Storytelling for Resilience: Communicating Systemic Approaches to Climate Change

This timely and necessary programme brings together climate change adaptation specialists from across the natural and social sciences.  It identifies two central challenges for increasing resilience to extreme events: to make complex research results more accessible and tractable for decision-makers, and to acknowledge that decision-makers include the general public as they self-organise and respond to new local challenges, in parallel with policy and practice.  To address these challenges, it proposes a novel approach: storytelling for climate change adaptation.  Using state-of-the-art storytelling training, it will bring a fresh set of communication and engagement skills to climate change researchers and practitioners.  These skills will be applied by the wider community of climate change professionals, enhancing knowledge exchange activities.  It aims to demonstrate the efficacy of storytelling in bringing about real-world impact, through application to a specific case study with a flood-prone community.

Programme Team:

Melissa Bedinger (Heriot-Watt University) – Ergonomics, Socio-technical Systems and Climate Change
Esther Carmen (University of Dundee) – Science Policy and Practice Interfaces, Community Resilience
Professor Lindsay Beevers (Heriot-Watt University) – Civil Engineering and Water Management
Ioan Fazey (University of Dundee) – Environmental Change and Human Resilience
Alanah Knibb (Freelance Illustrator) – Art, Graphic Novels and Comics, Science Communication
Julia Bentz (University of Lisbon) – Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Economics
Ingrid Coninx (Wageningen University) – Climate Adaptation and Policy Implementation Gaps

Developing Confident Life Stories about Child Bereavement: Normalising and Supporting Bereavement Experiences through Storytelling and Comics

This programme will explore the impact of bereavement on young people, supporting them to construct and represent their own stories through the medium of comics.  More than 75% of young people experience the death of someone close, with the figure even higher for vulnerable children.  Given the impacts of bereavement on wellbeing, including psychological health and educational achievement, this is a crucial issue.  While recent Scottish policy emphasises developing discourse and support, a culture of silence around bereavement remains.  Comics are an ideal medium for storytelling, with the combination of image and text providing an accessible creative space for expression.  The process of creating comics helps generate confident life stories, which will be used to support professionals and carers, inform national policy on childhood bereavement, and normalise discussions of bereavement more generally.

Programme Team:

Dr Golnar Nabizadeh (University of Dundee) – Comics and Visual Literacy
Dr Susan Rasmussen (University of Strathclyde) – Health Psychology
Professor Christopher Murray (University of Dundee) – Comic Studies
Professor Divya Jindal-Snape (University of Dundee) – Chair of Education, Inclusion and Life Transitions
Dr Damon Herd (Dundee Comics Creative Space) – Autobiographical Comics and Comics Performance
Philip Vaughn (Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design) – Practice and Production in Animation
Dr Sally Paul (University of Strathclyde) – Public Health, Death, Dying and Bereavement
Judith Furnival (CELCIS) – Residential Childcare, Suicide and Care Leavers
Nina Vaswani (CYCJ) – Youth Justice, Bereavement and Loss

Image: Jindal-Snape, D et al.  Fibromyalgia and Us. UniVerse, 2017.