Youth Creating Disaster Recovery: A Participatory Action Research Project

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:00 PM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Robin S. COX , School of Humanitarian Studies, Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC, Canada
Lori PEEK , Colorado State University, CO
Jennifer TOBIN-GURLEY , Colorado State University, CO
Youth Creating Disaster Recovery (YCDR) is a participatory action research project designed to learn about disaster recovery from the perspectives of youth. Moreover, YCDR focuses on the potential of youth to act as powerful catalysts for change following disasters.

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the project has completed its first year of fieldwork in Joplin, Missouri and Slave Lake, Alberta. Both communities experienced recent exposure to catastrophic disasters. On May 16, 2011, one third of Slave Lake was destroyed by a wildfire. Less than a week later, on May 22, 2011, Joplin was devastated by a powerful EF-5 tornado.

YCDR, a collaboration of Royal Roads and Colorado State Universities, uses participatory and creative research methodologies to elicit and explore the perspectives of disaster affected youth in the focal communities. The goal is to contribute to and refine existing socio-ecological theories of disaster recovery and generate evidence-informed, inclusive, and youth-centered approaches to disaster recovery and risk reduction practices and policies. YCDR is committed to empowering disaster-affected youth through this research and the development of peer-to-peer networking opportunities and a North American interactive web-based gallery dedicated to their creative stories of their disaster and recovery experiences.

In this presentation, we will provide an overview of the project and share some of the outputs (photo-stories, videos, songs, poems, etc.) created by the youth participants. We will highlight some of the early findings centered around four research questions: 1.What people and places helped youth to recover after disaster? 2. What activities/ actions were important to youth after disaster? 3. How did youth contribute to their own and to others’ recovery? 4. What delayed or hindered the recovery of youth and what could be done to overcome those barriers?