Meaningful transformations with Country at Bawaka, north east Arnhem Land (14489)
Emotional and affective experiences are increasingly understood as generative moments of proximity and intimacy, where the ‘felt truth’ of direct experience has the potential to unsettle, connect, and transform. Here, we explore the narratives of visitors to Bawaka Cultural Enterprises, an Indigenous-run tourism venture in north east Arnhem land. We seek to develop understandings of how emotions, sensory experiences, and human and more-than-human agency variously shape and enable transformative learning. We attend particularly to Bawaka Country itself, for the role Country plays in enabling visitors’ transformations, and for promoting visitor understandings of, and insights into, these processes. We also examine the limits to transformations and connections forged through such immersive tourism experiences. Ultimately, we suggest that for these visitors to Bawaka emotional and affective aspects were central to both transformative learning and building connections with people, places, and causes, and that even though these reflections and connections may become diluted over time and distance, the remembered experience remains meaningful.