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Co-created visual narratives and inclusive place branding: A socially responsible approach to residents’ participation and engagement

Rebelo, Cátia, Mehmood, Abid and Marsden, Terry 2020. Co-created visual narratives and inclusive place branding: A socially responsible approach to residents’ participation and engagement. Sustainability Science 15 (2) , pp. 423-435. 10.1007/s11625-019-00760-2

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This paper discusses the importance of co-created visual narratives in developing participatory and inclusive place branding. We refer to the need for a socially responsible approach when considering place branding policies and practices. For this purpose, we develop and empirically apply a novel framework with four interconnected phases comprising place-based contextualization, re-appreciation, re-positioning, and consolidation of residents’ perceptions, experiences and aspirations to develop and initiate inclusive place branding processes. Using participatory research and collaborative visual methods, we worked with a group of residents in Carvalhal de Vermilhas, Portugal. This work stimulated the co-development of collective agency to consider narratives, values and identities to be articulated for creating and promoting more inclusive representation of place in a (hypothetical) branding exercise. The framework application as well as its challenges and limitations, particularly in co-creation processes, were critically deliberated at all phases. Collaborative visual techniques from our analysis emerge as valuable participatory tools for researchers towards improving residents’ participation in place branding, and therefore contributing towards a more inclusive form of this practice. However, we are also aware of the perils associated with communities’ opening up their pristine heritage to touristic ventures, and hence suggest considering the importance of sustainable place-shaping in all branding decisions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 1862-4065
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 31 October 2019
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 09:12

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