Dr Fabian Frenzel


Reader in Mobility and Organisations

Oxford Brookes Business School


I am part of the leadership team in the Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management subject group, responsible for team line management and professional development. 

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught

  • Hospitality and Tourism Synthesis

I have teaching experience across undergraduate, postgraduate, MBA and PhD programmes with a focus on political economy, organizational sociology, and qualitative research  methods, as well as enterprise studies, tourism and events.

In 2017 I developed a module on the  Political Economy of Brexit and run this module for a number of years.


I am supervision a number of PhD students and I am always interested to hear from prospective students, particular in the areas of:

  • Critically study mobilities and tourism
  • Political mobilities (i.e. activist travel), volunteer tourism, slum tourism and poverty as a tourist attraction
  • Protest camps, both in contemporary and historical perspective
  • The role of leisure in the formation of political identities and the politics of compassion and the social question


My research interests converge at the intersections of mobility, organisation and politics. In this context I consider the role of transnational mobilities, from activists to tourists, in the formation of a global social question with a focus on the way slums are becoming destinations of a range of better-off travellers, in solidarity and volunteer travel and in slum tourism. 

In a recent project, Lockdown Stories, I have collaborated with community tourism providers and local heritage projects in favelas in Rio de Janeiro to respond to a significant drop in numbers of tourists visiting their projects since Covid-19. Lockdown Stories has resulted in a virtual tourism platform, helping to move some of their tourism provision online. The project was funded by Research England Global Challenges Research Fund.

The project continues with my new AHRC Research Network Grant with a focus of Local Heritage and Sustainability: promote reflection and sharing within and across communities with partners in Brazil, Mozambique and Malaysia.

In 2012 I received a Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the EU for a two-year research project on slum tourism, conducted at the University of Potsdam, Germany. Prior to this I won an early career grant from the University of the West of England to study tourism in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas and to initiate the foundation of a slum tourism research network. I co-organised the first conference in this field of research in December 2010 at UWE. This led to the publication of a special issue on slum tourism in the journal tourism geographies and a book I edited on the same topic. In May 2014 I hosted the second slum tourism network conference in Potsdam and I am co-editor of two special issues emerging from the conference publications.

In my second empirical research field I study the ways in which social movements organise themselves in response to place and space with a particular interest in the organisational form of the protest camp. Since 2018 I have benefitted from various funds for research on the role of protest camps at the G-20 in Hamburg, which has led to a number of publications. I collaborated with the research network ‘Mapping G20’ which published a widely shared report on the G20 events.

I am currently writing a new edition of my jointly authored book on protest camps as an organisational form (with Zed books) in collaboration with Anna Feigenbaum (Bournemouth University) and Patrick McCurdy (Ottawa University). I have taken part in the foundation of the protest camp research network. In the framework of the network, I have recently co-edited the book ‘Protest Camps in International Perspective’ (Policy Press). I am also one of the founders of the protest camp research collective.

Theoretically my work converges around the concept of valorisation, and in particular diverse voluntary practices that contribute to the valorisation of places and ideas. Bridging my empirical interests, the concept of valorisation also informs my research of urban regeneration, with a focus on work in Johannesburg, Rio de Janeiro and Bristol, UK.

Research impact

Submitted to the REF 2021 as an impact case study, my work investigated whether and how tourists’ curiosity for impoverished neighbourhoods, communities and slums can help to mitigate against the bad reputation or ‘territorial stigma’ from which slums often suffer, and contribute towards empowering residents. The research has provided a better understanding of the agency of tourism. These findings have underpinned training of small scale tourism operators, such as community groups, neighbourhood associations and associated tour guides from the community. Research also influenced development of novel touristic offerings, products and raised awareness of tourism’s potential to mitigate poverty among wider user groups such as NGOs working in slums and professional tour operators from outside slum areas. Recently Dr Frenzel has supported community favela tourism providers to address some of the challenges following the reduction of tourism numbers because of Covid-19. In the project 'Lockdown Stories’, several of Rio’s community tourism operators now offer forms of Virtual Tourism. 


  • Lockdown Stories/ Local Heritage and Sustainability


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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • British Academy of Management, American Association of Geographers


Recent invited presentations 

  • 14.06.2021 Building an Anarchist City: what can Urban Planners learn from Protest Camps. Presentation at Planning Theory Lecture Series, Technical University Berlin
  • 20.05.2021 Crisis as Attraction: Storytelling and Community Resilience in Rio’s Favelas. Presentation at ‘Short Trips’ Lecture Series of the New Urban Tourism Network
  • 26.11.2020 Lockdown Stories: Grassroots Media Making in Rio’s Favelas Presentation at University of Bournemouth, UK
  • 08.10. 2019 Parliament vs the People: Rightwing Populism in the UK
  • Luxemburg Foundation, Berlin 


I have worked closely with a number of organizations, in particular in my recent Lockdown Stories project, providing advice and training.