Associate Lecturer Tourism

Sam is a geographer (with a specialism in sustainable tourism, surf communities and cultural exchange), travel writer, filmmaker, presenter and surf contest commentator. Sam researches and curates creative and innovative work on cultural tourism and surfing through books, films, articles, education and events. This work often focuses on areas that are post-conflict or post-environmental disaster, where the emergence of grassroots surf communities and small-scale tourism ventures provide a wider lens to understand sustainability, diversity, inclusivity, blue health, coastscapes, and surfing’s potential to inspire positive change.

Sam produces and presents an adventure activist series called Brilliant Corners documenting emerging surf communities, responsible tourism, action sports, and the power of surfing for social good in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Sam studied a BA and MA in Geography at Pembroke College, the University of Cambridge, and researched a PhD at Falmouth University (and the University of the Arts London) on travel writing and surf exploration in Haiti. Alongside freelance writing, editing and events work, Sam hosts the live broadcast for the World Surf League and International Surfing Association World Longboard Championships, and collaborates with a number of brands and businesses within the action sports, publishing and travel industry.

Born and raised close to Land’s End, Sam is deeply connected to (and inspired by) the rich tradition of tourism in Cornwall, a region that is both his home, and offers continual live and inventive dialogue between sustainability, culture, environment and the political economy. Sam has a particular interest in responsible tourism that can have a lasting impact through positive cultural exchange and pioneering management practice.

External Links

Contact details

Qualifications

Qualifications

Year Qualification Awarding body
2016 PhD Falmouth University & University of the Arts London
2004 MA Geography University of Cambridge
2001 BA Geography University of Cambridge

Research Interests

Research interests and expertise

Since graduating from the University of Cambridge with an MA in Geography, Sam has specialised in researching and documenting sustainable and ethical tourism projects and events through documentary film, live broadcast and publications in over 60 countries. Sam completed a field research-based PhD on cultural tourism, travel writing and surfing in Haiti.

Sam's ongoing professional work and research has a particular emphasis on themes of equality, diversity, identity, cultural exchange, surf communities, action sports, blue health, the geographical imagination and coastscapes.

Exploring the often challenging relationships between culture and tourism across creative, sports and heritage sectors, Sam draws on expertise in physical and cultural geography, the local/global, and mindfulness - with particular reference to Cornwall, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, and showcasing innovative examples of best practice. These live case studies often celebrate the importance of emotional as well as cognitive intelligence in effective sustainable tourism management, imagination and creative endeavour.

Research Topics

  • Actor-Network-Theory
  • Blue Health
  • Coastscapes
  • Cultural Geography
  • Cultural Tourism
  • Postmodern Ethnography
  • Surf Communities
  • The Geographical Imagination
  • Travel Narratives

Research Outputs

Publications and research outputs

  • Bleakley, S. (2020). Mindful Thoughts for Surfers: Tuning in to the Tides. Lewes: Leaping Hare Press.
  • Zanella, N. (Editor Bleakley, S.) (2019). Children of the Tide: An Exploration of Surfing in Dynastic China. Milan: Grafiche Antiga.
  • Bleakley, S. (2018). Mindfulness and Surfing: Reflections for Saltwater Souls (Spanish edition). Lewes: Leaping Hare Press.
  • Bleakley, S. (2017). Riding the Wave: Essex Tyler. Tyler Gallery: Mousehole.
  • Bleakley, S. (2016). Mindfulness and Surfing: Reflections for Saltwater Souls. Lewes: Leaping Hare Press.
  • Bleakley, S. (2015). “Making Cultural Pearls out of Political Grit.” In Borne, G., and Ponting, J. (eds.). Sustainable Stoke: Transitions to Sustainability in the Surfing World. Plymouth: University of Plymouth Press, pp. 220-224.
  • Bleakley, S. (2015). The Longboard Travel Guide: A Guide to the World's Best Longboarding Waves. Newquay: Orca Publications.
  • Manetta, J. (Contributing Editor Bleakley, S.) (2014). Looking For Something To Find. Mount Hawke: Toadhall Press.
  • Bleakley, S. (2012). Surfing Tropical Beats. Penzance: Alison Hodge Publishers.
  • Bleakley, S. (2011). Surfing Tropical Beats (Chinese edition). Haikou: Hainan Publishing House.
  • Bleakley, S. (2010). Surfing Brilliant Corners. Penzance: Alison Hodge Publishers.
  • Mansfield, R. (Editor Bleakley, S.) (2009). The Surfing Tribe: A History of Surfing in Britain. Newquay: Orca Publications.

