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Manuela Milica Graf


Manuela Graf has extensive experience in heritage management, corporate communications, journalism and consulting.

She graduated from the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philology (Master's Degree in Serbian and South Slavic languages and literature), and from the Singidunum University in Belgrade (MSc in Business Systems in Tourism and Hospitality, UNWTO Certified Program).

All of her previous and current research and projects are multidisciplinary and link cultural and corporate heritage, branding and marketing, history, tourism, creative industries and sustainable developmentShe is especially interested in strategic branding through heritage and storytelling.

Since 2012, she has mapped, created and developed several international cultural routes (Tesla Ways, Dragon Routes, Mining Route - The Balkans: Cradle of Metallurgy). Two of them are now a part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage (ERIH), a certified route of the Council of Europe.

Through the experimental part of her master's thesis, Manuela Graf founded the Cluster of Cultural Routes, an example of an innovative model of cultural route network management, and currently serves as a member of the Board of this international network. The Cluster links up more than 50 cultural institutions, tourism organisations, civil society organisations, SMEs and even six universities, in Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, the Czech Republic and USA.

Working title of the dissertation project:

Cultural Routes and Heritage Brands

Research interests

  • Heritage Brands and Brand Heritage
  • Narrative branding and storytelling
  • Strategic Brand Management
  • Cultural Routes
  • Tourism
  • Sustainable Development
  • Corporate  Communication  and  Marketing

  • Graf, Manuela (2019) Cultural Routes - From Cultural to Creative Tourism, in Creating and Managing Experiences in Cultural Tourism, Ed. Jelinčić, DA & Mansfeld, Y., World Scientific, p. 155-170  
  • Graf, Manuela, Popesku, Jovan (2016) Cultural Routes as Innovative Tourism Products and Possibilities of their Development , International Journal of Cultural and Digital Tourism, Volume 3, Number 1, Spring 2016, IACUDIT, p. 24-44

  • Graf, Manuela (2015) Mining Route. The Balkans: Cradle of Metallurgy, in Mining of Culture. Revaluation of Industrial Heritage, LAE XXI, Labin, Croatia

  • Graf, Manuela (2014) Tesla Ways, Center for Study in Cultural Development, Belgrade, Serbia

  • Graf, Manuela (2013) Industrial Cultural Routes, Journal Energy, Economy, Ecology, Energy Association, Belgrade, Serbia, n.2, year XV, March 2013, p. 328-335 

  • Milankov, Marijana, Subašić, Bojana & Graf, Manuela (2012) Cultural Resource Mapping in the Region of Southeast Serbia, Center for Study in Cultural Development, Belgrade, Serbia 

  • Graf, Manuela (ed.) (2012) Collection of lectures: Building Capacity of Management structure - Reconstruction of Golubac Fortress, Belgrade, Serbia



Conferences and Lectures

  • Tourism Clusters: A New International Development Strategy, H&T Innovation Summit for the Hospitality Industry, 7-9 February 2022, Malaga, Spain (panel discussion)

  • Tesla Ways, Presentation of the project and new themes of Cultural Routes in the Danube Region. Proposals in view of certification or extension of existing certified cultural route. Routes4U meeting for the Danube Region - EUSDR. Strengthening the macro-regional strategy through the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe, 6 November 2018, Bucharest, Romania (panel discussion)

  • Cultural routes and territory branding through storytelling , 'Borders and Crossings - Travel Writing Conference', 13-16 September 2018, Brioni, Pula, Croatia 

  • Cultural Routes - from Cultural to Creative Tourism, International Conference "Creating and Managing Experiences in Cultural Tourism", 22-23 June 2017, Šibenik, Croatia (invited presentation given)

  • Cluster of Cultural Routes - Innovative Model of Cultural Routes Network Governance , Tourism Governance of the Council of Europe's Cultural Routes - Stakeholder networks: cooperation, creativity and innovation, 29-30 September 2016, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris, France 

  • Nikola Tesla and century old hydroelectric power plants, European Rivers and Towns; Creation, development and perspectives of a (re) newed conquest: Tourism, Leisure, Heritage, 1-2 July 2016, Paris - Sorbonne IREST, EIREST, Universite de Paris 1, Pantheon Sorbonne 

