Cultural interpretation on adventure expeditions and for corporate clients is a way to offer anthropological insights to non-academic audiences. Corporate clients recognise the value of local cultural knowledge for improving personnel capacity and project success. Working from cruise ships is a tremendously rewarding form of teaching.
In both cases, the audience is generally well-educated, many have had multiple cross-cultural experiences and most are genuinely interested in ethnographic matters. Unlike university classrooms, expedition participants and corporate clients never ask “is this required for the test?”!
Expeditions offer the added benefits of living on a ship and mingling with other highly experienced colleagues such as marine biologists, historians and ornithologists, plus dive, snorkeling and/or zodiac experts. Some Expedition companies enable research as part of the voyage, which is very helpful when one’s research area is as far-flung as the Pacific or the Boreal!
Companies I’ve enjoyed working for are Coral Princess (on the Oceanic Discoverer), and Aurora Expeditions (on the Marina Svetaeva). Most recently (Oct 2010 to Jan 2011) I accompanied the Oceanic Discoverer, crew and passengers on a cruise from , through Papua New Guinea, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the Melanesian and Polynesian Outlier islands of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, ending up in Nouvélle Calédonie.