Professor Caroline Scarles
Academic and research departmentsSchool of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Centre for Digital Transformation in the Visitor Economy.
Caroline is Professor of Technology in Society in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey. Her key research interests lie in the three key areas of: the visual and multi-sensuality within society, social and cultural sustainability and how these are brought together through technology for social good. Bringing together her work on the visual, mobile technology and digital solutions, Caroline's recent research has focused on: enriching the visitor experience through augmented reality and image recognition technology in arts and heritage and the role of immersive experiences (principally multisensory immersions and VR) as providing stimulating environments for healthy ageing. Caroline also conducts research in the area of sustainability through work on the socio-cultural impacts of tourism on communities and pro-environmental behaviour change. Details of Caroline's research and interests for PhD supervision are under the 'Research' tab.
Caroline is lead editor of the journal, Tourist Studies, and resource editor for Annals of Tourism Research. She holds several national and international appointments, including: executive committee member for BEST EN and the Association for Tourism in Higher Education, international advisor for the Geographies of Leisure and Tourism Research Group for the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers, a founding member of the International Network for Visual Studies in Organisations (inVISIO) and is a non-executive Director for Visit Surrey.
University roles and responsibilities
- Research Lead - Digital Economy Research Group (SHTM)
Business, industry and community links
Virtual adventures from home series - during Covid-19 social isolation and lockdown
As we are not able to travel or take part in our usual leisure and recreation activities, I have compliled a selection of virtual adventures to keep you 'travelling' and having fun during this time of social distancing and lockdown. There's a wide range of different adventures to choose from (theatre, galleries and museums, beaches, adventure sports, trips to national parks, coastal walks, snorkelling, diving, wildlife encounters and a whole lot more!). Join us in having some virtual adventures from home!
- Week 1: Virtual adventures from home: General (PDF)
- Week 2: Virtual adventures from home: The Beach and Coast (PDF)
- Week 3: Virtual adventures from home: Gardens, parks and woodlands (PDF)
- Week 4: Virtual adventures from home: European City Breaks (1) (PDF)
- Week 5: Virtual adventures from home: Virtual Surrey Day 2020 (PDF)
The University of Surrey’s Next Generation Paper event will reveal the future of book technology
Parenting, driverless cars and work humour among topics of free talks and events with leading academics
Hospitality and tourism management once again top UK subject in the Shanghai Global Rankings 2018
University of Surrey wins 5th place in Hospitality, Leisure, Sport & Tourism by the Center for World University Rankings
Technology for social good; technology and healthy ageing in tourism, leisure and recreation; technology and accessibility in arts and heritage; community engagement and social sustainability.
If you are interested in studying for a PhD in any of the above areas, do email me directly.
2020 ESRC COVID-19. £225k. Nature Engagement and Well-being Pre, During and Post-COVID-19: Supporting the UK (Green) Recovery. Investigating Team: Gaterslaben, B., Scarles, C., Wyles, K. & Xu, T. Project overview: Engagement with nature benefits well-being, but theory development in this area is limited. With free movement restricted during lockdown and health and well-being threatened by COVID-19, it is especially important now to understand this relationships. We will work with Natural England to examine the impact of COVID-19 on nature engagement and well-being in the UK and support Government strategies aimed at ameliorating impacts and managing recovery. Project partner: Natural England.
2020 SME Innovation Voucher. Creating Virtual Encounters with Art in Times of Crisis. £10k. Investigating Team: Scarles, C., Li, G., Chen, J., Zainal-Abidin, H. The objectives of this research project are: first, to critique the shifts in visitor behaviour patterns throughout this time of crisis as they move from predominantly physical, on-site encounters with art, to engaging with art and curated tours through platforms such as Smartify; secondly, to evaluate the future opportunities for arts and heritage organisations in reframing existing business models to adopt greater virtual, greener and technology-led solutions for engaging with art galleries and associated exhibitions. Project Partner: Smartify.
