The Ethics of Dark Tourism

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This Research & Knowledge Exchange Doctoral Project brief summarises our priority areas of research interest under the heading of: The Ethics of Dark Tourism.

We welcome all research degree applications aligned with and in response to this brief.

Project brief details

The concept of dark tourism concerning tourist spaces broadly connected to death, suffering and suffering (Stone and Sharpley 2008), continues to fascinate both the academic realm and public discourse. Undeniably, this fascination with the phenomenon is most evident when visitor numbers are examined at sites and attractions associated with dark tourism which have grown exponentially in recent years.  

However, alongside this growing interest, concerns are expressed in the literature over the ethical and moral considerations associated with dark tourism, which from a supply side perspective, is accused by some scholars of commodifying the dead and inciting voyeurism. There are also sensitivities over the representation and interpretation of sensitive materials for example should a skeleton be displayed for touristic purposes and if so, how?  

These concerns have been intensified with the tragic event of the Titan Sub where tourists had embarked on a deep dive to the Titanic hull came to a grisly end. Dr Donna Poade wrote an article on this subject which appeared in the Independent recently. Questions were raised again around the psychology of such endeavours and whether there should be restrictions and limitations associated with dark tourism.  

Consequently, this project explores the following questions: 

  • How can the sensitivities of dark tourism be mitigated or balanced? 
  • What are the ethical and moral dilemmas of dark tourism from both a demand and supply side perspectives? 
  • How can sensitive materials be represented and interpreted that meets the needs of all stakeholders? 
  • What is the future for dark tourism as a commercial endeavour? 

Strategic alignment

Projects deriving from this brief are expected to sit within the Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy and the following department.

Department Cornwall Business school

All successful research degree project proposals must emphasise a clear alignment between the project idea and our Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy. 

Project brief lead

Donna Poade
Donna Poade

Project supervisor: Dr Donna Poade

Donna is Senior Lecturer in Experience Design (Tourism) at Cornwall Business School and joined in August 2020. She is a tourism academic and received her doctoral degree in 2017 from the University of Exeter which focused on the function and impact of innovation alongside key issues associated with the management and operation of dark tourism visitor sites and attractions.

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How to apply

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We welcome all research degree applications aligned with this Doctoral Project brief. ​To apply in response to this brief or learn about the application process click the button below.

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Project brief & project proposal enquiries

To discuss this project brief, ideas or project proposal responding to this brief, please contact: Dr Donna Poade.


Application enquiries

For all other application related enquires please contact the Research & Development team.


T01326 255831

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