NHTV is seeking applications for their “World Leisure Center of Excellence Visiting Scholars Program”. Visiting Scholars are an integral component of the World Leisure Center of Excellence Breda, the Netherlands.
NHTV Breda is a public University of Applied Sciences situated in the Netherlands with a strong international focus. The institute caters for more than 7,000 students of whom 12% are from abroad representing over 60 countries. NHTV was founded in 1966 as an institute offering management programs in tourism and leisure and in this field (including hospitality) it is currently the largest and leading educational institution in the world.
Today NHTV offers professional and academic bachelor’s and master’s programs. With a focus on the development of academic knowledge and the promotion of sound professional practice, the specialist disciplines of NHTV are: Leisure; Tourism; Hospitality & Facility; Digital Entertainment; Urban Development, Logistics & Mobility.
It is precisely because these domains are interrelated and interwoven that an inspiring climate is created to foster knowledge development and sharing (Visit the University’s website at www.nhtv.nl.)
NHTV Academy for Leisure
NHTV has arranged its education activities in five academies. The World Leisure Center of Excellence is part of the Academy for Leisure. This Academy within NHTV has a focus purely on leisure and imagineering programs and was created 25 years ago as a separate domain of studies next to the related field of tourism studies. The student body is made up of 1,777 students and there are about 100 lecturers and administrative staff. A primary focus of the World Leisure Centre of Excellence is delivery of the Master Leisure Studies.
Master Leisure Studies (MSc)
The Master Leisure Studies started as a full-time master’s program at the School of Social and Behavioural Sciences of Tilburg University in 1984. Since then 1,018 students have graduated. As from 2004, the Leisure Studies program has been delivered in English, which enables students from all over the world to attend it. The Master in Leisure Studies is the only MSc program in Leisure Studies in the Netherlands and is part of NHTV Academy for Leisure. From 2014 onwards the program has been delivered by NHTV in cooperation with Tilburg University.
The MSc Leisure Studies has always adopted an integrated (supply-demand; actor-structure) and multidisciplinary (economics, sociology, psychology, management, marketing) approach to the composite field of leisure. This approach has been strengthened through the years as the effects of processes of globalization, economic restructuring and the growth of the network society have changed the meaning of leisure. More than ever, leisure has become of importance as a domain of identity formation, of socio-cultural involvement, of creativity and of ‘organizing enthusiasm’. The master’s degree in Leisure Studies consists out of two main phases; Masterclasses and Master’s Thesis.
Phase I – Master classes related to Leisure in a Network Society
All five master classes in this initial phase will have a dynamic set-up in the sense that they are positioned within the context of Leisure in a Network Society. The master classes centre around the three main current research programmes in Leisure: Storytelling, Imagineering, and Placemaking.
Leisure, Creativity and Space
This master class discusses insights into the processes of globalisation, mediafication and commercialisation and their impact on the changing role of leisure in the design of public and private places and spaces.
Understanding Leisure Attractions and Events
Recent insights and research in the field of change management, innovation, networks, co-creation, attractions, theme parks, and ‘eventful cities’ are the key ingredients of this master class.
Imagineering as Strategic Design in Leisure Organisations
Central themes of this master class include strategic management, value creation, and strategic design. Students are introduced to the theoretical foundations of Imagineering and their application in the creative industries.
As marketing is a key instrument in the leisure industry, the masterclass in Experience Marketing will immerse students into the field of marketing and market research, zeroing in on the leisure industry and the role of experiences. Data analysis of consumer experiences, is one of the topics addressed in this course.
Analysing Leisure Interactions
Students are introduced to the field of practice theories, interaction rituals, lifestyles, and decision making in practices. Students work in groups to study authenticity, creativity, or physical activity.
Phase II – Master’s Thesis
To ensure a smooth progression from the course and content phase (phase I) to the thesis phase (phase II), students will first attend the Seminar Leisure Studies. They will be placed into theme-based seminar groups, within which they write their individual thesis proposals. Their work culminates in a research thesis on a theme according to individual preference.
The master classes centre around the three main current research programmes in Leisure:
Research line 1 – storytelling / leisure experience & behaviour
Programme coordinator: Moniek Hover
The rationale for this programme line and the projects within is that, specifically and traditionally in leisure, the concept of ‘experience’ plays a crucial role. Within the context of the leisure industry the understanding of the nature of ‘experience’ has long since shifted from mere ‘fun and ‘entertainment’ to ‘meaning’. Actors in the leisure industry (supply and demand/response) seem to aim for meaningful experiences to take place. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the concept of ‘meaningful experience’ in the leisure context is needed. How can experience be defined in terms of Erlebnis (e.g. immediate, emotional, sensory aspects of the experience) and Erfahrung (e.g. reflective, cognitive, memorable, meaningful aspects of the experience). How can Erlebnis and Erfahrung be defined in terms of phases and (mutual) influences?
We seek to gain understanding in how meaningful experiences are generated and sustained. How do phenomena/ instruments/ devices (such as storytelling, design) play a role in the process? What is the role of storytelling/design in the creation of experiences? What is the role of storytelling in the framing of experiences, i.e. how can experiences be understood in terms of narratives?
What is the outcome/ what are the impacts of ‘meaningful experiences’ in terms of attitude and behaviour (such as loyalty) on an individual and/or social level. What are the impacts on a societal level?
Research line 2 – Placemaking and Events
Programme coordinator: Greg Richards
Leisure is becoming an important tool in placemaking, as leisure activities have a key role in creating the atmosphere and ambiance of places. This research line examines the relationship between leisure practices and the events, spaces and places associated with them, analysing how practices affect these contexts, and how the context shapes practice. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between investment (economic, social, cultural and relational capital) and the different outcomes and effects that are expected to be generated through the development of specific practices in different contexts (for example, economic growth, social cohesion, emotional energy, creative output, place identification, etc.).
Events have become an increasingly important social, cultural and economic phenomenon in recent decades as places have sought to develop ‘eventfulness’ to create a range of material and symbolic benefits. Events in themselves have become creative spaces which provide opportunities for the co-creation of culture, sport and tourism. The increasing integration of different sectors of leisure also means that leisure activities are becoming increasingly integrated, requiring the development of multi-functional spaces for production and consumption. This research line aims to analyse the social, cultural and economic implications of this rapidly developing area.
Research line 3 – Imagineering: organisational and business design
Programme coordinator: Diane Nijs
Imagineering and business design are central strategic competencies in today’s connected, innovative society. This research line examines how management institutions (especially institutions in Leisure Management) can develop and train these design competencies as to handle more effectively the growing amount of complex issues in this society with its participative, emergent and bottom-up logic. Particular attention is paid to the issue of unlocking organizational innovation and transforming existing governmental institutions (such as cities) and organizations by tapping into the power of mass imagination, the power of values and meaning and the power of collective creativity.
In a changing world, design is becoming an increasingly important competency that manifests itself in all kind of applications such as experience design, service design, social design, business design and design for social innovation, business innovation and systemic innovation. Besides of the conventional solution oriented approach of design, growing complexity brings with it an orientation on design for evolution, design for emergence (which we call Imagineering at NHTV).
This research line aims to develop the specific know-how for developing and training these design competencies in a leisure management institute with a broad perspective on participation in general in today’s societal logic.
Every year NHTV welcomes many international students and researchers. Please contact NHTV International Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn what the possibilities are if you are interested in visiting NHTV as a student or as a researcher.