2020 SME Innovation Voucher. Economic and Social Impact of Art. £15k. Investigating Team: Li, G., Scarles, C. (PI for social impact study), Liu, A., Chen, J., Morgan, N, Green, A. This project explores the economic and social impacts of the wider arts sector to the visitor economy. Working with three key partners, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, The Lightbox and Watts' Gallery Artists' Village, the project explores the wide range of social and community engagement initiatives and projects and the value that these bring to communities.
2019 Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (Surrey). Living Environments for Healthy Ageing. £128k. Investigating Team: Scarles, C. (PI for TC2), Dijk, D.J, Barnaghi, P., Skeldon, A., Moesner, K., Humbracht, M.. Technical capacity 2 team: Scarles, C., Klepacz, N., Humbracht, M. & van Even, S. This project explored the use of virtual and immersive technology in creating stimulating, innovative environments for people living in long term residential care. Working with residents of a care home for older adults, the project developed VR and multisensory simulation experiences to explore the benefits of bringing outdoor environments (woodlands, coastal areas) into the physical space of residents through the use of visuals, sound and smell.
2019 SME Innovation Voucher (Surrey/Research England). Digital Futures in Arts and Heritage. Investigating Team: Scarles, C., Treharne, h> & Zanial-Abidin, H. (University of Surrey SHTM and Computing Science). Project Partners: Watts Gallery - Artists' Village (with Smartify). £14k. This project explores the adoption of augmented reality solutions in arts and heritage, evaluating visitor engagement with AR in mobile devices, critiquing staff and volunteer training and support requirements and identifying future directions for digital solutions in arts and heritage.
Full Research Report is available online at: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/sites/default/files/2020-05/digital-futures-augmented-reality-in-arts-and-heritage.pdf
2017 EPSRC. Next Generation Paper. £1.174m. Investigating Team: Frohlich, D. (PI), Scarles, C., Sporea, R., Bober, M., Brown, A. & Revill, G. (University of Surrey (DWRC, SHTM, CVSSP & SBS) & Open University). Project Partners include: Emirates Holidays, Bradt Travel Guides, TUI UK & Ireland, TTG, Hewlett Packard, Ifolor Finland, Novocentrix, VTT, Visual Atoms, and independent travel writers.
This project is world-leading research on the technical development of augmented paper solutions. Using the context of travel and tourism and partnering with global leaders in this and the technology industry, the potential impact of this project is significant with regard to the future use of paper technologies and bridging the gap between material and virtual worlds.
Further details of the projects are available online at: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/digital-world-research-centre/funded-projects/next-generation-paper-connecting-paper-web
Media coverage is available at: http://www.travolution.com/articles/104960/emirates-holidays-and-university-of-surrey-collaborate-on-next-gen-interactive-print, https://www.surrey.ac.uk/mediacentre/press/2018/university-surrey-wins-award-help-revolutionise-paper-technology
2015 RRUKA (Rail Research UK Association). Integrating data sources to enhance the experience for passengers with special needs through privacy aware mobile applications Investigating Team: Treharne, H., Ross, T. Bailey, S., Schneider, S. & Scarles, C. (2015). Project Partners: University of Surrey, University of Southampton and Loughborough University. Project Costs: £68K. This project identifies opportunities of mobile technology in enabling increased accessibility for visually impaired users of rail networks.
2012-2016 Beyond the Visual: Augmented Reality and Image Recognition Technology in Spaces of Exhibition. Developed through 6 stages of funding (EPSRC/AHRC/Innovate UK):
2015 Innovate UK/ICURe Innovation-To-Commercialiastion. Let’s Explore: Commercialising Augmented Reality for Cultural Organisations. Investigating Team: Treharne, H., Scott, M., Slater, A., Scarles, C. & Casey, M. (2015). Project Partners: The Lightbox, Project costs: £15K.
2015 Innovate UK/ICURe Innovation-To-Commercialiastion. Let’s Explore: Commercialising Augmented Reality for Cultural Organisations. Investigating Team: Treharne, H., Scott, M., Slater, A., Scarles, C. & Casey, M. (2015). Project Partners: The Lightbox, Project costs: £35K.
