenir has meaningful qualities and traits, because of its connection to the owner. Without a narrative, the souvenir is worthless. In mass production there has been given no meaning to the product by means of material qualities. On the contrary, souvenirs bought in mass tourism, exemplifies the very thing people want to escape from: work. (Benson)

Even the simplest mass produced plastic souvenirs, can carry meaning. And they do, ofcourse. However, the constructed narrative of its owner survives this process of exchange, minus many many meaningful material qualities. The remaining narrative, makes the purchased souvenir a ‘ mediating object.’  Something that is amplified by its later place within the house and household, within objects that make you you, but as an outsider’s experience and perception of the experience of a site. (Benson)

Home and the souvenir

Whilst travelling, the souvenir you’re going to buy, already has a connection to you and your home. There’s a bond between your body, the ‘self’ and the construction of identity, primarily because your home is the main place where people create their reality and sense of self, in everyday life. Within this personal museum, you move in the presence of familiar objects ad images- constructing, annotating and forming your personality, your ways of meaning making and transference and ways of telling both yourself and the world, what you find important and what not. Souvenirs usually embody the same characteristics. To name a simple example in the context of materiality: a wooden carving has to fit the salon table.

We inscribe the perception of home on particular places and locations, without necessarily having to be there. Potentially we have the capacity to create our own notion of home. Within post-modern society the sense of place and perceptions of home is both highly standardised and commodified, aswell as constructed by means of tourism. Even the sense of authenticity, embodied by artefacts, souvenirs and totems, is often a constructed one. Some thrive on the sense of nostalgia, not all of them, as the sense of nostalgia is experienced by the tourist, not particularly the locale itself.

Example from forum on the relationship souvenir/ownership
My parents’ souvenir spoons; let me show you them. January 23, 2010 I have inherited a collection of souvenir spoons. Can you suggest funky or creative ways to display these? They came with the standard souvenir spoon display board, which I don’t care for. For what it is worth, I have not visited all of the places that these spoons were obtained, though I respect the fact that my parents chose to go to these places and obviously had nice memories of these trips. posted by Morrigan

Commercialised, mass produced souvenirs, can represent a manufactured notion of nostalgia, building on the desire of constructing a shared narrative. This does still not mean, the bought souvenirs are without meaning! Physical contact with objects collected during travels (like souvenirs), is more important for travellers telling stories, than visual representations (Bationo). Other research shows that people do prefer to recollect memories by using souvenirs rather than photo’s. However among elderly people using objects for reminiscing, 42% of the cases preferred the photograph for “stirring recollections” (Sherman).

“Souvenir photos of Versailles” project

In conclusion

In a way it could  be argued, the commercialised rhythm, velocity and repetitiveness with which the tourist locations are flooded, provide new opportunities to convey clear and present images on current countries, current culture and local life- as an answer to “master narratives” and somewhat colonial ways of looking at other countries and cultures.  Were it not that commercial travel highly manipulates our view and perception of places. Grasping- in essence -to that what communicates culture in a way nothing else can: through souvenirs and objects, carried and annotated by you!

Follow Renk van Oyen’s board objects and souvenirs on Pinterest.

See also:

Ruimtes en het alledaagse ding, deel 1 (Dutch)

Ruimtes en het alledaagse ding, deel 2 (Dutch)

Narratives of travel (English)

Leren kijken naar een ding, deel 1 (Dutch)

Leren kijken naar een ding, deel 2 (Dutch)