ResiliencebyDesign Open House

The Lab is excited to announce our Open House event and you are warmly invited to attend!

The ResiliencebyDesign Lab’s Open House event at the Royal Roads University Library will run on April 17th, from 11:30am to 2:30pm, with opening remarks at 12:15pm. We will be showcasing the Lab’s work in areas of climate change, youth resilience and transformative learning through active displays, including a gallery walk through. The Lab’s work includes projects working with youth in crisis in communities from Wood Buffalo, Alberta to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

Faculty, staff, students, and the public are welcome. There will be snacks provided. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you cannot attend the Open House event, you can visit the exhibition at any time the library is open from April 16th to May 31st.

Theory of Change Workshop

Mid-February, the ResiliencebyDesign Research Lab ran a one and a half day Theory of Change Workshop at Royal Roads University to launch their new project, Youth-Centric Social Innovation: Gen Z and Climate Change. The session brought together a diverse group of youth and adult movers, shakers, change makers, and innovators who are invested in imagining what enlivening, inspiring, and transformative engagement and learning with youth might look like. Participants collectively explored the vision for the project, and discussed strategies, processes and activities that would support youth engagement in Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). Desired changes (outcomes) for the project were identified and captured using the Theory of Change framework, and the project team will take these away for refinement and further development of a Theory of Change model for the project. The team intends to keep workshop participants informed about the research process as it unfolds, and hopes that many will choose to stay engaged as knowledge mobilizers, influencers, advisors, and active partners.

Elder Shirley Alphonse from the T’Sou-ke    Nation welcomes participants.

The workshop was opened on February 22nd with a welcome and prayer from Elder Shirley Alphonse from the T’Sou-ke Nation. Participants then began getting to know each other with an an affiliation exercise, where they gathered in designated areas of the room according to criteria they most identify with (i.e. the primary context you work and play in – youth engagement/ climate change/ transformative learning/technology and innovation), and had a conversation with others who identify similarly. Afterwards, pairs engaged in dyad conversations about why youth engagement and transformative learning are important, and what inspires them to contribute. The group then reconvened in a circle and introduced their partner and shared highlights from their conversations.

Following this, Robin Cox the Director of the RbD Lab and Cheryl Heykoop, an Assistant Professor in School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University and RbD Lab member, gave an overview of the ResiliencebyDesign Lab approach. Then Brian Belcher, Canada Research Chair in Sustainability Research Effectiveness, introduced the Theory of Change process and outcome mapping framework, which will be used to design the project.

Participants reflecting on the the future of youth engagement and what transformative learning means to them.

Later that day, participants were asked to reflect on what the future of youth engagement and transformative learning means to them, and choose an image (from a selection of visual cards laid out in the adjoining room) that represented the future they were envisioning. In breakout  groups they had conversations about the images, and created posters that reflected this future. Each table then described their vision to the larger group with poster presentations.

                 Visual map of the participant’s overnight reflections.

Day two of the workshop commenced with a moment of silence for Tina Fontaine and her family, in recognition of the not guilty verdict delivered the previous day in her murder trial. Elder Shirley Alphonse then welcomed participants and shared a prayer that was filled with appreciation for the connection between the land and people. Participants were then invited to share their overnight reflections by creating a story at their table, inspired by Story Cubes. A gallery walk of the graphic recordings followed, which prompted a meaningful discussion about the importance of emphasizing ancestral knowledge and communicating with youth on their own terms when designing project activities.

Next, Brian presented the emerging Theory of Change for the project, with potential project outcomes in the model under Sphere of Control (the operational environment), Sphere of Influence (people the project works with and through) or Sphere of Interest (social, economic and environmental benefits). He also outlined the emerging impact pathways for the project:

Brian Belcher presents on the emerging theory of change.

  • Direct Engagement;
  • Research/Learning from Experience;
  • Policy/Engagement/Influence;
  • Education

 

With the information about the emerging Theory of Change for the project in mind, participants broke out into groups, based on the impact pathways, to discuss what types of activities the project can do, who we should involve, and what knowledge and relationships can be fostered through the project.

In closing the workshop Robin invited participants to write an action they are committed to taking on a postcard, which will be mailed to them in a few months as a way of connecting them back to the inspiration they felt in the session. Robin discussed the steps to follow the workshop, then the group gathered together in a circle. Tossing a ball of yarn from person to person, a web was created as everyone shared their parting thoughts, and appreciation for the significant connection and learning that had taken place in their time together.

                                            Remarks shared in the closing circle.

