Veera Ojala (University of Turku)

Chernobyl Dreams: A Case-Study Investigating Visitors’ Visual Storytelling in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Little is known about the overall meaning of the Chernobyl exclusion zone from the visitors’ point of view. This study attempted to elucidate the narrative articulations as a product of context imagination in the CEZ as it was captured from the qualitative interviews and photographs of three different visitor categories. The study draws attention to the power of the physical place in tourist experience and the more intangible and experiential aspects of heritage destination, through which heritage is articulated and co-produced. Gaining insight into the narrative imaginaries and on-site performances of tourists will contribute to the discussion of narrative consumption and embodied performances in places of difficult heritage in general as well as the mediation and the construction of memory spaces through visitors’ photographs.