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Conference Programme FULL (1)

Enhancing the consumer

Enhancing the consumer retail experience through augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Natasha Moorhouse New technologies are rapidly changing the way we live our lives. The proliferation of the internet and mobile devices have changed the way tourists and consumers search, select and purchase goods and services due to the ability to shop from anywhere at any time. However, if high-street stores are to remain sustainable, it is crucial for retailers to entice tourists and consumers back in-store through the creation of valuable experiences. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two emergent technologies that have the power to change the lives of tourists and consumers by providing innovative, memorable and personalised experiences. However, further research is needed to provide empirical evidence for retailers in support of technology adoption and strategic implementation. Interviews will be held with tourists and consumers of a tourism retailer in Manchester. The findings will be analysed by template analysis, to identify emergent constructs in the context of new technology (AR and VR) environment. The emergent constructs will be used to modify The Retail Environment framework (McGoldrick, 2002). Then, the modification will be validated through a large-scale survey. This will contribute to knowledge by creating a new typology, to understand how technology can be used to enhance tourists and consumer retail experiences. This will benefit both tourism and retail sectors, allowing organisations to differentiate from competitors, and demonstrating the benefits of investing in the development of an effective AR and VR strategy to positively change the lives of tourists and consumers. Changing Lives: Death and Affirmation in the Extreme Communities of Fight Club (1996) Rachid M’Rabty Bataille and Blanchot referred to death as not necessarily the end of life, but an annihilation of the philosophical parameters or boundaries that limit ourselves in society. 1 Similarly, an awareness of and confrontation with death (whether literal or abstract) is the constant which mediates Fight Club’s radical engagement with the contemporary world. 2 A crucial text articulating the discontent that is felt at the turn of the century, Fight Club challenges the negative effects of postmodern culture and foregrounds anxieties that resonate today. This paper demonstrates how Fight Club paints a satirical spectacle wherein previously alienated and withdrawn individuals may come together in the face of death and cultural trauma. Secondly, this paper demonstrates how an engagement with metaphysical destruction and communal extremity are validated as life-affirming/changing possibilities, and a critical tactic against contemporary neoliberal culture. Extending pertinent criticisms of contemporary cultural cynicism and nihilism, 3 this paper shows how Fight Club cuts at the problem of being alive in contemporary societies through disobedient and life-changing processes of negation and direct challenge of the system itself. Throughout, I show how Fight Club’s communities — formed in response to sociocultural anxieties — demonstrate a clear engagement with death and destruction as a channel to establish new bonds with others and a sense of agency/freedom over lives that had little sense of authentic direction previously. Consequently, this paper concludes that the novel someway validates self-destructive outsider communities: highlighting their possibility as abstract models for a rebellious society fighting against the problematic hegemony of late-capitalism and cultural postmodernism.

The role of the public libraries in the North of England in delivering lifelong learning activities Safaa Naji This ethnographic study aims to examine the potential role that public libraries in the North of England, as lifelong learning environment, can play in the development of the community. Data was collected by using interviews, observation and documentary analysis. The initial analysis of the data shows that public libraries have educational, social and economic impact in the community. Public libraries, as lifelong learning institutions, play a significant educational role by providing guidance and training in using information resources professionally as well as supporting information technology literacy. That was observed to have positive influence on developing people’s identity and building their confidence. Socially, data shows that public libraries have a central role in achieving social justice. It offers a safe, unbiased, voluntary and non-judgmental place for different groups, as the poor, ethnic minorities, and people with mental, physical and learning disabilities. Thus, public libraries are seen as a key that helps to unlock inequality and enhance the understanding of tolerance and diversity of cultures in the study context. The economic value of public library services has been found as it has an indirect role in providing a range of savings to the public exchequer in different areas as social care and health services. This research argues that closing public libraries is one of the challenges which face the community. The community would lose a foundation organisation that helps to bring people together to be ‘active citizens’ and to update their skills to be able to compete in the global economy. Peer Mentoring for secondary school students with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD) Jessica Newcombe Background: This study explores how we can ascertain the preferences of students with PMLD. To gain better understanding of their experiences enabling us to pay greater heed to their perspectives and supporting them and those working with them to change their lives for the better. Research is often done ‘to ‘rather than ‘with’ students with PMLD therefore the study investigates ways research can be done with students with PMLD. Purpose: The purpose of the study is to explore the uses of peer mentoring and how it can be used with students with PMLD. By ascertaining preferences and experiences of students with PMLD it investigates their views of the peer mentoring process. This helps identify barriers and discover what helps from the point of view of the students. This provides information of how best to support the youngsters involved from their perspective. Research Methods: Using participatory methods five students with PMLD and nine peer mentors were co-researchers. They and all of the participants collected data about the peer mentoring process. Using the ‘mosaic approach’ (Clark and Moss 2011) the data was gathered then was pieced together through dialogue, reflection and interpretation from all participants. Findings: The study provides opinions and experiences of all the participants involved in the peer mentoring process especially the students with PMLD. It explores how research can be done ‘with’ rather than to students with PMLD to gain an insight into their perspective to promote change for better lives.

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