Seminar 1 – Blurred Boundaries of International Volunteering

Wednesday 11th February 2015

100.00 – 1600hrs

Eastbourne Campus, University of Brighton

This seminar seeks to engage discussion around a number of issues /questions. To what extent does domestic volunteering engage in dialogue with international volunteering? For example, a recent book entitled Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century (Rochester, et al. 2010) mentions volunteer tourism once (p.111), although there is rather more discussion (pp. 13-15) on Serious Leisure (Stebbins and Graham 2004; Stebbins 2007). Do domestic volunteers also engage in volunteering overseas? If they do, does this influence the type of volunteering after their return? To what extent does international volunteering influence the values of global citizenship? To what extent are volunteers who travel to be involved in a mega event part of this debate (at London 2012, 3% of the Gamesmakers were international volunteers (Dickson and Benson, 2013)? To what extent do international development organisations now offer short-term tourism type services? To what extent has this changed their funding / mission statements? To what extent has the large corporations engaging in volunteering as a product influenced the marketplace? (e.g. i to i was bought by First Choice Holidays, a profit maximizing firm).

International Speaker David Clemmons (Founder of, USA) will be talking about “Volunteering in the context of travel”.

David Clemmons

David began his work on voluntourism in 2000, with the co-creation of VolunTours™. Three years later, he launched and has since focused on delivering and sharing information and research with practitioners, students, academics, community representatives, and travelers from across the globe. Those interested in uncovering emerging practices, new approaches, the latest research, and paradigmatic shifts in the integration of voluntary service and travel have found an abundant resource – newsletters, blog posts, audio recordings, and numerous articles published over the past twelve years. His insights on voluntourism have been reproduced worldwide in multiple languages and have helped to shape policy, guide research, generate debate, and educate the media. He currently resides in Southern California.

Dr Angela Ellis Payne (Birmingham University) will be talking about “Exploring the boundaries between national and international volunteering“.

Angela Ellis Paine

Dr Angela Ellis Paine is a Research Fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre at the University of Birmingham, where she contributes to the Theory and Policy and Workforce streams. Angela has been involved in research on and with the third sector for more than 15 years, and her primary research interests are in volunteering and participation. Before joining TSRC, Angela was Director of the Institute for Volunteering Research, where she undertook numerous studies on different aspects of volunteering. Angela is co-author (with Colin Rochester and Steven Howlett) of Volunteering and Society in the 21st Century (2010, Palgrave Macmillan) and (with Natalie Low, Sarah Butt and Justin Davis Smith) of Helping Out: A national study of volunteering and charitable giving (2007, Cabinet Office).

Dr Anna Mdee (Bradford University) will be talking about “Volunteering and development: neo-colonialism, cultural (mis)understanding and patronage networks.


Anna Mdee is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at the University of Bradford, and Visiting Professor at Mzumbe University in Tanzania.  Her research focuses on Sub-Saharan Africa and issues of local development, aid, poverty and inequality.  She has also organised volunteer travel to Tanzania, through work with NGOs.  This led to publications reflecting on the impact of voluntourism. She started her own career 21 years ago as a paying volunteer with Frontier in Tanzania.

Claire Biddle (i to i, TUI) will be talking about “Managing volunteering in the commercial sector“.

Claire Biddle

Claire Biddle is a Business Development Manager for i-to-i. Claire has worked in the travel industry for over 20 years. Her career started out working for First Choice in the role of Branch Manager for the flag ship Bluewater store before moving on to lecture in Travel & Tourism. After missing the industry, Claire moved back to the TUI Group where she currently works helping to build the development of the i-to-i brand.