A Purposeful Path: UNCW Students Design Walking Tours Stepping Into the Past

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Four students from the international studies, computer science and fine arts departments at UNCW designed a series of interactive mini walking tours in Wilmington based on the Parisian Situationist practice of psychogeography. Drawing from the philosophies of the French theorist Guy Debord, psychogeographers advocate the exploration of urban environments through "drifting.”

Heather Cunningham ’21, Carolyn Hellman ’21, Kassie Robakiewicz ’21 and Bhavna Singh ’20 crafted the one-mile walks around the themes of migration, development and gentrification to engage participants in reflections of those movements on the current world.

Julia Morris, assistant professor of international studies, organized a workshop for the students with staff from the Historic Wilmington Foundation. “The goal is to reveal elements of Wilmington's wider social, civic and political history and the communities and individuals connected to it,” she said. “Participants will develop a new intimacy with their surroundings, bringing them closer to the region’s histories and making visible marginalized voices in the city.”

The mini-tours are accessible through a free online app. Participants can virtually follow the walks online or complete them in person. Visit for details.

The project was funded through Cahill and Applied Learning Awards from UNCW.

-- Caroline Cropp