Photography, art & song champion WB youth ideas

Young people recovering from the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires are using photography, art, song, poetry, prose and written text to express how they’d like to make their community better—in anticipation of the #youthvoicewb social media campaign that will launch in late September. The Youth Voices Wood Buffalo campaign and action research project will champion young people’s ideas for making their community better during the post-fire recovery. The campaign is being coordinated by the RbD Lab, and is supported by local youth-serving organizations, and is part of the Youth Voices Rising project.

Photo taken by Alexis at Fort McKay Youth Centre workshop

 

To support youth in sharing their ideas, Tamara Plush, Robin Cox and Cheryl Heykoop from the RbD Lab worked with local youth workers in July to facilitate three events in the Wood Buffalo region. At the Fort McKay Youth Centre, 20 youth joined in a workshop to learn photography basics and explore their community through the medium. The workshop included an evening exhibit with friends and family that featured photos expressing their views, including the value of preserving nature, the importance of community and connection, and the desire to address challenging social problems such as alcohol and drug abuse. As an example, Alexis photographed a friend photographing her, and described what it means to her: “The photo I have chosen connects to the community because no one can achieve something by themselves. It’s always a thing you do with people in front of you and giving you guidance.”

The photography workshop culminated in small group discussions between the participating youth and a Fort McKay First Nations band councilor about the changes the young people would like to see; with plans to present their ideas to the local Chief and Council.

For the upcoming #youthvoiceswb campaign, the RbD Lab also supported youth in using creative arts to express their views at a Justin Slade Youth Foundation event. Young people at the workshop engaged in discussions and art exploring diverse ideas for a better community, including creating more outlets for LGBTQA youth, improving the lives of people experiencing homelessness, and increasing the number of vegetarian restaurants in town.

Chris performs at the McMurray Gospel Assembly.

 

At another event supporting the campaign, young people took the stage at the McMurray Gospel Assembly for a talent show night with the theme of making their community better. They performed acts of poetry, song and prose that will be featured on the #youthvoiceswb YouTube channel when the campaign launches. The photography and art from the three events will be posted on #youthvoiceswb Instagram and Facebook accounts.

The campaign will launch Sept 29, 2017, during Alberta Cultural Days, and run during the Wood Buffalo Municipality election to link youth concerns and ideas to local decision makers.

0

RbD supports youth consultation on Canada’s Emergency Management strategy

The RbD was instrumental in supporting Public Safety Canada’s (PSC) recent consultation with youth  on the  development of a new, comprehensive EM strategy for Canada. The virtual consultation was held July 6th and engaged youth around questions concerning how to help shape strategies to support a culture of disaster preparedness and resilience, and improve disaster mitigation and response.

The consultation is one of a number of consultations with stakeholders that include emergency managers, government representatives, Indigenous Peoples, first responders, and critical infrastructure owners and operators. The decision to develop a new EM strategy responds to a recognized shift in Canada’s disaster risk profile, characterized by the increasing frequency, magnitude and cost of disasters. The initiative acknowledges the need for greater involvement and investment in emergency management in ways that increase our shared ability to understand and assess these risks in order to strengthen Canada’s collective capacity to better prevent/mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies.

Public Safety Canada reached out to Dr. Cox and the RbD lab to help identify and engage youth from across Canada in a virtual focus group. Over 20 young people from across the country agreed to be involved. Participating young people offered insights from on a range of questions that focused on how to support greater collaboration among different sectors of Canadian society; ideas for improving risk communication; and suggestions for initiatives that would improve the capacity of individuals, families, communities and organizations to reduce risks and increase resilience.Youth who could not participate will have an opportunity to contribute through their written responses to questions p0sed.

“This kind of consultation with youth is all too rare,” says Cox, adding that “it provides another great example of young people’s commitment to contributing to Canada’s disaster resilience and the valuable expertise and perspectives they bring to this topic.”

The feedback from participating youth will be added to the information gathered from other stakeholders and will inform PSC’s development of the new strategy which they hope to share with the Canadian public in the spring of 2018.

 

0

Campaign to spark youth ideas for wildfire recovery

The RbD Lab at Royal Roads University recently launched a two-year, youth-focused research project in Wood Buffalo entitled “Youth Voices Rising.” YVR is designed to amplify and promote young people’s ideas for recovery from the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire. As an initial outreach to young people age 14-24, the RbD Lab and Meicholas Art Foundation hosted an Ideas Incubator that engaged youth in the design and implementation of a youth-driven social media campaign to be launched in the Fall. The campaign will center on the question “If you had all the power, how would you make life better in your community?”; and the answers young people share through photos, videos and other story mediums will help illuminate youth-centred visions for Wood Buffalo’s recovery and rebuilding. The concerns, ideas and conversations the campaign sparks will form the basis of the project moving forward over the coming year.

The young people and supportive adults at the Ideas Incubator workshop, decided on the YouthVoicesWB campaign name, identified the most relevant social media platforms for Wood Buffalo youth, and brainstormed various creative methods that youth might use as part of the campaign (e.g., video, art, poetry, music, etc.).

The Youth Voice Rising project, funded by the Canadian Red Cross, is designed to work alongside Wood Buffalo youth to explore where youth voices are already being heard, and where they think youth voice could be stronger in recovery planning. “We’ve found after other disasters that young people have often lacked the power and official channels to share their perspectives, concerns and ideas. Because of this, they can remain an underrepresented stakeholder in the recovery process despite strong evidence on the benefits to communities who actively engage youth in decision-making,” Dr. Robin Cox, RbD Lab Director, said. “However, when given opportunities, youth can actively contribute to their own recovery and to the recovery of those people and places around them.”

