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Title: In the Footsteps of Free Walking Tours: Sense of Place & Cultural Heritage in Singapore
Authors: Ong Jia Jing
Keywords: walking, free walking tour, sense of place, cultural heritage, place-making, mobile methods
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Ong Jia Jing (2018). In the Footsteps of Free Walking Tours: Sense of Place & Cultural Heritage in Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Walking facilitates sensuous interactions with the landscape and forges intimate, embodied relationships with place. Walking tours are a more sociable form of walking; exploring cultural spaces with a group intensifies the place-making process. Extant literature on the relationship between place, cultural heritage and walking focus on everyday walking and the tourist’s experience of a paid walking tour. In contrast, free walking tours – guided walks without obligatory payment – are scarcely analysed. This thesis addresses the lacuna in walking tour studies by exploring the production of cultural heritage through free walking tours (FWT) in Singapore, from the perspective of local residents. A qualitative methodology involving (i) walking with FWT groups (ii) static and go-along interviews and (iii) personal guiding experience, facilitates closer examination of the multiplicity of FWT experiences from the perspectives of both FWT participants and organisers. As part of fieldwork, I attended 18 sessions across nine distinct tours, of which four sessions were led by myself. The study revealed that FWT appeal to both participants and organisers because they present lower financial risks and enable intimate and personal connections with cultural spaces. FWT experiences are plural and subjective; guides and participants actively co-create each experience based on group dynamics, environmental stimuli and serendipitous occurrences. However, the larger-scale impact of FWT in enhancing cultural heritage production is limited due to lack of public awareness and participation. Data from this study is also highly specific to individual respondents and cannot be generalized empirically. This thesis ends with suggestions for future conceptual, methodical and empirical research.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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