About Dr Valeria Lo Iacono (Symonds)

Valeria of Dance heritage
Valeria Lo Iacono dancing in Wales, UK


Journal articles

  • Loiacono, V. and Fallon, J. M. (2018) ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage Beyond Borders: Egyptian Bellydance (Raqs Sharqi) as a Form of Transcultural Heritage’, Journal of Intercultural Studies, 39(3), pp. 286–304. doi: 10.1080/07256868.2018.1463842.
  • Lo Iacono, Valeria, and David H. K. Brown. 2016. “Beyond Binarism: Exploring a Model of Living Cultural Heritage for Dance.” The Journal of the Society for Dance Research 34(1):84-105. doi: 10.3366/drs.2016.0147.
    This article critically examines the UNESCO 2003 definition of Intangible Cultural Heritage, by questioning the feasibility of separating tangible from intangible forms of heritage. The argument is underpinned by sociological theories of embodiment. Dance, as a form of cultural heritage, is used in the article to illustrate the alternative model of living heritage that is presented.
  • Lo Iacono Valeria, Paul Symonds, and David H. K. Brown (2016). Skype as a Tool for Qualitative Research Interviews. Sociological Research Online, 21|2: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/21/2/12.html
    This paper weighs advantages against limitations of using Skype for qualitative research interviews. Advantages include being able to reach a more varied and international sample, in a financially affordable and relatively easy way. Limitations but also new opportunities exist in the areas of rapport, non-verbal cues and ethics. The paper is based on the researchers’ personal experience and on feedback from participants interviewed via Skype.
  • Paul Symonds, David H. K. Brown, and Lo Iacono Valeria. 2017. “Exploring an Absent Presence:  Wayfinding as an Embodied Sociocultural Experience”. Sociological Research Online, 22 (1), 5: http://www.socresonline.org.uk/22/1/5.html

Non-academic Press

Conference Papers

  • Wayfinding on Cruise Ships: A Complex Activity in Tourism Practice. –  Royal Geographical Society-IBG Annual International Conference, London, 1st September 2017.
  • Is VoIP a Feasible Tool for Dance Research? Use of Skype for Qualitative Interviews on Dance as Transcultural Heritage. – DanceHE Symposium, University of Bedfordshire, Bedford, 7th April 2016.
  • Can video sharing sites be valid platforms to archive, share and re-live dance as heritage? The case of Egyptian raqs sharqi. – Digital Echoes, Coventry University, Coventry, 4th March 2016.
  • Can online videos be powerful tools to curate dance as a form of cultural heritage? The case of Egyptian raqs sharqi. – Presented at PopMoves, University of Roehampton, London, 24th October 2015.
  • How do we protect living cultural heritage? – Presented at Breaking Boundaries, Cardiff University, Cardiff, 23rd April 2015.


  • Best Student Poster at Cardiff Metropolitan University Symposium, 5th May 2016.
  • Best Presentation Prize at Cardiff University Breaking Boundaries conference, 23rd April 2015.

Teaching and Research Experience

  • Owner of Symonds Training, offering training course materials including on equality and diversity and employee training.
  • January 2019 – April 2019: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, UK, Department of Education. The research project was a systematic literature review on high school religious education teachers’ epistemologies.
  • February 2017 – July 2018: Teaching Fellow at the University of Bath, UK, teaching sociology of tourism, leisure, and sport, and supervising students’ dissertations.
  • ­Visiting Lecturer for the ‘Sporting Bodies and Social Identities’ master course in Cardiff Metropolitan University, on the topics of sociology, heritage, and identity and qualitative research methods.
  • Guest lecturer in the School of Dance at Cardiff Metropolitan University, in the module of Analytical and Contextual Studies on the topic of Hybridism and Authenticity in Dance.
  • Delivered lectures at Cardiff Metropolitan University in qualitative research methods, including using online videos to curate and analyze dance as a form of cultural heritage and qualitative interviews using Skype.
  • Hourly paid lecturer in Cardiff Metropolitan University, teaching research methods and sociological research at undergraduate and master level.
  • Lecturer of Italian language and culture at Hanguk University of Foreign Studies, (Seoul, South Korea).
  • Teaching Egyptian style belly dance classes in Cardiff, UK, for many years. I have taught groups of up to 30 people, one to one classes, workshops, and hen parties groups.


Academic Qualifications

  • Ph.D in Dance and Cultural Heritage at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, Wales, UK.
  • Master in Tourism Management and Economics from Ca’ Foscari University in Venice (Italy).
  • First class honours degree in Preservation of Cultural Heritage from Universita’ degli Studi della Tuscia (Viterbo, Italy).

Professional Certifications

  • Level 2 – Certificate in Teaching Exercise to Music from Fitness Wales.
  • Level 2- Introductory Certificate in Team Leading from Training Services Wales LTD.

Professional Memberships

Heritage, Dance and Qualitative Researcher

  • Experienced UX customer experience and human factors researcher specialising in qualitative research.
  • Experienced in Digital Humanities (providing training, teaching and as a conference speaker).

My Google Scholar Profile is here.

I work with a team of researchers offering heritage, dance and qualitative research services. Learn more here!