Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Reading People and Places: Tourism for Engaged Citizens

Dr. Linda Smeins.

Tourism is considered by many communities, countries, and international lenders to be a panacea for depressed economies. However, this direction in planning often neglects to explore the implications of the visual consumption of people and places that is inherent in travelling. Tourism is largely about looking, a seemingly benign activity. Having seen art, cultural events, architecture, cities, countryside, sacred sites, national costumes, foods and musical instruments, visitors often leave with a sense that they know the place and its people. However, viewing is not innocent. All this looking includes interpreting the new through lenses of the old. Without providing our students frameworks with which to 'read' unfamiliar cultures, they may draw distorted and harmful conclusions from their observations. Visual culture analysis provides an avenue for identifying and placing in context the visual components of tourist experiences.
This workshop emphasizes the importance of visual culture analysis in educating students to be engaged global citizens. The workshop begins with an introduction to visual culture as a form of communication and its application to the practice of tourism. We use visual media to discuss and illustrate approaches to in-depth analysis, using craft art and clothing as a case study. This interactive workshop will include exercises and handouts. Attendees will take away from the workshop a working understanding of visual analysis and how this knowledge can be given practical application for classroom use in many disciplines.


Dr. Linda Smeins  (United States)
Professor and Interim Dean
College of Fine and Performing Arts, Department of Art History
Western Washington University

  • Visual culture analysis
  • Tourism
  • Textiles and clothing
  • Art and architecture

(60 min. Workshop, English)