In college, I wrote my senior paper on favela tourism (see my post about it here.) For the paper, I read a lot of articles by Bianca Freire-Medeiros, the principal scholar on the subject. Last summer, when I was in Rio, I just so happened to meet her and her research team. They were great and inspiring people.
At the time, they were researching voluntourism, which I participated in with Iko Poran in the summer of 2007. So, I did an interview for them at Fundação Getúlio Vargas’ CPDOC. Also, Bianca gave me a signed copy of her recent book on favela tourism!
This all happened months ago, back when life seemed so much more footloose and fancy free without graduate school weighing me down. (I say this in the utmost respect for school, however, at this current point in the semester I just want it to be done!) Today, I got an email that just made my day! It was from Bianca Freire-Medeiros. She spent the last few months doing post-doctoral research in Lancaster with John Urry. Before she returned to Rio, the University of Bristol invited her to give a talk about favela tourism. She wrote to me to tell me that the piece that they gave their students to read in preparation for her lecture was my blog post about favela tourism! It’s a small world.
It goes to show that writing a little blog about things that we care about can make little differences and reach surprising audiences around the world.