Atomic Tourism: A Case Study of Place Identity

  • Start


  • price

    600 eur

  • Credit

    6 ECTS

  • time

    2 weeks

  • Language



Field of study Sociology, political sciences, arts, creative industries, educational sciences, anthropology, history, Baltic Studies, Post-soviet studies
Duration 3 weeks
Application deadline June 2, 2019
Dates July 15 – August 2 2019
Credits 6 ETCS
Contact person Agnė Poderytė
Maximum number of students 20
Target Group BA and MA students of sociology, political sciences, education anthropology, communication studies, arts, cultural studies, creative industry studies, tourism management
Short description It is a unique summer programme, allowing its students to see from up close and actively participate in the process of one city redefining its place identity. The three-week course will combine lectures by experts in the fields of intercultural education, creative industries, cultural identity, Soviet and Post-Soviet identity, case study and field projects carried out in collaboration with the local community. Not only the students will learn new things and skills, but make an actual contribution developing a site-specific and inclusive project!

Visaginas is a unique phenomenon in the context of Lithuania, in terms of its history, ethnic composition and challenges to its identity. It is also located in the picturesque part of Lithuania, our “lake district”, and surrounded by lush forests and lakes.

Just a bit of the background: Visaginas is a satellite town of Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. This monoindustrial town was built in the 70s, constructing one of the most powerful nuclear power plants in the world at that time.

Its construction was carried out by people that arrived here from all over the Soviet Union, including Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and other Soviet states. As a result, Lithuanians comprise only ~18% of inhabitants, with the majority of residents being of Russian nationality (over 50 %).

The town has been facing a challenge of redefining its identity after decision was made to close the Nuclear Power Plant (the first reactor block was closed in 2004, the second one – in 2009).

With the town trying to turn from monoindustrial economy to a cultural tourism destination, it has to face many new and already existing challenges: proper representation of multi-ethnic cultural identities, the role of commodification and self-exoticizing, power relations, community engagement. Dominant official and local discourses, shaping politics of identity and memory in Lithuania, because as a post-soviet country, it tends to eliminate those parts of memory and identity which refer to the Soviet past. These dominant discourses create obstacles performing authentic multi-ethnic identities in Visaginas, while also creating place identity to develop socialist heritage tourism.

Aim To deepen the knowledge of post-soviet identity and nuclear tourism while observing and participating in interactive educational/cultural activities in Visaginas carried out in collaboration with the local community combining learning with rich intercultural experience.
Learning outcomes By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Comprehend the developmental processes of Visaginas and Ignalina Nuclear power plant (INPP) from both lectures and field activities;
  • Apply their newly gained knowledge practically in the final project;
  • Consolidate knowledge gained during lectures in field trips and cultural activities in the authentic setting in Visaginas.
  • Contribute to the development of Nuclear tourism in Visaginas, while experiencing art, architecture, multiethnicity in Visaginas.
Programme Structure
  • Memory and identity in the Soviet past;
  • Transforming city identity: from the Soviet industrial (nuclear) center to the European multicultural city
  • Nuclear media discourses after the closure of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant;
  • Authenticity and Performance of Cultural Identities in Tourism;
  • Educational Aspects of Nuclear Tourism: Sites, Objects and Museums;
  • Commodification of cultural identities and/or empowerment of local communities
  • Case study and field projects carried out in collaboration with the local community

FROM MAY 1st: 650

(includes tuition, teaching material, social programme, trips, excursions, refreshments provided during the cultural evening and opening/closing ceremonies).