Showing and growing community resilience in Theodore : community based participatory research project into community resilience in the wake of the 2010/11 floods project
datasetposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Wendy Madsen, Yvonne Toft, Catherine O'Mullan, Shane Hopkinson, Lisa Bricknell, N Dunk-Andrews, Susan Rockloff, Matthew Rockloff
In recent years, a number of small and large communities around Australia and internationally, have had to learn to deal with the trauma associated with natural disasters. This Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project explores community resilience after flooding in the township of Theodore, a small rural town in Queensland that was evacuated twice during the 2010-2011 summer. Community resilience is now emerging as a key factor in determining how people deal with stressful situations both in the short and long term. While much of the research to date has considered community resilience from the perspective of a collective of individuals’ resilience, it is becoming evident that collective community resilience is more than a sum of the resilience of individuals (Hegney et al 2007; Mukota & Muhajarine 2005; Bava et al 2010). Colten, Kates and Laska (2008, p. 38) define community resilience as the ability of communities to ‘rebound from disaster and reduce long-term vulnerability, thus moving toward more sustainable footing’. Community resilience can only be developed as a whole of community learning activity through active citizenry and solid social networks of community groups (Bourgon 2010). The ‘Showing and Growing Community Resilience in Theodore’ project uses photovoice to gather the first stage of data which focuses on the meaning the floods had for residents in regards to community resilience, associated aspects of vulnerability and risk perception. Residents provide photographs as a means of telling their stories. Consistent with CBPR, researchers work with participants to analyse these photographs to draw out a collective meaning for the community, as well as to collaboratively identify ways forward for the residents of Theodore to build a stronger community. As a CBPR project, the researchers and community work together at all stages of the data collection and analysis in a process whereby each learns from one another (Minkler & Wallerstein 2008). Using an adaptation of Mukota and Muhajarine’s (2005) conceptual framework, the researchers and community members can systematically work through the contextual, structural, social and interpersonal factors that promote and inhibit community resilience. The aim is to better understand how to grow community resilience to natural disasters and to enable a stronger community into the future.