Photography as a tool for International Development Summer Course, Cape Town

Travel to South Africa’s city of Cape Town and explore the international development landscape through the lens. Your base in the heart of this vibrant city gives you the ideal platform to apply critical thinking and re-frame perceptions of the developing world and the problematic practices that reaffirm them. With photography as your medium, you will be guided through the concepts of image production, curation and presentation, and how they have contributed to existing stereotypes of the “third world”.

Beyond the fascinating galleries and museums, Cape Town offers photography enthusiasts a smorgasbord of landscapes, people and wildlife. Visit the local winelands, national parks and cultural hubs, and let the diverse, spirited city reshape your perceptions.

Your academic lead is an expert in African development studies; in both an African and European context and a celebrated art educator, a background that allows for an extremely broad, yet in-depth approach to the subject matter. This course would be particularly beneficial to students of international development, geo-political studies, anthropology and Africana studies.


  • Learn to identify and critically analyze perceptions that stereotype international development in Africa
  • Benefit from expert knowledge of both African and European development studies
  • Explore Cape Town, voted the Design Capital of the World and home to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
  • Discover a diverse culture that embraces the myriad of cultural influences; from colonial to the rebirth of celebrated African heritage

Quick Facts

  • Location Cape Town, South Africa
  • Academic Focus International Development
  • Recommended Credits 3 US Credits
  • Academic Prerequisites None. 3rd year undergraduate level recommended

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Destination Description

The city of Cape Town is a vibrant cosmopolitan center nestled between the sparkling ocean and the towering Table Mountain. The city epitomizes South Africa as a rainbow nation, embracing its Cape Dutch history, French influence and celebrating its diverse African cultural heritage. The most popular tourist destination on the continent, Cape Town offers its visitors a diverse array of activities from mountain climbing and hiking in the local national parks to high-end shopping in the world-renowned Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Pristine beaches, gourmet restaurants and endless winelands ensure that a day in this city is always one to remember.

Learning Outcomes

Get first-hand exposure to the reality of a city in a third-world country, which whilst characterized by one of the starkest Gini coefficients in the world, has one of the world’s fastest-growing local economies and is a culturally-vibrant metropolis.

Throughout your course, you will:

  • Learn to use photography as a medium for critically analyzing the international development landscape
  • Develop an understanding of how visual media has influenced stereotypes of the “third world”
  • Explore realities versus perceptions of the “third world”
  • Develop an understanding of international development in a South African context


Service Impact

The shedding of long-standing stereotypes can only be accomplished through critical analysis en mass. Applying and sharing your new-found skills outside of the third world and across disciplines will contribute to reshaping harmful commonly-accepted perceptions.

  • WEEK 1

    Your first week will comprise an in-depth orientation where you will be introduced to the overarching themes of the course, familiarize yourself with the course schedule and set expectations. You will be exposed to the challenges that the international development faces in context.

    Practical examples and your first group reflection will leave you with a sound understanding of the subject matter and concepts to be explored by the end of your first week.

  • WEEK 2

    Your second week will be characterized by deeper study into the areas outlined in your first week. This will be facilitated by methods workshops, guest lectures, structured field trips and  further reflections.

    This week will prepare you for the paper and presentation to be developed in week 3.

  • WEEK 3

    In your third week, you will design the layout of your paper and presentation, drawing on the knowledge and insights gained. Peer review and individual consultation with your academic lead will give you a deeper understanding of the concepts and processes, and allow for effective refining.

    A guided reflection at the end of the week will help you analyze your processes.

  • WEEK 4

    Your course culminates in the presentation of your paper, as well as a discussion of your process and observations.

    During the course of this week, you will have further opportunity to consult with your academic lead.

Available 1 - 29 July

  • Participants will be collected from the airport upon arrival and transferred to base
  • Accommodation on base will be simple, but comfortable shared rooms with communal ablutions
  • All meals for the duration of the project, with the exception of free days will be provided
  • Any transport required for program activities will be provided
  • Participants will be transferred back to the airport for their departure