The Art of Exchange: Implementing Cross-Cultural and Community-Based Arts Voluntourism Programs
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This Master’s research project explored how international community-based artdevelopment projects are implemented through volunteer tourism programs. It addresses the impacts of volunteer-tourism on receiving communities, which are often negative because the focus of the serving organization is ironically on the volunteer motive. On the contrary, when service projects are focused on the receiving community, student motivation and engagement is increased and they receive greater insights to carry home. If service projects are designed to strive for reciprocity, greater benefits are reaped for everybody. This study explored the core components of volunteer-tourism programs to identify a model that will deliver positive outcomes and benefits that outweigh the negatives to receiving communities. These core components include participant-selection (including organizational staff and students, partnering NGO staff, and host-community participants), partnerships with NGO’s, and project identification. This study also examined the best practices that inform these core components, specifically focusing on the policies and models applied. Overall this research examined the impacts of youth engagement in community-based arts, and methods for achieving reciprocity among all constituents. Youth engagement in community arts, application of policies and models, and methods for achieving reciprocity ground the foundation of each core component in this research.
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