  • Cultural Routes as Innovative Tourism Products and Possibilities of their Development, 3rd International Conference “Tourism, Culture and Heritage in a Smart Economy”, the International Association of Cultural and Digital Tourism, 19-21  May 2016, “Royal Olympic” hotel in Athens, Greece 

  • Destination Immersion - The Return & Rise of the Balkans,  10-12 May 2016,  NEXT Balkans Conference, Adventure Travel Trade Association, Ohrid, Macedonia (invited presentation given)

  • Dragon Routes in the Balkan region, Sensitive heritage - sensitive interpretation, European Association for Heritage Interpretation & Małopolski Instytut Kultury (MIK), 6-9 June 2015, Kraków, Poland (paper accepted, not presented) 

  • Cultural Routes in Serbia, Regional Cooperation Through Cultural Routes, Conference Culture as Driving Force of Tourism and Sustainable Society Development, University of Kragujevac, Faculty of Hotel Management and Tourism, April 24, 2014, Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia (invited presentation given)

  • The Role of Cultural Routes in the Mobility of Artist in South East Europe,  Balkan-Arab Exchange Platform, 8–9 May 2014, Zagreb, Croatia 

  • Cooperation in Southeast Europe through Cultural Routes, Regional Sector Stakeholders Conference "Boosting the growth of local economies by leveraging on their cultural heritage assets: a country-based consultation", Central European Initiative, July 2013, Jahorina, Bosnia & Hercegovina (invited presentation given)

  • Dragon trail - High Potential Cultural Tourism Product in Southeast Europe, 14th International Joint World Cultural Tourism Conference - "Cultural Tourism: New and Different Way", 28-30 October 2013, Novi Sad (accepted paper; not presented)

  • Cultural Routes in the frame of Creative Industries, International Conference “Financing and development of Creative Industries”, 12-13 September 2013,  Novi Sad, Serbia (invited presentation given)

  • Industrial Cultural Routes29th International Conference "Energy 2013", Zlatibor, Serbia, 26-29 March 2013

  • Tesla Ways through Europe, 5th International Conference on Industrial Heritage, 25-26 May 2012, Rijeka, Croatia 

  • Journeys of Nikola Tesla and Đorđe Stanojević, CEDEF Conference “Mini hydroelectric power plants - priorities and potentials”, 5 June 2012, Gamzigradska Banja, Serbia (invited presentation given)

  • Nikola Tesla in Serbia , Conference Nikola Tesla and 21. century - Serbia in the Light of Victory of Tesla's Alternating Currents 1896, on the 120th anniversary of Tesla's visit to Belgrade, 1 June 2012, University of Belgrade, Serbia (invited presentation given)


  • Seminar: Destination Hesse: The region in guides, maps and other tourist media from the 18th century to the present, Summer Semester 2021, Institute for Art History, Justus Liebig University, Gießen, Germany (co-teaching with Prof. Dr. Sigrid Ruby) 

  • Language course: Croatian / Serbian "Basic Course II",  Mythological Lexicology in South Slavic Languages, Summer Semester 2019, University Giessen, Institute for Slavic Studies

  • Century Old Hydroelectric Power Plants, February 2016,  Tourist Guides Association of Serbia, National Tourism Organization of Serbia (invited lecture given)
  • Cultural Trails Mapping, Summer Semester 2014, AIESEC, Singidunum University ,  Belgrade  (workshops)
  • Importance of Cultural Routes for Sustainable Development of Heritage and Tourism,  Winter Semester 2013, Association "Youth for Tourism", National association of travel agencies of Serbia (YUTA), Belgrade (invited lecture given)
  • Seminar Building Capacity of Management Structure - Reconstruction of Golubac Fortress, July - September 2012, Golubac Fortress, Golubac, Serbia
  • Journalistic Stylistics, Summer Semester 2011, School of Journalism, Journalists Association of Serbia, Belgrade

  • Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC)
  • International Doctoral Program in Literary and Cultural Studies (IPP)
Kohorte XVI