Forming radical collaborations to address climate and disaster risk: The Understanding Risk Field Lab
As an all-of-society challenge, addressing climate and disaster risk issues will require diverse participation and collaboration across boundaries of all sorts, whether they be disciplinary, national, professional, cultural, age, etc. Yet forming effective collaborations across these diverse boundaries is difficult and rare. With the support of the Understanding Risk community and World Bank Disaster Risk Financing program, we organized a radical “unconference” event, the Understanding Risk Field Lab, which took place over four weeks in June 2019.
During this time over 150 artists, scientists, engineers, designers, software developers, cartographers, non-profit staff, university researchers, government officials, and citizens gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand to work together on projects related to urban flooding. The event’s schedule and organization was emergent and driven by attendees, with only three simple rules for participation:
(1) Make something,
(2) Document it, and
(3) Contribute to the community.
Together over this period, participants produced a body of work that included gallery-quality art, machine learning algorithms, aerial imagery, policy notes, maps created in collaboration with residents of the city, high tech ways of communicating flood risk, and experimental writing forms. More information including snapshots of outcomes can be found on the event website: https://urfieldlab.com/
During this Focus Day event, organizers and participants of the UR Field Lab will showcase the process and results of the month-long unconference, and launch a new tool-kit for designing such an unconference event. The second part of the session will be dedicated to a similar collaborative, participant-led experience, aiming to generate new ideas for future unconferences. True to the Field Lab model, the outcomes of the Focus Day event will be emergent and driven by attendees. Expected outcomes might include drafts proposals for new collaborative events (e.g. UR Field Lab 2.0), new partnerships around specific topics of interest to the UR community, outline of collaborative art pieces, etc.
Organizer: Earth Observatory of Singapore
Partner Organizations: GFDRR World Bank Disaster Risk Financing Program