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.
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.
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.
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.
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.