RbD Lab launches #YouthVoicesWB

The YouthVoicesWB campaign launched September 29 in the Wood Buffalo region of Alberta, Calgary. The campaign encourages youth to share their ideas of how to make their community better as a means to strengthen their resilience during the wildfire recovery and rebuilding efforts after the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.

The campaign is part of the RbD Lab “Youth Voices Rising: Recovery and Resilience in Wood Buffalo” action research project, funded by the Canadian Red Cross. The campaign timing aligns with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo general elections so local decision makers can hear ideas from youth, which supports young people to have a stronger role in the conversation and policy decisions affecting them.

“Young people may be reluctant to share their views in a formal setting,” says RbD researcher Dr. Tamara Plush. “Creative art, as seen in the campaign, not only serves as a catalyst for understanding and amplifying youth concerns, but the narratives can evoke powerful emotional reactions which may be the spark needed for action.”

 Youth aged 14 to 24 living in the Wood Buffalo region can participate via the @YouthVoicesWB Facebook, Instagram or YouTube using art, photos, video, song, poetry, theatre, dance or other creative media or by joining the online conversation. Already, youth are engaging with original songs, photography, poetry, talks, art installations, drawings, via sticky note walls, etc. For example, in her song Hey Hey Hey, Hannah recently sang: “I want streets with cafes and places that bind. Music and arts, and curious minds… I want waterfront not development… I want opportunities for you and me; changes that I want to see. Hey hey hey listen to me. I’m not silent. I’m just not being heard… Things can be better here, I’m sure… Things will be better here, I’m sure…”

The campaign highlights the importance of youths’ perspective on disaster recovery and rebuilding and supports ongoing conversations and actions.

“When it affects us, it should involve us,” says Pamela, a 16-year-old campaign participant. “We’re the future generation. We’re going to be here making the decisions next. How are you going to make our world better for us and our children and their children if you don’t give us the opportunity?”

YouthVoicesWB runs until Oct. 27, 2017.

(Article credit to Royal Roads University and the RbD Lab)

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Building a resilient Calgary

The RbD team and youth involved in the Alberta Resilient Communities (ARC) research project participated as exhibitors in the Mayor’s Environment Expo. The annual event, hosted by the City of Calgary, was held for three days in June at the Calgary Municipality Building, gathering over 5000 students, families, and community members to celebrate environmental education.

ARC Youth Participants
Kennedy, Deborah, Marcus, & Ozzy

RbD and ARC hosted multiple interactive booths showcasing youth-driven resilience initiatives. These projects focus on creative ways local youth are contributing to establish more resilient communities.

The RbD team also organized a booth asking participating youth and children to identify people, places, and activities that support their personal resilience, and the ways they contribute to the resilience and sustainability of their communities and families. As a result, the structure is displayed outside of the City’s Office of Resilience in Calgary.

Resilient Calgary Structure
Kennedy, Tiffany, Robin, Marcus, Rhyan, Deborah, & Ozzy

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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