Let’s talk about you: what is your background, what do you teach, and what are your research interests?.
My name is Annalisa Colombino and I was born in Turin. At Ca' Foscari I teach economic geography, tourism geography and economic-political geography. At the beginning of my career I dealt with local marketing and urban regeneration. Subsequently I developed an interest that crosses the geography of food and animal geography, and I have dealt with branding, bio-capitalism, bio-economies and commodification and consumption of nature. In my empirical research I adopt qualitative methods, mainly ethnographic, including interviews and visual methods, and analytical strategies such as discourse analysis.
Tell us about your academic path.
I graduated in Oriental Languages and Literature (Japanese) at Ca' Foscari and then I obtained a Ph.D. in human geography at the Open University, Milton Keynes, in the United Kingdom. I was an International Fellow in Urban Studies at the Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, USA, where I studied the themes of urban regeneration and marketing of the territory 'from below'. Before coming to Ca' Foscari, I worked for over eight years in the Department of Geography at the University of Graz, in Austria. In 2018 I obtained the qualification as associate professor in geography.
What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
In addition to a couple of articles published in prestigious magazines, managing to return to Italy after many years spent abroad.
Which research topic have you always wanted to investigate that you've never gotten around to doing?
Perhaps not always but, sooner or later, I would also like to work on geographies related to the entertainment and leisure industry such as circus companies and those related to virtual reality, including their consumers. I would also like to continue to deal with 'different economies' and 'marginal' economies, which I started dealing with by dealing with transhumance. These are, for example, informal economies and/or those activities that mainstream economic geography has considered little, such as volunteering and caring for others (humans, animals and the environment), obtaining food through hunting, fishing and gardening, and so on.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
I can advise people who want to be researchers to learn at least English very well, find a scholarship to do a doctorate in a possibly prestigious centre and have supervisors who follow them by dedicating time to them. I believe gaining experience abroad is essential to expand one's knowledge and skills, and also one's professional networks. Finally, consider that, holding a doctorate, you can still also work outside academe.