(Or ‘Not really about Pokémon Go’)
News of the unprecedented popularity of new phone game ‘Pokémon Go’ has been difficult to avoid over the last few weeks. If by some feat anyone has managed to escape hearing about it they would have been rather baffled by the sight of hundreds of people hanging around in the churchyard of Birmingham Cathedral over the weekend, looking at their phones but also chatting with complete strangers about what they had caught and their tips for taking over gyms.
I am currently in the process of obtaining ethical approval for my research on how tourists interact with a World Heritage Site. The fieldwork is due to take place during the summer season of 2017. The suddenness by which Pokemon Go has emerged as a way in which people are interacting with public spaces is fascinating, but also highlights the capriciousness of popular culture when working within the seasonal and highly structured timeframes of a university. In a study of tourist behaviour in my case study site in August 2016 Pokemon hunting would undoubtedly need to be mentioned. In 2017 it is anyone’s guess!