Educator and tourism expert Rob Ferguson has seen cultural engagement emerge as a driving force behind the growth of tourism around the world. Prior to his appointment as a faculty member at Vancouver Island University, Rob was a Senior Lecturer in Leisure Management at the University of Gloucestershire, U.K. He currently serves on a number of advisory boards within the community and his PhD research focuses on the role of Aboriginal tourism in fostering cultural resilience among selected coastal communities in B.C.
Presentation Title: Scholarship through practice: Exploring a pragmatist epistemology towards applied research in partnership with Aboriginal communities.
There is a growing awareness that Indigenous issues need to come to the fore of local, regional and national discourse on a myriad of subjects. Within B.C.’s tourism industry Aboriginal tourism has been steadily growing, and demand is expected to increase. This places on impetus on tourism scholars to better understand the challenges facing Aboriginal communities along with investigating the potential for tourism as a viable means to support self-determination. However, rigid methodological paradigms and institutional processes offer little flexibility within such a dynamic, diverse, and demanding context. Tensions are persistent, personal and unavoidable, yet the process and outcomes can yield rich benefits for all.
This session explores methodological approaches to current applied research involving Aboriginal communities with a particular focus on the tensions that can result from adopting a pragmatist epistemology, and the ability to meet standards of academic rigor alongside community outcomes.