2014 Research+/NESTA/AHRC. Visit-AR: Augmented Reality in Spaces of Exhibition. Development of a mobile application for wide-scale adoption of augmented reality in cultural organisations to recognise both 2-D and 3-D objects. Investigating team: Treharne, H., Scarles, C. (co-I), Culnane, C. & Casey, M. (2013). Project partners: Brooklands Museum, Historic Royal Palaces, The Lightbox, Surrey Heritage, Visit Surrey, Watts Gallery. Project costs: £49K.
2014 EPSRC/IAA fund. Beyond the Visual: Augmented Reality in Spaces of Exhibition II: Product Deployment. Investigating team: Treharne, H., Scarles, C. (co-I). Project timeframe: March 2014-January 2015. Project partners: Pervasive Intelligence (Casey, M), The Lightbox (Scott, M. & Hall, P.), Consultancy from Slater, A. & Smith, M. Project costs: £25K.
2013 EPSRC/IAA fund. Beyond the Visual: Augmented Reality in Spaces of Exhibition II. Investigating team: Treharne, H., Scarles, C. (co-I), Culnane, C. & Casey, M. Project timeframe: September 2013 – June 2014. Project partners: Brooklands Museum, The Lightbox, Visit Surrey, Watts Gallery. Project costs: £56K.
2012 EPSRC/MILES fund. Beyond the Visual: Augmented Reality in Spaces of Exhibition. Investigating team: Casey, M., Culnane, C., Treharne, H., Scarles, C. (co-I), & Frohlich, D. Project Partners: The Lightbox, Watts Gallery. Project costs: £14K.
This research focused on the opportunities afforded by augmented reality within spaces of exhibition. Initially funded as part of the EPSRC MILES project promoting interdisciplinary work, the project brought together academics working in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (Dr Scarles) and the Department of Computing (Drs Treharne, Casey and Culnane). The research developed technology that used augmented reality to enhance the visitor experience within cultural organisations (museums and galleries). In the first project, a series of live trials were conducted with staff, volunteers and visitors at Watts Gallery (Compton) and The Lightbox (Woking). The prototype Android application enabled the development of innovative technology covering: image overlay, multisensory engagement (augmented audio and visual content), and indoor localisation (tracking visitor movements through fingerprinting technology). Key findings indicate that augmented reality content significantly enriches the visitor experience and facilitates deeper audience engagement with exhibitions. This is achieved through multiple interpretations layers, increased dwell time at exhibits, and facilitates visitor empowerment. Opportunity also exists for organisations to understand visitor usage patterns thus potentially impacting on activity such as marketing strategy, collateral sales strategy, digital giving and fundraising opportunities during visits. This second project developed an open-platform application to facilitate the wide-scale adoption of augmented reality technology across local and regional cultural organisations (AHRC/NESTA). This extended the technology to include 3D as well as 2D objects (e.g. sculpture, ceramics, even racing cars (working in partnership with Brooklands Museum)). The impact of initial research findings secured engagement of arts and heritage partners for subsequent funding rounds. Partners included: Brooklands Museum, Historic Royal Palaces (focusing on Hampton Court Palace), Surrey Heritage/Surrey History Centre, The Lightbox, Visit Surrey, and Watts Gallery.
Funding from EPSRC/IAA enabled the team to identify opportunities for product deployment. A working business model and plan was developed and subsequent funding opportunities arose through iCURe/Innovate UK. The research team launched a company, Let’s Explore, as a direct result of the research and associated technological development. However, despite significant interest and extremely positive feedback from across the arts and heritage sector, the commercial viability of the technology in the context of arts and heritage has provided significant challenge due to several key areas limiting organisational ability to engage. These are: budget and available financial resources/stakeholder knowledge/long lead times for investment/fearfulness of investment in hardware and ‘short shelf-life technology, of organisations, and technical knowledge of software programme development in existing organisations providing digital solutions in arts and heritage (willingness to invest in company but lack of in-house development skills).
