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Masters thesis on the Waikato University Commons
todd henry
Mar 5, 2020
Location: tuvalu
My masters thesis on visual representations of climate change in Tuvalu is currently available for free download on the Waikato Commons website.  Download it and have a read if it's something that is of interest!

Here is what they say about it:

This thesis seeks to explore local Tuvaluan feelings and perceptions on the visual representation of Tuvalu in international climate change media stories in conjunction with the island nation’s growing status as a last chance tourism (LCT) destination. The study assesses, from a local Tuvaluan perspective, common visual themes that feature in international media stories on Tuvalu, while also investigating the potential connections between climate change imagery and the implications of Tuvalu being seen as a last chance tourism destination by foreign tourists. Using a qualitative research approach, with talanoa-informed interviews in Tuvalu and open-ended questionnaires for individuals who have visited Tuvalu as tourists, the study recorded the feedback of average Tuvaluan citizens representing a variety of educational, professional and socioeconomic backgrounds.Findings from this research indicate that there are feelings of misrepresentation among local Tuvaluans in relation to visual imagery that features in media stories on climate change. Such imagery contributes to visual narratives that often portray Tuvaluans as powerless victims of climate change. In addition, there is evidence that misrepresentative media imagery, as perceived by local Tuvaluans, plays a role in encouraging last chance tourists to visit due to a perception that Tuvalu’s islands are rapidly disappearing, and the country’s very existence is under imminent threat.Although last chance tourism is a potentially viable source of revenue for Tuvalu, locals appear divided as to whether or not it would be an ideal approach due to a range of possible long-term negative implications. Furthermore, interviews with tourists who have previously visited Tuvalu suggest that pre-travel low expectations for the country are generally not fulfilled once the unique culture and relaxed lifestyle of Tuvalu is experienced firsthand.While visual media misrepresentations of Tuvalu are commonplace and should be avoided through improvements in professional photojournalistic practices, such imagery appears to be placing additional attention on the country and influencing foreign tourists to travel to Tuvalu. This research shows that these tourists often tend to arrive with expectations of witnessing abject environmental degradation and human suffering as is often portrayed in media imagery, only to discover the presence of a resilient local population who are dedicated to remaining on their islands despite the environmental challenges they face. Read less

Exploring local perceptions on visual media representations of climate change and last chance tourism in Tuvalu

Todd Henry Photography

Social Documentary / Visual Ethnography. Todd Henry is a documentary photographer, photojournalist, and visual storyteller.
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