Teaching

Areas of teaching

  • Contemporary Tourism Impacts
  • Creative and Ethical Leadership
  • Creative Innovation in Experience Management
  • Crisis Management for Tourism
  • Demonstrating Sustainability
  • International Destinations
  • Marketing and Digital Media
  • Tourism Innovation

Policy engagement within Cornwall

Engagement with organisations which contribute to the development of educational, cultural or socio-economic policies in Cornwall

  • Finisterre UK
  • Surfers Against Sewage
  • Orca Publications
  • Wavelength Media
  • Tyler Gallery
  • Penwith College
  • JRS Editing
  • Spider Eye
  • Tremenheere Scultpure Gardens

Business Engagement

Intellectual property

Surfing Brilliant Corners

Business start ups

Surfing Brilliant Corners

Business engagement case studies

  • Surfing Brilliant Corners
  • The Wave Bristol
  • The World Surf League
  • The International Surfing Association
  • XTreme Video
  • TVF International
  • Leaping Hare Press
  • Quarto Knows
  • Alison Hodge Publishers
  • Soul & Surf
  • Swamis Surf Company
  • Biomimetics Health UK
  • Finisterre UK
  • Riz Boardshorts
  • Oxbow
  • Vans

Consultancy and facility services

Sustainable Surf Tourism & Events Papua New Guinea Government / Surfing Association of Papua New Guinea
Sustainable Surf Tourism & Events Taiwan Government / Taitung Tourism
Sustainable Surf Tourism & Events Chinese Government / Hainan Tourism Development Commission

Professional Engagement

Independent professional practice

Films

  • Brilliant Corners Zanzibar Episode Three: Sports Academy. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2021). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Zanzibar Episode Two: Witch Doctor. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2021). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Zanzibar Episode One: Swahili Style. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2021). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Algeria Episode Three: Trans-Saharan Highway. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Algeria Episode Two: Wolves' Wedding. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Algeria Episode One: Casbah Coast. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Senegal Episode Three: African Renaissance. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Senegal Episode Two: Surf Drums. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Senegal Episode One: Land of Teranga. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners India Chapter Three: Kovalam Skate Club. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners India Chapter Two: Old Spice. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners India Chapter One: Soul & Surf Kerala. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2020). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Papua New Guinea Chapter Three: Timber Boards. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2019). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Papua New Guinea Chapter Two: The Pink Nose Revolution. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2019). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Papua New Guinea Chapter One: Rubio Plantation. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2019). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Madagascar Chapter Three: Nomads of the Sea. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2019). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Madagascar Chapter Two: Vezo Reefs. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2019). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Madagascar Chapter One: Route du Sud. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2019). UK/USA. WSL Studios.
  • Brilliant Corners Mauritania: Sahara Sea. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2018). UK. The Wave Productions.
  • Brilliant Corners Philippines: Mona Lisa Soul. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2018). UK. The Wave Productions.
  • Brilliant Corners Ghana: Mr Brights Highlife. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2018). UK. The Wave Productions.
  • Brilliant Corners Oman: Desert Blues. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2018). UK. The Wave Productions.
  • Brilliant Corners Sierra Leone: Bureh Beach Surf Club. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2018). UK. The Wave Productions.
  • Brilliant Corners China: Exploring Hainan's Surf Culture. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2015). UK/France. XTreme Video.
  • Brilliant Corners Liberia: Beat the Drum and Dance Again. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2015). UK/France. XTreme Video.
  • Brilliant Corners Barbados: Surfer's Point. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2015). UK/France. XTreme Video.
  • Brilliant Corners Jamaica: A Celebration of Caribbean Cool. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2015). UK/France. XTreme Video.
  • Brilliant Corners Haiti: Let Freedom Ring. Directed by Sam Bleakley. (2015). UK/France. XTreme Video.

Social, community and cultural engagement

Filmmaker Brilliant Corners
Event Broadcaster World Longboard Tour Hosted by World Surf League
Event Broadcaster World Longboard Championships Hosted by The International Surfing Association
Content Writer & Researcher at The Wave Bristol
Ambassador & Content Writer at Finisterre UK
Learning Through Surfing Residency Leader at Soul & Surf in Kerala, India

Engagement with professional associations and societies

Fellow Royal Geographical Society
Fellow Tourism Society
Fellow Sustainable Surf Tourism Research Group, San Diego State University
Research Fellow The Wave, Bristol
Event Broadcaster World Surf League
Event Broadcaster International Surfing Association