2008-12 inVISIO (The International Network for Visual Studies in Organisations). ESRC funded. Developed through 2 projects:
2010 ESRC Researcher Development Initiative. Project Title: Advancing Visual Methodologies in Business and Management. Investigating Team: Warren, S., Bell, E., Davidson, J., Schroeder, J., Scarles, C. (Surrey P.I) & Lee, W. Project timeframe: September 2010- September 2012. Project cost: £81,411
2008 ESRC Seminar Series Seminar Series for inVISIO (The International Network for Visual Studies in Organisations). Project team: Warren, S, Scarles, C. (Surrey P.I), Vince, R. Bell, E., Davison, J., McLean, C. & Schroeder, J. Series timeframe: October 2008-May 2010. Series cost: £14,995.
inVISIO brings together researchers, educators, practitioners and artists from an international community to explore the visual dimensions of business, management and organisational life. Dr Scarles is a founding member of this network along with colleagues from the University of Essex, University of Bath, Royal Holloway University, University of Manchester and the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. The network was founded through an ESRC seminar series grant (see above). The impacts of this include invitations to present reflections and findings on visual methods in business and management research at several international conferences and seminars, including: an ESRC DTC Advanced Methods Training workshop entitled “Advancing Visual Methods in Business and Management” held at the University of Surrey in January 2013 (Dr Scarles was keynote and co-host of this event), PDW workshop at the US Academy of Management (2010) entitled “Working with Critical Documentary Film”, QUIC Seminar (2010) entitled “Computer Analysis of Visual Data”, workshop at the British Academy of Management entitled “Challenges and Controversies in Visual Research”, and a workshop seminar on “Postcards from Ethical Practice” at the Visual Methods Conference (2011) (Dr Scarles was co-author of this presentation).
Of note, a second significant research project was conducted by inVISIO founding members through an ESRC Researcher Development Initiative (RDI) (see above) (Dr Scarles was PI for Surrey). This project aimed to address the gap between existing preferences towards quantitative, or text-based qualitative methods within business and management research, and the potential afforded by new channels of visual media communication within research. The project developed a free to access, online resource for the development of researcher skills in visual methodology and analysis, specifically with the needs of the business and community management community in mind. The resulting website, ‘inspire’ (http://www.moodle.in-visio.org) was developed by 31 expert members of inVISIO and provides introductory and advanced materials, how-to guides, video case studies, tutorials and supporting references in a ‘one-stop-shop’ visual methods repository for anyone wishing to develop new skills in visual methods. The site continues to attract over 460 users worldwide (including academics and non-academic researchers. 62% from UK and 38% international including USA, Sweden and Australia) and within the first 9 months of its launch has received over 800 unique visits. This incorporates over 18,000 unique page views, over 920 repeat visits during which visitors view twice as many pages and spend on average twice as long on the site. This demonstrates its substantial impact on the scientific community and beyond, and the impact this resource continues to have to facilitate capacity building within this area.
The network continues to thrive with over 550 members from across academia and industry sharing ideas and knowledge via the inVISIO website at: http://in-visio.org, thus establishing a supporting community for the project website and identifying opportunities for future initiatives such as conferences, workshops and publications.
2007-2010. The Effects of Tourist Photographic Practice on Host Communities. ESRC, Sole researcher/PI, including 3 months fieldwork period in Peru. Project cost: £64,413.
