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Personal profile


Dr Anahita Malek joined Coventry University as a Lecturer since August 2017. Previously she was a visiting lecturer in the field of Tourism, Event and Hospitality at University of Wolverhampton. She is an integrated member of the research unit on Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policy (GOVCOPP) of University of Aveiro. She received her MA and Ph.D in the field of Tourism and Events management from University Science Malaysia and eventually earned her spot as a Postdoctoral Researcher under Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology’s research initiatives at the University of Aveiro where she has developed an innovative research program in the area of Evaluation of Tourism Policies and their Impact on the Population. Over the course of her career, she has received several scholarships and grant awards including Outstanding Feedback Award for teaching excellence (Wolverhampton University), Prestigious Postdoctoral Research Fund (University of Aveiro), Doctoral Fellowship and a Postgraduate Research Grant (University Science Malaysia) and an international award in 2013 for her “best project ideas” concerning gender equality in tourism community development. She has authored many scientific articles, organised several international conferences and workshops and has been invited as a speaker in many scientific events. Her research specialisation focuses on community participation in tourism development; social innovation, governance and community building; Consumer behaviour in Event industry, Gender Issues in the field of tourism, etc.

PhD Project

My doctoral dissertation, "International Conference Attendees' Participation Behaviour", examines factors that could contribute to conference attendees’ behaviour in convention industry. The data derived from this study is of great help to destination marketers and conference organisers in improving their conferences and satisfying more attendees in future. During this time, I have also led a two years research grant focused on “Attendees Behaviour in Meetings & Conventions.

Research Interests

Postdoctoral Research

As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, I worked on a 2 years funded research project focusing on developing innovative research programs in the area of Evaluation of Tourism Policies and their Impact on the Population where I have analysed European Capital of Culture initiative of Guimarães, one-year multitude of events in performance, music, visual arts, design and architecture from different perspectives (e.g. governance structure, communication strategies, implementation, citizen participation, etc..). Additionally, during my postdoctoral fellowship I was overseeing and guiding the implementation and finalisation of the project “Gender in Tourism and Employment” framework and indicators. My work in this area resulted in a number of academic publications and the development of two funding proposals in the area of Gender Equality and the role it plays in the boost of innovative forms of economic growth.

Current Research Area

My primary research interest is in the area of Tourism, Local Governance and Community Participation. In particular I am interested in finding out strategies for scaling social innovation for greater impact in event and tourism industry as well as in the process of urban regeneration. Community Development (CD) is based on the value and effectiveness of building people’s capacity to take an active part in the process of development of their communities. This definition provides two core concepts: 1) The task of challenging inequality, as it has been clearly identified as one of the causes blocking development over the last two decades, and 2) The importance of empowerment and participation (of women and disadvantaged groups) at all levels of development, planning and decision/policy making. At the same time, studies on social practices and policies for CD suggest that social innovation can bring immediate solutions to the pressing inequality issues by empowering citizen (as one of the most effective way of introducing change) to gain agency and resources to make decisions and build confidence. The contemporary promise of increasing citizen participation in decision-making through social innovation is strongly connected to new forms of public participation and social relations such as, the widespread use of social media, peer collaboration, knowledge sharing and civic hacking platforms as triggering social innovation. The Systemic Change Approach of social innovation focuses on public policy processes and governance, and on relations between actors and stakeholders that have to be based on empowering/learning and networking in order to achieve sustainable changes toward gender equality. Ultimately, this research area will contribute to the Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, in view of the increasing demands coming from policymakers and practitioners for the emerging possibilities for new research avenues on social innovation. Therefore, social innovation has considered a crucial field of research for social scientists and humanists and also one of five key themes identified in the European Union’s Europe 2020 strategy.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production


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