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Understanding Community Resilience Through Collaboration (Co-authored blog)

Following on from a collaborative workshop hosted by the University of Queensland, this blog has been co-authored by the University of Queensland’s Prof. Helen Ross and Prof. Paul Turnbull, the University of Vienna’s  Dr Gabriele Weichart  and Jelenko Dragisic,

On Tuesday 8 October 2013, the University of Queensland hosted a collaborative inter-disciplinary workshop to explore community resilience with experts in the development, design and management of policies and program strengthening communities’ adaptive capabilities in the context of rapid change and disastrous events.

The workshop attracted a diverse range of researchers and practitioners across many disciplines in an attempt to aggregate knowledge, experience and approaches as a way of drawing together the very different paradigms of resilience coming from ecology, the social sciences and disaster management, and exploring collaborative capacities. A signature feature of the workshop was the mixture of approaches from disciplines across the spectrum including history, geography, environmental studies, design, policy, sociology, anthropology, economics and ecology.

WS-Resilience_Poster WS-Resilience_Poster

Enthusiastic, concise presentations, followed by dynamic discussion, created a sense of urgency in respect of the capacity for better collaboration by amplifying the research and practical work completed in the area of resilience in Australia to date.

The participants strongly endorsed the view that better integration of ecological, social, economic, historical and cultural facets would pave the way for development of resilience beyond the point of disaster management. Further, much more clarity is needed on the meanings of ‘resilience’, and ‘community’, in order to support the development of ‘community resilience’ more strategically through capacity building and other interventions.

A strong view shared by most of the participants was the concern regarding long term sustainability of the general public’s overt reliance on government intervention at the point of disasters.  The concern, which has also recently been explored in a number of reports, is that a balance between investment in resilience and recovery may not be as productive with a renewed strategy.

Many participants were also very supportive of the idea of reconceptualising resilience as a trajectory of growth, rather than a return to former system states. This view then affords broader collaboration with the private sector, whose role in developing new futures within a resilience approach could be increased in a strategic way.

The role of social media, ICT and emerging technologies and trends was also identified as a vital component for better integration in resilience building.

The University of Queensland is exploring strategies to create an approach that would enable scalable collaborative action that would bring best research and practice into coherent interplay, thus forming a basis for better informed policy, better developed programs and, ultimately, a more resilient society.

For more about the workshop contact:

Prof Paul Turnbull:p.turnbull1@uq.edu.au

Prof Helen Ross: Helen.Ross@uq.edu.au; 0408-195324.

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4 replies »

    • Hi John. As Helen says we haven’t recorded results at this stage. Our main focus was getting interested folks at UQ and practitioners together to start a conversation which we hope will continue with beneficial results. However, it may be possible for me to find time to go through notes we took over the next week or two (this time of the year my students need major assignments and theses read. If I can do that, I;ll post my impressions of what we discussed and felt we might usefully further explore.

    • Hi John. As Helen says we haven’t recorded results at this stage. Our main focus was getting interested folks at UQ and practitioners together to start a conversation which we hope will continue with beneficial results. However, it may be possible for me to find time to go through notes we took over the next week or two (this time of the year my students need major assignments and theses read. If I can do that, I’ll post my impressions of what we discussed and felt we might usefully further explore.

  1. Hi John, thanks for the interest. We haven’t recorded results at this stage, as it was a getting-to-know session, and Jelenko’s summary is the most we have planned to record (so far). If we do put anything together for a longer report we’ll let everyone know through this blog. I’m also happy to answer questions via Helen.Ross@uq.edu.au, or to share the program.

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