Voluntourism: In Pursuit of a Profile Photo?

December 13, 2017 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Room 901, Ninth Floor, Kaneff Tower
4700 Keele St
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

With Kaylan C. Schwarz, Nanyang Technological University

Abstract: My research examines the contemporary cultural trend of short-term international volunteering, which has become a prominent fixture within higher education institutions in Asia-Pacific. Specifically, this presentation will draw upon two qualitative research studies (one completed and one in-progress) which chronicle the various ways UK-based and Singaporean undergraduate students visually represent their international volunteer experiences to a public audience on Facebook. Through a thematic analysis of photo-elicitation interviews and visual content uploaded to social media, and drawing on multiple theoretical re-articulations of Urry’s (1990) ‘Tourist Gaze,’ this presentation will elucidate the framing decisions volunteers faced at the moment of snapshotting and during the album editing process, including debates over which images were discarded and why.

Kaylan C. Schwarz is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University. During her doctoral work at the University of Cambridge, Dr Schwarz also examined the ways international volunteers 1) employed notions of ‘authenticity’ within their personal travel narratives and 2) sought to define themselves as ethical consumers, in opposition to the category of ‘voluntourist’ (construed as a derogatory term).

All are welcome!

This event is presented by the York Centre for Asian Research.

Posted Under

About York Centre for Asian Research