Tourists, Vandals and Pilgrims: A Study of Participant Responses to the Gromit Unleashed Public Art Trail in Bristol, 2013

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The emergence of public art trails in contemporary urban landscapes has, over the last decade, raised questions about new forms of cosmopolitan cultural competence (Császi and Gluck, 2009: 3), or ‘pop cosmopolitanism’ (Jenkins, 2004: 117). Between July and September 2013 the Gromit Unleashed art trail, and subsequent Greatest Dog Show on Earth exhibition, drew thousands of visitors to the city of Bristol, UK. Fans of Aardman Animations, the Bristol-based creators of the Wallace & Gromit films, joined an unprecedented number of local residents in their search for, and enjoyment of, 80 Gromit sculptures. Gromit Unleashed followed in the footsteps of Wow! Gorillas (Bristol, 2011) and other themed sculpture trails staged in large cities during their tourist seasons. The first public art trail of this kind, CowParade (Zurich, 1998) has since inspired numerous similar trails in cities across the world, often reflecting the cultural character or history of each place; these have included Buddy Bears (Berlin, 2001), Herd About Buffalo (Buffalo, NY, 2005) and SuperDragons (Newport, South Wales, 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia, Margins and Popular Culture
EditorsHeather Savigny, Einar Thorsen, Jenny Alexander, Dan Jackson
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 978-1-137-51281-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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