Next Generation Paper: A Travel Media Ethnography

jan van duppen

Next Generation Paper (NGP) is a research project based at The Open University and the University of Surrey and funded by The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). An interdisciplinary team aims to develop innovative technologies that combine print and paper-based media by designing and trialling a new travel guide. As part of the wider research project, the geographers Professor Caroline Scarles (University of Surrey) and Dr George Revill & Dr Jan van Duppen (The Open University) are working together on a travel media ethnography, which looks at how a mix of paper and screen-based media reshape tourist experiences of places and what the implications are for the production of the travel guide.

By means of semi-structured interviews, observations, and go-alongs with tourists as well as expert interviews with tourist organisations, the project analyses how tourists use media and technology before, during and after their travel. We are interested in travel experiences abroad and in the UK and will collect and analyse tourists’ stories about how they plan a trip, navigate places, and document and share their experiences. This research will provide insights into tourist practices and strategies and how these are co-constituted through the specific affordances and limitations of media and technology deployed by tourists, such as paper maps, GPS-navigation tools, smart phone apps, postcards, travel guides, social media, and travel websites.

Our findings will inform the design of a technology that connects paper to digital devices, and thereby creates a more user-friendly media experience. It will make it easier for travellers and tourist to navigate between different sorts of media and technology, such as travel guides, websites, smart phones and photo cameras.

If you would like to participate in this study, have a look at our pdf flyer at the bottom of this page and please do get in touch with jan.van.duppen@open.ac.uk.

Project Team

Research Partners

For more information on the project see also the University of Surrey website.

Image: Jan van Duppen