The RbD Lab worked with Get the Picture and specifically, Visual Map Maker/Graphic Recorder Lisa Edward to create the powerful visual maps throughout the workshop. Get The Picture is a leading visual facilitation and recording consultancy that partners with organizations around the world to help them visualize and launch into their desired futures. The rich, engaging communication experiences Get The Picture provides result in highly productive dialogue, shared understanding, alignment and high-quality decisions. Learn more about them here: http://getthepicture.ca/

Local community group takes over RbD Lab #YouthVoicesWB brand as Social Media Hub

The ResiliencebyDesign (RbD) Lab at Royal Roads University launched the #YouthVoicesWB (https://resiliencebydesign.com/youthvoiceswb/) social media campaign Sept. 2017 in northern Alberta to champion youth ideas for a better community after the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire disaster. The campaign applied creative arts and action research as part of the “Youth Voices Rising: Recovery and Resilience in Wood Buffalo” project, funded by the Canadian Red Cross. The research specifically explores how youth voice can be strengthened during and after disaster in recovery response and planning (https://crossroads.royalroads.ca/news/rbd-lab-partners-give-youth-ideas-flight)

The RbD Lab strategically used #YouthVoiceWB as a process to explore, amplify and promote youth voice in the community through creative arts. For instance, the campaign asked youth age 14-24: “What would you do to make your community better?”  Nearly 400 youth responded to the question through song, surveys, sticky notes, photography, poetry, art and more. The RbD Lab team is now analyzing the findings and connecting youth and their ideas to local decision-makers. The researchers also hoped the campaign could ignite ways to sustain youth voice and support their recovery needs in Wood Buffalo beyond the project timeline, and explored possibilities.

 

Hannah, a youth community member, performs her original poem “Shattered Vase” about mental health and wellbeing at Talent Show connected to YouthVoicesWB.

“In the campaign, young people said they wanted own digital space to not only know what’s happening in the community for youth, but as a ‘one-stop-shop’ to find extra support for drug abuse and domestic violence or to respond to suicidal thoughts,” said Dr. Tamara Plush, Lead YVR Researcher at the RbD Lab. “In support, we were fortunate to connect with Some Other Solutions in Fort McMurray to take over #YouthVoicesWB in February; and they are now developing their own strategy of how they will operate it as a Social Media Hub for youth.”

Some Other Solutions share their first YouthVoicesWB Instagram post.

#YouthVoicesWB is currently active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Some Other Solutions (SOS) plans to tie #YouthVoicesWB into their youth programs and mentorships in schools, as well as connect to schools and other youth-serving social profits and organizations in the region. They also have plans to work with youth to build an app for youth events and access to crisis resources.

According to Tamara, the shift of #YouthVoicesWB as a research project to that of a community-based Social Media Hub is both exciting and essential. “We are thrilled the brand will continue with SOS because many youth talked about the need for adult mentorships, health and wellness support, and crisis intervention. These are core areas for SOS, so the transition feels like the natural progression of #YouthVoicesWB in the community.”

Jason King, SOS Executive Director, agrees and laid out the SOS vision for the Social Media Hub. “What I like about #YouthVoicesWB is that it gives opportunity for youth to be heard in our community. Not just in what they see but in what they do,” he said. “We see the vision of #YouthVoicesWB as showcasing the authentic and uncensored voice of youth. We want to capture what people are saying and what place they are speaking from. We want to show that they are leaders and holders of the community.”

To learn more about the role of Some Other Solutions in Wood Buffalo, visit their website at https://someothersolutions.ca; and follow #YouthVoicesWB across all social media platforms to watch how SOS continues to champion Wood Buffalo youth voice.

 

Dr. Robin Cox talks Disaster Preparedness on CHEK News

On January 23nd, 2017, many Southern Vancouver Island residents were awoken to a Tsunami warning at 3:00am following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Alaska. However, many residents slept through the alert, if they were alerted at all. Dr. Robin Cox, Director of the RbD Lab spoke with CHEK news about the importance of preparedness in the event of an earthquake or tsunami, both at the individual and policy level.

In interviews, Dr. Cox raised the point that while the systems that are in place work, we need to do more to be prepared for these types of events. She suggests having an emergency kit at home  but to also consider having one in your vehicle or at work as well. Beyond this, Dr. Cox reminds us that being prepared “includes having emergency kits, having a plan, knowing where to evacuate to, and knowing what sort of risk areas [you’re] in.”

While sirens were used to alert residents in different parts of Vancouver Island, adding more sirens to risk areas may be a beneficial step forward following this tsunami scare. As Dr. Cox explains, “We have many examples in other parts of the province and in the world where sirens are used really effectively to warn people. They have to be accompanied by education and awareness campaigns so people understand what the sirens are for and what to do in response to them.”

