Narratives of Risk & Resilience

Often, good science does not reach the intended audience or make expected social impact. The results can lead to a breakdown of trust, undermining effective leadership and communication. By listening, building relationships, and developing participatory research processes, we can move towards greater trust in both the message’s source and content.

FIBER seeks to achieve social impact through engagement, communication and advocacy. Faculty are involved in harnessing the power of storytelling and narrative to reach diverse audiences to enhance built environment research but are also undertaking various studies into narrative, language and how people understand and behave in response to risk. Our guiding premise is that we must first learn the language of our target audiences and listen to their stories and narratives that speak to experiences of disaster risk on the ground.

Among other efforts to enrich and focus the public discourse on disasters, risk and society is the weekly podcast Disasters: Deconstructed, produced within FIBER. The podcast is approaching 20,000 downloads and is negotiating a partnership for season 3 with Save the Children.

FIBER successfully obtained funding from the UF Consortium for Trust in Media and Communications to support a 2-year post-doctoral scholar (a behavioral social psychologist starting in July 2020). This project links FIBER to the broader UF community studying trust through the Consortium and in particular, will allow FIBER faculty to expand the experimental work being done at the interface of disaster studies and social psychology. Investigators involved in this theme are interested in how language/narrative/story about disasters is affected and affects trust between producers of knowledge and those experiencing risk.

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