Unpacking Complexity Workshop

In conjunctions with this year’s National Emergency Management Conference in May, members of the Centre involved with QuakeCoRE, hosted a couple of workshops. The first took place the day prior to the conference and was jointly hosted by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Australia, and Fire and Emergency New Zealand.

The workshop took place in the Waterfront Room at Mac’s Function Centre on Taranaki Street in the Wellington CBD. This venue proved to be a great space showcasing a spectacular view of the harbour out of the wall length window. This event also provided a beneficial warm up for the National Emergency Management conference, held next door at Te Papa, that many speakers and attendees alike would go on to attend over the following 2 days.

Titled ‘Unpacking Complexity: The Social Science of Emergencies, Disasters and Resilience,’ the premise for the collaboration was primary to explore the wide array of research undertaken within this topic area, and the potential opportunities for further bilateral collaboration across New Zealand and Australia. It also operated as a wider discussion around where the future of this space lies in relation to 2 key topics:

  • community education and engagement
  • warnings in times of emergencies

From here, each of these topics was further split into 2 panel discussions:

‘Disaster resilience education for young people’, and ‘hazards, culture and indigenous communities’ formed the conversation topics for ‘community education and engagement,’ while ‘planning and communicating the message,’ and community understanding and response to warnings and alerts’ rounded out the discussion on ‘warnings in times of emergencies.’

The team were lucky enough to have a mixture of both New Zealanders and Australians on each panel which greatly highlighted some similarities, and also unique differences among panellist discussions that were relative to their climate.

With around 60 attendees, including a wide range of individuals from the likes of local government, central government, science/research, private, and health and emergency services, each Q and A session provided an opportunity for the audience to delve right into the discussion. This was also useful for panellists, in terms of potentially highlighting new directions for further research.

The overarching goal for this event was to holistically showcase the role of evidence informed practice, and vice versa, the role of practice in informing evidence. The latter additionally sees co-collaboration embraced to develop work streams, in conjunction with relevant end users such as agencies and stakeholders. Organisers hoped that this was a key takeaway message.