Charismatic Encounters: a new research project

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The WCA is excited to announce that we’re working on a new, international research project!

‘Charismatic Encounters (CHARISMA): Understanding the role of cetaceans in the coastal and maritime heritage of England and France’ is an 18-month project led by the Universities of Leeds and Paris Nanterre.

Research will be focused on the central role that whales and other cetaceans have played in English and French coastal and maritime heritage, as well as how this history could be useful to both countries’ contemporary whale watching industries for the benefit of local communities.

The relationship between whale hunting (in the past) and whale watching (in the present) is a complex one, in which we believe the future of responsible cetacean tourism depends on lessons learned from past exploitation.

The project will use an interdisciplinary approach to explore this relationship in two historically rich regions: the Yorkshire coast in England and the transnational Basque littoral, which joins southwest France to northern Spain.

One of the aims of the project is to build cooperative networks of stakeholders in both regions, such as whale watching tour operators, environmental NGOs, maritime museums, and members of local seafaring communities.

We’ll be creating a new section on the WCA website to host the project and its outputs (e.g. journal articles, policy reports, a documentary film).

We expect that the outcomes of the project will appeal to a wide range of audiences, from industry practitioners to members of the public (of all ages) who are endlessly fascinated by, and concerned for the ongoing protection of, that most charismatic of ocean creatures: the whale.

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