Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Wageningen University's Science Shop study for SailWise - Disability and accessible outdoor leisure and tourism

People with disabilities face specific challenges to accessing and participating in outdoor leisure and tourism activities. However, societies throughout the world are starting to recognise the importance of creating not only equal opportunities for access and participation but also opportunities specifically catering to the needs, concerns and interests of people with disabilities. For over 40 years, the Dutch non-profit organisation, SailWise, for example, has offered people with physical, sensory or cognitive disabilities the opportunity to engage in sailing activities in the Netherlands. Its goal is to help people with a diverse range of disabilities engage in outdoor sports and leisure activities, giving them the opportunity to have fun which challenging themselves physically and mentally in a safe, social and relaxed setting that is both financially and physically accessible to participants and their families. 

SailWise has approached Wageningen University’s Science Shop for assistance with i) optimising supply and demand for the outdoor activities it offers, ii) sustaining and improving the organisation’s operations and iii) improving its communication with prospective participants, volunteers, sponsors and other practitioners in the rapidly developing ‘accessible tourism’ sector. The project, led by Dr Francien de Jonge for Wageningen University’s Science Shop, will run until late 2016 and is comprised of several smaller projects. Two small projects have been completed by MSc and BSc students in June 2015, and there will be additional MSc thesis opportunities for interested students in 2016 (see below).

MSc supervision opportunities
Dr Meghann Ormond (GEO) and Dr Lenneke Vaandrager (HSO) contribute to the Sail Wise Science Shop project, and they are looking for MSc thesis students who would like to contribute to this project starting in February 2016. Students would be co-supervised by Dr Ormond and Dr Vaandrager. We are looking for 2 students, one MLE student and one MCS (Health and Society) student who are encouraged to get involved in this project in order to help shed light on issues like: i) why certain populations may or may not be interested joining a SailWise excursion, ii) who SailWise is currently targeting as prospective participants and who they might be missing out on, iii) what are participants’ expectations and experiences prior to, during and after their excursions, and iv) how best these expectations and experiences can be translated into improved practices within Sail Wise and communicated to a wider range of audiences. These two students will closely work together, but will have their own specific research (based on their own interests). For further details, contact meghann.ormond (at) wur.nl or lenneke.vaandrager (at) wur.nl

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