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.
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.