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Geoscience Communication An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  11 Mar 2020

11 Mar 2020

Review status
This preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Creative practice as a potential tool to build drought and flood resilience in the Global South

Anne F. Van Loon1, Imogen Lester-Moseley2, Melanie Rohse3, Phil Jones2, and Rosie Day2 Anne F. Van Loon et al.
  • 1Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1087, 1081 HV Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • 2School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  • 3Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK

Abstract. Global South communities are increasingly exposed and vulnerable to natural hazards such as floods and droughts. Preparing for future extremes requires including diverse knowledges, elevating under-represented voices, thinking out of the box for possible solutions, enhancing communication between diverse groups, and instigating organisational and behavioural change. In this study we investigate whether artistic and creative processes could support Global South communities in improving their preparedness to extremes. A literature review of 267 journal articles published between 2000 and 2018 showed that there is a growing body of research on using creative practice in environmental issues. Art and creativity are for example often used for raising awareness of climate change and for encouraging behavioural change in relation to health issues. Research using creative practice to increase resilience to natural hazards, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, floods and droughts is, however, still very rare. An opportunity exists to better understand the application of the wide range of creative methods currently used for environmental and health-related issues also to enhance resilience to droughts and floods. We tested this in a pilot project in South Africa, in which we designed storytelling workshops to create community narratives about impacts of and preparedness for future drought. These narratives were filmed and edited and shared both with the community and governance actors. Although this was a short pilot project and the effects have not been thoroughly researched, we see potential for these kind of methodologies. We noticed that the approach allowed people to imagine future droughts and that it opened up conversation about potential adaptation measures. Based on the literature and pilot study we call for more research on the use of creative practice in building resilience to extreme events. It is especially important to investigate how the use of creative methods compares to other methods, and how effective creative practice is to make a difference, either in people’s own behaviour or in communicating people's needs to decision makers.

Anne F. Van Loon et al.

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Anne F. Van Loon et al.

Anne F. Van Loon et al.


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