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Chiara Massacesi


Chiara Massacesi
Chiara Massacesi

I am a passionate PhD researcher on food heritage tourism, plus an enthusiastic teaching fellow for students at the University of Otago.

My research interests come from the combination of five years of working experience both in NGOs than in industry as Sustainable Destination Development Tourism Project Manager together with my educational background in International Relations (Political Science).

When not working, I can be found running along trails, swimming, mountain-biking, ski-touring, practicing yoga or making (and eating!!!) bread, pasta&pizza!

Doctoral Research Abstract

My doctoral research aims to contribute to the discussion of food-heritage based networks within food heritage tourism. Specifically, the purpose is to illustrate the dynamics between the stakeholders involved in food production and tourism promotion around the role of local food and to examine how these shape the destination regarding cultural heritage, agriculture and tourism.

The fieldwork around mountain cheese heritage was conducted in Primiero and Vanoi Valleys of the Italian Dolomites with an ethnographic approach. It involved twelve months of field immersion, followed by nine months of a contract with the cheese manufacturer of the area.

Methods employed within the research include ethnographic notes, observations, formal and informal conversations and focus groups carried out with a participatory approach. To frame the data actor network theory is employed to examine the overlapping and contrasting positions of five groups of 25 actors involved in the study.


Postgraduate Professional Training Programme 2018 University of Otago, Commerce Division

Postgraduate Course on Cultural Tourism, University of Genova (2012)

Master’s Degree in Political Science and International Relations, 110/110 CUM LAUDE, equivalent of First class honours, University of Roma Tre (2007) - Thesis on the Sociology of Peace Processes entitled “Game as a tool in peace education”

Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, 110/110, equivalent of First class honours, University of Roma Tre (2004) -- Thesis on Development Economics entitled “Does corruption hamper national growth? The Angolan case”

Scholarships and Awards

Graduate Seminar Series Best Presentation Award, Department of Tourism, University of Otago (2018)

AIEST PhD Award for the best academic contribution of the PhD candidates taking part to the conference (2018)

Travel Award, New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women - Otago Branch (2018)

Conference Award, Regional Student Association – RSA (2016)

Doctoral Scholarship, University of Otago (2014)

Primary research interests

Food Heritage Tourism: Heritage Cuisine, traditional/indigenous knowledge in food production and transformation, intangible cultural heritage, foodscapes, agricultural practices for food production and tourism practices for food promotion

Community participation in tourism: Participatory approaches, community mapping

Other research interests: Tourism and Land Conflicts, Food and community lands, Animals wellbeing in tourism

Teaching experience

Teaching Fellow, Tourism Department, University of Otago, 2019-current

TOUR 219 - Destination Management, CURRENT

Tutor, Tourism Department, University of Otago, 2014- urrent

  • TOUR 214 - Introduction to Wine Business, Summer School Tutor, Jan - March 2019
  • TOUR 214 - Introduction to Wine Business Summer School Tutor, Jan - March 2018
  • TOUR 101 - Introduction to Tourism July 2017 - Nov 2017
  • TOUR 219 - Destination Management, Fieldtrip Support Staff, April 2014

Tutor, Disability Information and Support Services, University of Otago, current

One-on-one subject tutoring for student of TOUR 214

Guest Lecturer, Tourism Department, University of Otago, 2012–2018

  • CODeL - Collaborative On-Demand Learning Workshop, Guest Lecturer on “Field experiences on observation and note taking: Practical insights and hands-on exercise” addressed to PhD Students (2018)
  • TOUR 301 - Cultural Heritage “heritage interpretation”, 14 Aug 2018 and 22 Aug 2017
  • TOUR 423 - “PhD research methodology and positioning”, Speaker on - Advanced Tourism Concepts, 15 May 2018 and 11 May 2015
  • TOUR 305 - Product Development, “Community involvement in cultural tourism products and their development”, 10 Oct 2017

Guest Lecturer, different Italian Universities, 2012-2013

  • “Writing a guidebook on sustainable travel itineraries” for the Master course “Communicating Sustainable Tourism”, University of Bicocca, Milan, April 2013
  • “A case study of Sustainable Tourism: Valore Natura”, for Masters course in “Management and Tourist Enterprises”, European University of Rome, Jan 2013
  • “Agricultural Practices for Sustainable Tourism” for the undergraduate course of “Geography of Tourism”, University of Sapienza, Rome, March 2012

Research activities

- Research Assistant - SSHRC Grant & Canadian Mountain Network, CURRENT
Conducting literature search and retrieval with use of Endnote/Word/INNZ and other library databases


Massacesi Chiara (2018), “Food heritagisation for tourism development. Food of belonging in the Italian Dolomites”, Tomorrow's Food Travel (TFT), Gothenburg (Sweden)
Massacesi Chiara (2018), “Food heritagisation for tourism development. Food of belonging in the Italian Dolomites”, AIEST2018, Treviso (Italy)
Massacesi Chiara (2016), “The milky way of the alpine heritage of malga. Food, culture, identity and tourism in the Dolomites”, PECSRL 2016, Innsbruck and Seefeld (Austria)
Massacesi Chiara (2016), “Challenges of stakeholders collaboration. Negotiating local food visions and identities in the Dolomites”, International Conference on Tourism (ICOT2016), Naples (Italy)
Massacesi Chiara (2016), “Multilevel governance of agri-cultural landscapes in the Dolomites”, Regional Student Association and Center of Advanced Tourism Study of Bologna University, Rimini (Italy)
Massacesi Chiara (2015), “Actor-network theory approach for malga tourism in the Dolomites”, Critical Tourism Studies (CTS2015), Opatija (Croatia)

Professional memberships

  • New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women (Otago Branch) (2014-)