0

Dr. Cox calls for a culture of resilience

Dr. Robin Cox, Director of the RbD Lab, was one of ten featured speakers participating in the Resilient Calgary event, May 16th, sponsored by Mount Royal University’s Centre for Community Disaster Research. Cox’s talk, Engaging Youth to Create a Culture of Resilience, focused on exploring the potential for drawing on the passion, energy, creativity, and intelligence of young people to address the complex problems of escalating disaster risks and climate change. Cox challenged the audience to consider how current decision and policy-making models and processes and structures are inadequate to address the rapidly escalating risks. Both too conservative and too siloed, these structures continue to be reliant on habitual thinking and processes that do not reflect the non-linear and emergent issues of wicked problems. Cox argued for an increased focus on cultivating a culture of resilience based in multi- and trans-disciplinary thinking and flexible, collaborative perspectives. She suggested that creative, innovative and collaborative mindsets are needed to shift the status quo and re-imagine solutions to these complex problems.

0

RbD Lab awarded SSHRC Insight Grant

The ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab was recently awarded a three-year SSHRC Insight grant to conduct a research project entitled, “Enhancing Community Resilience: Youth engagement in disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation.”

The project will work with post-Millennial youth – Gen Z – using a Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) approach. The research process will integrate learning and research, integrating disaster resilience leadership curriculum and youth-driven and youth-friendly methodologies (e.g., arts-based, collective storytelling, creative social mapping, appreciative inquiry) to explore the complex landscape of disasters and climate change. The research will both investigate and advocate for youth-led solutions to the complex challenges they face. The project will engage youth from the Greater Victoria region in a youth-centric social innovation lab methodology designed by RbD as a transformative learning process. The goals of the project include: 1) facilitating mutual learning and knowledge exchange among youth, researchers, disaster and climate change practitioners and policy makers; 2) providing meaningful research, mentorship, and learning opportunities for youth; and 3) generating youth-designed and youth-driven strategies to increase the engagement of youth in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in their families, communities, and careers.

The project launches this fall under the leadership of Dr. Robin Cox as the principal investigator. Dr. Cheryl Heykoop, Dr. Leila Scannell and Dr. Crystal Tremblay will work with Cox as co-investigators. Dr. Cox and Dr. Heykoop are both faculty members at RRU.

0

RYSE project launches May 2017

The Resilience Youth in Stressed Environments research project officially launches this month. Principal Investigator, Dr. Michael Ungar, Scientific Director of the Resilience Research Center, Dalhousie University and Dr. Robin Cox, Director of the RbD lab, will be overseeing the research in two Canadian communities – Drayton Valley Alberta, and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. The RYSE research project is a multi-sited, five-year, international research project, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and developed to study the resilience of young people in the context of oil and gas production, consumption and climate change.

Dr. Sarah Fletcher has been hired as a postdoctoral fellow to work on this first year of the project. She will be supporting and mentoring two Dalhousie doctoral students, Margaret Heffernan and Laura Wright, in the field as they engage in this initial stage of data collection and analysis. Joining them will be Tara Lewis, a Masters student and resident of Drayton Valley, and Katy Hildebrand, an incoming Master of Arts student in the MA of Disaster and Emergency Management at RRU.

The project will be collecting and analysing data over the course of the summer, drawing on the insights and interests of youth using participatory action research and arts-based methods to explore their health, wellbeing and resilience priorities. Youth and community feedback will inform the later stages of the project, which include resilience surveys, environmental mapping and stress biomarker data.

0

RbD Lab explores youth resilience

Team members from Royal Roads’ ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Lab recently presented at the 5th Annual Keyano College Arts and Humanities Conference “Coming Through Fire: Rebuilding, Reconciling, Rethinking” in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The RbD Lab’s presentation—Youth Voices Rising & Creative Action Research: Recovery & Resilience in Wood Buffalo—engaged participants through the visual storytelling method of storyboarding. Here, conference participants creatively explored the question, “If you had all the power, how would you make life better in your community?” as a means to support conversations that matter to young people living in the Wood Buffalo region. The participants, most in their early 20’s, highlighted changes they want to see in their community, such as reducing harmful acts of gender discrimination and the need for improved healthcare services during pregnancy.

The storyboards from the conference will contribute to a social media and youth engagement campaign launching in the Wood Buffalo region later in the year as part of the RbD Lab’s research into strengthening youth recovery and resilience after the Fort McMurray wildfires.

0

Hill speaks out as DRR change agent

At the Fifth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas in early March, Tiffany Hill, a researcher in the RRU ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Research Innovation Lab, highlighted the importance of youth having a voice in DRR decision-making. Watch her interview with Public Safety Canada about “How to be a DRR Change Agent.”

As Tiffany explains, “I think we already know it’s important to involve young people in this platform, in disaster risk reduction. They are passionate, interested and can come up with creative and innovative solutions to complex problems. And whether we like it (or not), young people have an investment in reducing the risks and impacts of disasters because we’re living in it. So here’s an opportunity: Meaningfully engage young people in the conversations and decisions in how to address these risks.”

Tiffany attended the Platform alongside RbD Lab Director Dr. Robin Cox, Professor & Program Head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Program in the School of Humanitarian Studies, and Research Assistant Kennedy Hill. Tiffany is currently working in the RbD Lab on the Alberta Resilient Communities research project and pursuing a Masters of Arts in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at Royal Roads University.

Be sure to also watch Tiffany’s video in the UNISDR Youth Video Challenge.

 

0

RbD opens new lab space at RRU

The ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab has a new home! It recently moved into a new Lab space to accommodate its growing team of Royal Roads University researchers, postdoctoral fellows, students, and affiliates. The new Lab space, located in the Millward Annex on the RRU campus, offers a dynamic hub for research project collaboration, planning, and staging creative arts activities, and coordinating long-distance learning events.

0