Student profile: Lucia Danzi
Embarking on a PhD in Covid-19 lockdown
Ciao! My name is Lucia and I’m from Verona, Italy.
It’s the beginning of spring here, and people usually go out to enjoy the nice weather but these days it’s strangely quiet, like in many places around the world. I’m lucky enough to live in a house with a big garden so there’s a lot of space for all of us, and that’s good because there’s nine people in my “bubble”!
I live with my grandparents and siblings and we take care of each other, especially during these challenging times. Of course, it’s not always easy, but we are quite united so it helps a lot. I believe it’s now more important than ever to be kind to each other and remember we are not alone in this. I have my “home office” from where I work and I’ve set myself a good routine that includes taking breaks in the garden, exercise in the evening and ticking off my books list.
At the end of this month I should have been on my way to New Zealand to start my PhD on tourism, emergency management and rural disaster resilience, within the Rural research programme. But, as for many of us, the pandemic has changed my plans and I’m starting remotely instead, while waiting for the new exciting beginning! The aim of the PhD is to develop an integrated approach that includes tourism stakeholders and emergency managers, is based on collaboration and communication as resilience tools, can be adopted by small-sized tourism businesses and has been tested for New Zealand rural communities. The project will apply mixed methods, among which literature reviews, surveys, qualitative interviews, vulnerability assessments, workshops and focus groups. I’ll do the project development and the literature review from home, keeping in contact with my supervisors through regular virtual meetings.
With a background in languages and tourism economics and management, I am particularly interested in how tourism can be developed in a sustainable way, acting as a tool to meet societal and environmental challenges. I have spent the last year working as a postgraduate scholar with the Centre for Advanced Studies in Tourism (CAST) in Rimini, Italy, on a project for the regeneration of the Regional Park of Corno alle Scale in the Italian Appennines. I was interviewing tourists and talking to stakeholders to understand their awareness of climate change impacts as well as their vision on possible alternatives for tourism development in the park.
As I have learned when completing my master’s thesis on climate change impacts and adaptation in tourism, well-developed adaptation and risk reduction policies are key for reaching sustainability. When I was looking for a PhD to develop my research skills, I knew I wanted to explore the disaster risk and resilience topic more, and find something that could link my passion for nature and for working closely with stakeholders. Also, I wanted to work on something that could have practical applications and be useful for society. This led me to the doctoral research project scoped by Resilience to Nature’s Challenges which I hope will help to understand how the tourism sector and emergency management can work more effectively in New Zealand.