School for Tourists was a project by Emma Smith, developed from her residency with us. Emma looked at new approaches to how we might make a better form of tourism, a subject of high significance in the Lake District - both economically and socially.
Emma proposed a new kind of tourism, not based on sightseeing nor using the landscape as an adventure playground. The School for Tourists sought to promote forms of tourism that contribute and forge better relationships between visitors and visited, a way to improve the conditions of those who travel and those who host.
In simple terms the school aimed to make better tourists.
The project took place in and around Grizedale Arts’ own village of Coniston - the, home of John Ruskin the Victorian artist, social reformer, critic and father of radical environmentalism.
Emma ran a course based in and around the Coniston Institute, a historic building created by Ruskin in the 19th century for education, the arts and social cohesion. The course was available as a complete six night package with accommodation provided in villagers’ homes or as a menu of one day events, and involved walks, lectures, practical workshops, volunteer work alongside locals, discussions, music and dancing and home-made food.
The project has since been developed internationally by Emma.