This reflective paper examines how heritage and tourists engage, hypothesizing about a necessary re-conceptualisation that goes beyond interpretation as the transfer of information/significance/knowledge grounded in learning theory, towards an interpretation praxis that embraces two dimensions of the visitor experience: an embodied experience and an experience where vision and visuality is privileged. Both these dimensions are at the forefront of the ways digital media is reconfiguring the relationship between heritage places and visitors.
Russell Staiff holds a doctorate in art history. In 1996 he was appointed the foundation lecturer in cultural tourism at the University of Melbourne where he established the postgraduate program in cultural tourism and the visual arts in association with the postgraduate program in art curatorship and museum studies. He is currently based at the University of Western Sydney in the Centre for Cultural Research where he researchers the intersections between tourism and heritage sites and museums. He is also an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University, Bangkok where he teaches in the graduate architectural heritage management and tourism program. His current research focuses on tourism and World Heritage sites in Australia, Thailand and Italy.