After a series of public events in 2016, the CARISMAND project advanced to the next project cycle of events starting with a Second Stakeholder Assembly. The event took place in Rome on 27 and 28 February 2017 with the special support of the Civil Protection of Municipality of Florence, a partner in the CARISMAND Project.
The Second Stakeholder Assembly saw the participation of nearly 60 delegates working in the field of disaster management and crisis response within different Italian organisations: national, regional, and municipal governance, civil protection, firefighting and police departments, research institutes and universities, national associations, and others.
The first day of the Stakeholder Assembly started with a project introduction and continued with a group discussion session focusing on the topic of “Culture and Risk”. In six focus groups, the conference delegates shared their practical experience of cultural aspects in disaster communication between practitioners and citizens. Key results of the discussions were later presented and the findings were further developed in a panel discussion. During the plenary session stakeholders heard from Dr Noellie Brockdorff and Dr Sandra Appleby-Arnold from the University of Malta who presented a summary of the citizens’ perspective gained through the two Citizen Summits held previously in Bucharest and Malta (July 2016). The University of Malta is CARISMAND partner responsible for the design and analysis of citizen summits and stakeholder assemblies.
An afternoon group discussion session gathered participants back in their focus groups to discuss issues of “Media Cultures and Disasters” and explore the usefulness, or potential limitations, of social media and mobile phone applications in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
The use of mobile phone applications in disasters, and particularly in the events of earthquakes, continued to be central in the morning plenary session of the second day of the conference. Keynote speaker on this topic was Remy Bossu from the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre who presented valuable insights and experience on: “Smartphones, Apps and Emergency Management: Lessons Learnt from Earthquakes”. Mr Bossu and his team have been pioneering the concept of “citizen seismology“ allowing eyewitnesses to share their observations (testimonies, pictures, videos, comments) on earthquake’s effects through crowdsourcing techniques and innovative real time analysis of website traffic.
Panel sessions and focus group discussions then progressed towards other key considerations regarding the role of culture in disasters, summarised under the theme “Cultures, Communities, and Trust”. Participants debated the issues of social cohesion and social corrosion which were later addressed again in the afternoon panel discussion.
The closing presentation at the conference - “Cultures, Social Actors, and Empowerment in Local Communities” - was given by Gabriele Quinti from the Laboratory of Citizenship Sciences (Laboratorio di Scienze della Cittadinanza). The institute’s activities, based on a sociological approach, are focused on the radical changes affecting models of governance in contemporary societies in which knowledge is a strategic factor of growth and development and where new forms of human agency emerge.
CARISMAND will very soon return to Rome for the next event planned in the project activities – the Third Citizen Summit in June 2017. You can follow updates on CARISMAND website: www.carismand.eu.
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