This research involved working directly with community members in the High Andes of Peru in Cusco to investigate the effects of tourist photography on those being photographed. In addition to theoretical contributions to academic knowledge on socio-cultural impacts of tourism on local communities, the ethics of tourist photography, tourist behaviour and visual methods, research findings had considerable impact on industry practice. Examples of this include the production of an industry report and user-guide to disseminate research findings from one ESRC funded project have been directly implemented within the tourism industry. These outputs have facilitated changes to company sustainability policies and tour leader training policies within tour operators, further clarifying the key issues and areas of confusion and concern when tourists photograph local people at destinations. Findings were disseminated to 45 tour operators in the UK (including the 13 operators that were directly involved in the research project). The impact these outputs have had is evident as both Explore Worldwide (the UK’s leading adventure travel company specialising in sustainable travel) and Journey Latin America, have integrated findings into tour leader training courses and tour leader manuals. For Explore this has involved the distribution of industry documents as standard across all leaders working on over 500 tours in over 130 countries. Tourism Concern (the world leading campaigning group for human rights in tourism) have also incorporated research findings into their own research and development of best practice guidelines on poverty alleviation in tourism and engaging with indigenous communities. The guide is also available on their open access website (over 15,000 individual supporters across 20 countries, academic network and Ethical Tour Operator Group and over 20,000 website hits per month), and through the Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), Sustainable Tourism Committee (with over 120 operators registered) and travel publications such as Wanderlust (readership of over 40,000).
2007 DEFRA. Public Perceptions of Sustainable Leisure and Tourism. Investigating team: Miller, G., Rathouse, K., Scarles, C, Holmes, K. & Tribe, J. Project cost: £69,812
Prof Scarles has worked on research commissioned by DEFRA on Public Understanding of Sustainable Leisure and Tourism. Research findings can be found at:
Indicators of esteem
Lead Editor - Tourist Studies
Full details of the journal and how to submit articles for consideration is available on the Tourist Studies website at: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/toua
International Advisory Board Member, Geographies of Leisure and Tourism Research Group, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute for British Geographers)
Full Details of the Group are available online at: https://gltrg.squarespace.com/
Postgraduate research supervision
CURRENT PHD SUPERVISION
2018 - present Travel as Consumption: Capturing Social Media Footprints in Photogenic Places. PhD Candidate: Lauren Siegel. Second Supervisor with Professor Iis Tussyadiah.
2016 – present Digital Communication and Collaboration Platforms for B2V in Tourism. PhD Candidate: Husna Zainal Al Abidin. First Supervisor with Dr Christine Lundberg.
2016 – present Travel to Enlightenment: Can Polar Tourism Act as a Moment of Inspiration, a Lifetime of Action? PhD Candidate: Christy Hehir. First Supervisor with Dr Joseph Kantenbacher & Dr Kayleigh Wyles (ESRC DTP Studentship).
2013 – 2017 Mobilising Ethical behaviour in the UK Tourism Industry. PhD Candidate: Kelsy Hejjas. First Supervisor with Prof. Graham Miller.
2012 – 2017 Social Media, Storytelling and Tourism. PhD Candidate: Fred Lund. Second Supervisor with Dr Scott Cohen.
2012 – 2016 Politicising the host-guest encounter, PhD Candidate: Lynn Beard. First Supervisor with Prof. John Tribe (ESRC DTC Studentship)
2012 – 2016 Effective Capacity Building within Destinations Communities: Tour Operator and Local Community Negotiations. PhD Candidate: Claudia Eger. First Supervisor with Prof. Graham Miller (ESRC DTC Case Studentship).
2008 – 2013 Networks, Acts and Artefacts: Exploring Actor Network Theory Through Letterboxing, PhD Candidate: Tadashi Yamagata. First Supervisor with Professor John Tribe.
2007 - 2012 Pilgrimage and Religiousness as Tourist Practice and Performance, PhD Candidate: Matina Terzidou. First Supervisor with Prof. Mark Saunders.
2007 – 2011 The Relationship Between the Film Industry and Tourism in Marketing Destinations, PhD Candidate: Maltika Siripis. First Supervisor with Professor David Airey.
2007 – 2010 The Development of Tourist Attractions Using Korean Gastronomy. PhD Candidate: Yeong Gug Kim. Second Supervisor with Dr Anita Eves.
- Level 1 Business Environment
- Level 3 Applied Research for Tourism, Hospitality and Events
- Level 3 Sustainable Operations
- MSc Sustainable Tourism Management
- MSc Tourism Social Sciences
- MSc Smart Tourism and Event Design
- PhD Research Methods