Dr. Cox also highlights that the fear of panic around implementing sirens or alert systems actually falls into a myth as to how people typically respond to disaster. As she explains, “We do know that in disasters, most people do not panic, there’s not this movie version of mass panic when a disaster happens. People tend to help each other, they tend to listen to orders and information when they have it.” Therefore, including information or education awareness with the implementation of siren and alert systems could be a positive step forward on Vancouver Island, following this tsunami scare.

You can see the full versions of Dr. Robin Cox’s interviews by clicking the following links;

https://www.cheknews.ca/5pm-newscast-january-28-2018-412468/ (Interview starting at 28:50)

https://www.cheknews.ca/tsunami-warning-sparks-concern-preparedness-411059/

 

 

 

Fort McMurray Talent Showcase Champions Youth Voice

As part of the RbD Lab “Youth Voices Rising” (YVR) project, the District Recording Studio, 91,1 The Bridge and the YouthVoicesWB campaign recently presented a youth talent showcase in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The event included 10 youth performers, a talk by RbD Lab Research Assistants Maike and Aishwarya, a presentation from 3 Things Wood Buffalo, and a visit by the Mayor Don Scott and Councillor Jeff Peddle. The event wrapped up the month-long, #YouthVoicesWB social media campaign and action research project that championed young people creatively answering the question: What would you do to make your community better? See the amazing performances—and the Mayor’s and Councillor’s talks—on the Shaw TV YouTube Site: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLARu0rgVPBmwEI5AmSxEpc8FDfkwdqDrU.

Maike, a local Research Assistant, wrote a blog to share her impressions of the fun and inspiring evening:

Pizza, Hipster-Lounge Atmosphere, Talented Youth and Mayor Don Scott

By Maike-Alexandra Schmieding, RbD Lab Research Assistant, Youth Voices Rising

On Nov 10th, at 6.30pm, around 75 youth gathered at the Kingstreet Theatre at Composite High School to perform their songs, poems and stories. The youth had the chance to perform their art through a cooperation of the YouthVoicesWB campaign, the District Recording Studio and 91.1 The Bridge.

I was blown away by the talent and professionalism of the youth performing. Being 16, and sometimes even younger, going on that stage takes courage. And the youth rocked it. The atmosphere was amazing. I felt like I stepped into a hip New York underground lounge. The youth had great messages, too, for making their community better, especially as the area recovers from the 2016 wildfire disaster. For example, Shekinah, age 15, sang a song called “Recovery” with the lyrics: “There’s something about this town that nobody sees. No matter what tries to bring you down, you can’t be beat.  And the fire that burnt down all your hopes and dreams. You came back twice as strong ready to take on anything… If I could do something to make this place any better. I would bring back the people that stuck together. Our hearts stayed strong we’ll carry on forever. It’s all a part of our recovery.”

Wow – what a beautiful message! And what a great venue too. I want to give a special shout out to the people from the District Recording Studio and 91.1 The Bridge at this point for their amazing work for setting up the stage, and to the Kingstreet Theatre at Composite High School for hosting the event!

Besides all the great youth performers, one of my personal highlights of the night was newly elected RMWB Mayor Don Scott and Councillor Jeff Peddle joining us and listening to young people. Throughout the whole event (and the YouthVoicesWB social media campaign) we asked youth: “What would you do to make your community better?” The answers ranged from wanting a Costco to needing support with bullying, to problems with local transportation and more. In our talk about the YouthVoicesWB campaign, I specifically mentioned the challenges of transportation for youth on stage. Councillor Jeff Peddle approached us right afterwards and showed me his phone. He had messaged a person responsible for transportation in the Municipality to explore the issue further to help local youth!

Our excitement became even greater when Mayor Don Scott spoke to the youth on stage about the transportation problem. As well, he said one of the most inspirational things I have heard until this day (which must mean something, because I’m a teacher, and we really like saying inspirational things!): “Prove them wrong.” Mr. Scott advised the youth to never let anybody tear them down, and to prove people wrong whenever they said that they cannot do “it”—whatever “it” is.

It was also an exceptionally special moment for us when he announced that he would display the Justin Slade Youth Foundation YouthVoicesWB sticky note wall for youth feedback and the amazing art installation of angel wings from the Art Foundry. (Here I am with the wings at the event.) Don Scott said he plans to put them in his office to show everybody the great ideas youth have for the Wood Buffalo region, and to encourage more input by youth. What a great way for youth voices to be shared with the support of the Mayor.

As a new Research Assistant with the Youth Voices Rising project, I loved to hear everybody’s stories and to connect with all the youth. There are some amazing kids out there, and together, we can take the world. In the words of Mayor Don Scott to the youth: “PROVE THEM WRONG!”

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)

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

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.

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.

 

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.”