Kelsey Johansen

Contact information

Office: B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH) 2204

Phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 43894

Email: kelsey.johansen@uwaterloo.ca

Pronouns: she/her/hers


Research interests

As an interdisciplinary scholar, I aim to contribute to the theory and practice of tourism, recreation, and leisure academically and within the communities in which I undertake research.  I am a qualitative and mixed methods researcher with a social constructivist perspective, strongly influenced by the anthropological study of tourism, the philosophy of recreation and leisure and social justice issues emerging in the leisure, recreation and tourism industries.

My research focuses on narratives produced by and for tourists/recreationists, the transmission of inter-cultural knowledge and sustainability practices, host and guest interactions, the phenomenological experience of tourism, recreation and leisure, and rural community tourism development.

I am therefore committed to qualitative inquiry and pragmatic research which aims to address real world challenges across recreation, leisure and tourism pursuits and their accompany industries from a critical and social justice perspective with an emphasis on community-drive research initiatives.

    Graduate supervision and student opportunities

    I am available to supervise Honours Thesis (REC 471 A/B) projects and Directed Studies (REC 475) at the undergraduate level, as well as sitting on committees at the Master's level. I am interested in working with students whose research interests are related to:

    • Agricultural and Culinary Tourism
    • Community-Based Rural Tourism and Recreation Development
    • Hiking, Sustainable Trail Development and Mixed-Use Trails, Trail Towns, and Trail Tourism
    • Inclusive Narratives and Interpretation at Tourism and Recreation sites
    • Sustainable (Food, Cultural and Sporting) Events
    • Therapeutic Recreation, including therapeutic use of kinesthetic metaphor, nature and outdoor pursuits and risk management for Therapeutic Recreation

    Graduate studies application details

    Teaching interests

    In the classroom, and extended learning environment, I have three priorities: interdisciplinary content, interactive teaching, and experiential learning. I create an interactive teaching environment through the use of in-class activities, and a Socratic teaching method which provokes discussion, enabling students to examine how social and political forces shape the construction and use of knowledge and the development of their beliefs, values and professional practice. As an interdisciplinary scholar, with an extensive professional practice background including tourism development, recreation centre management, and therapeutic recreation, my teaching interests include:

    • Adventure Therapy and Nature-Based Therapeutic Recreation
    • Agricultural and Culinary Tourism
    • Nature-Based Recreation and Tourism
    • Program Evaluation
    • Qualitative Methods
    • Risk Management and Legal Liability in Outdoor Recreation
    • Social Justice Issues in Recreation, Leisure and Tourism
    • Sustainable Events


    • REC 100: Introduction to the Study of Recreation and Leisure
    • REC 230: Outdoor Recreation, Tourism, and the Natural Environment
    • REC 280: Introduction to Tourism
    • REC 357: Theories and Evidence for Therapeutic Recreation Practice
    • REC 631: Issues in Leisure, Place and Space


    BA, Lakehead University

    HBSc, Lakehead University

    HBOR, Lakehead University

    MES-NBRT, Lakehead University

    PhD, University of Otago (in progress)

    Selected publications

    See Google Scholar for full list of publications.

    Mostafanezhad, M., Azizi, S., & Johansen, K. (2016). Valuing Organic Farm Volunteer Tourists in Hawai‘i: Farm Host Perspectives. Current Issues in Tourism, 19(6), pp. 37–41.  DOI: 10.1080/13683500.2014.961904

    Lemelin, R. H. & Johansen, K. (2014). The Canadian National Vimy Memorial: Remembrance, Dissonance and ResonanceInternational Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research, 8(2), pp.203 – 218. DOI: 10.1108/IJCTHR-09-2013-0059

    Lemelin, R.H., Whyte, K. P., Johansen, K., Higgins-Desbiolles, F., Wilson, C. & Hemming, S. (2013). Conflicts, battlefields, indigenous peoples and tourism: addressing dissonant heritage in warfare tourism in Australia and North America in the twenty-first century. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 7 (3), pp. 257 – 271. DOI: 10.1108/IJCTHR-05-2012-0038

    Johansen, K. & Koster, R. (2012). Forming SCUBA Diving Environmental Codes of Conduct - What Entry-Level Divers are Taught in Their First Certification Course. Tourism in Marine Environments - Special Issue SCUBA DIVING: Exploring Issues of Its System, 8(1/2), pp. 61-76. DOI: 10.3727/154427312X13262430524144

    University of Waterloo