Changing Landscapes SVG – Re-imagining the Red Zone Exhibition, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Changing Landscapes SVG is a recovery project that focuses on North Windward Communities in St. Vincent. The project aimed to engage participants in observing and documenting changes in their environment using a citizen science approach. Applying photography as a medium and sensors for measuring rainfall, the project incorporates a participatory storytelling approach to empower and support the recovery of communities returning to the Red Zone after the eruption.
Workshops with local photographers were conducted from October to November 2021 to introduce a group (inclusive of communities north of the Rabacca River), to basic photography and storytelling. The group also engaged with scientists from UWI Seismic and the University of East Anglia to share motivations for the project and the value of the community’s perspective in understanding lahars. Equipped with digital cameras, a series of community walks were conducted from October 2021 to February 2022 and participants began their journey in visual storytelling and citizen science. The walks also served to identify sites used to install 5 rain gauges for measuring rainfall in the upper valleys of each community. Participants were encouraged to express and capture challenges and changes they experienced in their communities since returning home to the Red Zone. Rain Gauges have been installed in locations stretching from Jacob’s Well (on La Soufriere volcano), to Fancy. These are managed and monitored by the community participants with support from the SRC and project partners.
A launch of the exhibit occurred on April 4th at the National Trust Building, Kingstown and ran until the 8th. The exhibit then moved to the Windward village on Sandy Bay and opened with cultural events and presentations on Saturday 9th April, 2022. The exhibition remains up until April 22nd and persons are encouraged to visit the Red Zone and view the amazing work done by community members on this project.
Through this mode of Citizen Science, we emphasize the importance of community knowledge and participation in data collection and knowledge generation. In Re-Imagining a future for themselves, the Changing Landscapes project both promote a new means of knowledge production and is a vehicle for community engagement for risk reduction and recovery.
Children from the village viewing photos at the exhibit in Sandy Bay
Photo credit: Monique Johnson & Prof Robertson, UWI-SRC/Nadia Huggins