A journey through the Andes—one blog post at a time

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

- Lindsay Gagel

The UVic community knows Dr. Ana Marìa Peredo as an award-winning professor in the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, whose research explores the role of business in fostering sustainable communities. But to the people she meets in the high Andes communities, she’s Señorita Ana Marìa, a spirited traveler with a great respect for the people she encounters in a land that’s both familiar and foreign to her.

Peredo is Peruvian and returned to the Andes in the late 90s to write her doctoral thesis. One of the many results of that doctoral work was that she wrote one of the first articles on community social enterprise and social action in management literature.

Peredo is once again back in the Andes, engaged in field studies work and blogging about her experiences, both personal and academic. "It has been fantastic," says Peredo, "returning to my roots and seeing the changes in their lives so closely. Penetrating myself in a life of poverty and hardship has made me value so many things we take for granted."

She's there "to learn how families, communities and their collective enterprises have changed," she explains on her blog. "Since I first visited the Andes many years ago, I have been in love with the way of life I found there, especially the culture of caring and reciprocity and their relationship to the land." How much has changed, now that Peru's economy has grown and more mining companies and big businesses are moving into the Andean regions?

Through Peredo's blog, readers are getting a glimpse into remote Peruvian communities most tourists don't even know exist. Peredo's observations are thought-provoking and, at times, downright quirky. One minute she's reflecting on community-based enterprises and the next she's helping a family start a fire with cow dung.

Whether it's waking up to the sound of livestock in a remote village, smelling the humid Lima air, taking in the bustle of a marketplace, or seeing the beauty of the landscape, Peredo’s senses are constantly engaged. And we as readers get to share in that excitement.

Communicating through blogging

Blogging is a great way for researchers to communicate their work in the field. “It works as an accessible way to reach more than other academics,” explains Dr. Janni Aragon, Director of UVic’s Technology Integrated Learning. “Blogging is an effective means to engage a broader audience for networking and to find out about your projects.”

Peredo’s blog is housed on UVic’s Online Academic Community (OAC)—a university-supported WordPress platform available to all UVic faculty, staff and students for free.

“The goal of the OAC is to engage all of our users to blog about their experiences at UVic, use the site as their e-portfolio, and see faculty curate a research presence on the platform,” says Aragon. “We have lots of faculty using the OAC for teaching and learning, and we welcome more faculty to use the site to engage others with their research.”

And blogging while in the field has other advantages too. It’s a travel journal that you can instantly share with family, friends, colleagues and readers anywhere in the world.

“I’m travelling light,” Peredo says in her first blog entry. “I want to be able to go like a ‘chasqui’—the messengers of the Incas—from one community to another, from one side of the Andes to a peak on the other side. I want to see it all.”

Peredo returns to Victoria later this month. Follow her story at oac.uvic.ca/peredoblog.


In this story

Keywords: writing, research, South America, international

People: Ana Maria Peredo

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