The 2020 Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop is over already. I don’t know about you, but it went by much faster for me this year. It’s always one of the best events each year for bringing together researchers and practitioners who work to reduce natural hazard impacts and disaster risk. For the first time, the workshop was held remotely. If you weren’t able to attend, don’t worry. We can help you visualize those inspiring presentations and discussions through murals.

While it wasn’t quite the same, it was a complete success. Most importantly–to Impact360–researchers and practitioners were still able to engage with each other and share their experiences or knowledge, whether as panelists or in the surprisingly dynamic chats on the side during the sessions.

For those who watched the keynote and plenaries, I’m sure some memorable moments and thoughts have stuck with you. (The most notable plenary for me was Culturally Relevant, Community Guided, and Scientifically Informed—Setting a Vision for Action.)  If your memories are already fading, let us refresh them with this year’s murals. 

This was the second year that Impact360 Alliance sponsored the workshop to have Alece Birnbach from Graphic Recording Studio create real-time visual murals of the keynote, plenaries, and the session we organized. 

Last year, these murals visualized the convergence of research and practice and physically brought researchers and practitioners together as a backdrop for so many photos. This year we could only share the murals over social media and presentations, but based on your shares, likes, and comments, they were just as popular and compelling.

I have two favorite murals this year. 

This first is the mural created during the session about the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The memory of the catastrophe is so heartbreaking. The lessons and findings are so critical (and not heeded enough). I spent so much time yesterday looking through the mural, inspired to connect what Alece captured to my own understanding and experiences. Much is represented in that mural; it’s an amazing piece of art and an evocative way of capturing insights about the disaster.

My other favorite mural is the one Alece created based on workshop attendees’ many ideas (and anyone following the workshop hashtag). We asked you three questions about how you see the world’s condition right now, what you hope for the world, and steps our community can take to realize that hope. Alece synthesized your responses to create this thought-provoking participatory mural. Her mural represents a surprising breadth of the ideas you shared.

I went through most of your ideas, and it gave me a heavy and hopeful feeling. Our community collectively has such a deep understanding of the vulnerabilities and risks in our world right now and an uplifting and ambitious vision of how to address those issues. I hope the participatory mural from this year’s workshop helps us reflect on where we are, where we can go, and how we can work together as a community of researchers and practitioners to get there.

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