The Conversation published my article 'UK government’s tiered COVID-19 alert systems are all flawed, warns disaster expert'.
I am delighted to announce the founding of the UCL Warning Research Centre (WRC). The WRC at UCL is unique in bringing together global expertise to explore the role of warnings in managing vulnerabilities, hazards, risks, and disasters. You can find out more here at www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/wrc and a news piece here.
Housed within the Department of Science and Technology Studies, the WRC is an interdepartmental centre focusing on all aspects in relation to warnings for all forms of risks and disasters. Founded in 2020, the WRC brings together expertise already established at UCL with warning expertise at universities globally to work with businesses, government, non-governmental, and intergovernmental organisations to address the growing need for effective warning and alert systems via cutting-edge research, policy guidance, applications, and collaborative expertise. WRC will transform research into warnings and alert solutions by being strongly interdisciplinary and innovative.
An article by Prof Deborah Dixon and I has been published as an Editorial for the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction titled: Early warning systems for pandemics: Lessons learned from natural hazards - please see the full article here.
We discuss the value that lessons identified from warning systems for other natural hazards could have in the development of a more robust pandemic warning system. See all my blog piece here.
Also I am delighted to have published an article on the UK COVID alert level system on my blog page here obtaining over 800 views to date.
I am delighted to announce two new publications:
1) A chapter titled Volcanic Hazards Warnings: Effective Communications of in the Springer Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science (2019) that provides a history of how early warning systems evolved, with a particular focus on volcanic alert and warning systems, and how complexity approaches can help better understand these systems and deliver more effective results.
2) An invited Review Article in the Bulletin of Volanology titled Volcano alert level systems: managing the challenges of effective volcanic crisis communication (2018) that provides an overview of the current state of art of knowledge around volcano alert level systems, and presents a framework to consider the importance and role of communication tools in assisting in the functioning of early warning and alert systems.
Also the Springer Publication 'Observing the Volcano World: Volcano Crisis Communication' has had over 522,00 downloads, making it one of Springers most downloaded publications in its disciplinary field.
March 2019-March 2020
It has been another busy year and two key events happened this month.
First the book launch for the Springer Publication 'Observing the Volcano World: Volcano Crisis Communication' This open access book provides a comprehensive overview of volcanic crisis research, the goal being to establish ways of successfully applying volcanology and to identify areas that need to be addressed for future progress. It shows how volcano crises are managed in practice, and helps to establish best practices. Consequently, the book brings together over 100 authors from all over the globe who work with volcanoes, ranging from observatory volcanologists, disaster practitioners and government officials to NGO-based and government practitioners to address three key aspects of volcanic crises. You can learn more here or watch the launch presentation and debate here.
To launch the book, editors Deanne Bird and Carina Fearnley gave a brief talk on the creation and contents of the book, followed by a panel discussion featuring:
Professor Jenni Barclay - School of Environmental Sciences, UEA
Dr Richard Gordan - Director of the Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre, Bournemouth University
Dr Richard Bretton - University of Bristol
Dr Chris Kilburn - Director of the UCL Hazard Centre, UCL.
The book is available to purchase in hard back, or to download for free via Open Access. For more information, visit the Springer website at: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-44097-2
Cities on Volcanoes conference was held in September 2018 and here I was involved in 3 workshops, running 1 session, and two presentations, mostly on volcano alert level systems, and volcanic art/science collaborations. More soon...
Awarded a small grant by The Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities creative commissions on the theme of creating earth futures. This project aims to create ‘cultural maps’ from a section of the coastline of Orkney using existing data sets and archives, and new materials gathered through the AHRC funded project ‘Orkney: Beside the Ocean of Time’. The project is titled 'Mapping the Sound: charting deep time through new lenses' and involves two trips to the Orkney islands to work collaboratively with Anne Bevan. Fieldwork took place during the Spring and Summer of 2018.
I was awarded an Erskine Teaching Fellowship at Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand from July-September 2017. The Erskine Programme provided a fantastic opportunity to share and exchange teaching practices and pedagogy with the Department of Geological Sciences, particularly within the first year Geohazards module, and the Masters of Disaster Risk and Resilience programme. The department and hazard team has an extraordinary reputation for running highly successful workshops and real-world simulation exercises, both as an educational tool, but also in a professional and research capacity. I also gave the following talks:
New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management ‘Shake, rattle and roll: communicating lethal risks’, 14 September
University of Canterbury (NZ), Department of Geology, ‘Why are advanced tsunami mitigation systems more prone to malfunction?’, 13September
University of Canterbury (NZ), Department of Geography ‘Walking the Sound: Beside the Ocean of Time’, 25 August
Had two pieces published by The Conversation in relation to the Orkney Deep Time project, and the eruption of Mt Agung in Indonesia.
Blog piece published on The Conversation - A glass of whisky could help you get your head around deep time (December 2017)
Blog piece published on The Conversation: Why Mount Agung’s volcanic ash is a particular problem for aircraft (December 2017)
I am delighted to involved in many of the fantastic events at Cities on Volcanoes 9 in Chile, November 2016. For more info please see their website but I am involved in the following events:
S1.8 - Using arts for volcano risk communication (with Ilan Kelman)
S2.9 - Volcano alert level systems: interpreting and managing volcanic crises (with Sally Potter and Annie Winson)
W2 - Inter and transdisciplinary practice (with Victoria Sword-Daniels amongst others)
W3 - Understadning communication products and protocols: volcano alert level systems (with Sally Potter and Annie Winson)
In addition please take a look here for written evidence submitted by UCL’s Department of Science and Technology Studies in response to a House of Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry into how science communication can be improved.
Finally it has been a busy month with the publication of 'Engaging Hashima: Memory Work, Site-Based Affects, and the Possibilities of Interruption' in Geohumanities that can be found here. This paper, co-written with Deborah Dixon and Mark Pendleton is the first output from our AHRC project 'The Future of Ruins: Reclaiming Abandonment and Toxicity on Hashima Island'.
Another sucessful trip to Oman with the wonderful Bournemouth University Disaster Management Centre (BUDMC). It is fantastic to teach key governmental stakeholders with the aim of directly impacting policy development. We are now focusing on the risk of tsuanmi hazards to Oman, which we hope to develop further. To learn more about BUDMC please click here.
In addtion I took a brief trip to Edibnburgh to attend the 'Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Violence' workshop that was a fascinating mix of disciplinary appraches to Deep Time. It was also great to catch up with Nigel Clarke. For more information see the dedicated website here.
Thanks to a fantastic Early Careers Workshop run by the AHRC 'Sciene in Culture' (see May 2015), a grant porposal led by by Niamh Downing (Principal Investigator), Richard Irvine (Co-Investigator), Lourdes Lopez-Merino (Co-Investigator), and Anthony Krus (Co-Investigator) and I was sucessful. The project aims to generate new understandings of the interrelationship between human community, Deep Time and landscape change using an interdisciplinary approach, in which Social Anthropology, Literature, Archaeology, Palaeoecology and Geology, will work together to find innovative ways to investigate and represent time-depth in landscape, using Orkney as a model. See more on the current projects page. Fieldwork starts in July 2016.
In addtion I am now the UCL STS departmental seminar coordinator. Do keep an eye on our website for some amazing events.
During December I was on the fantastic BBC Radio Wales programme 'Science Cafe' Book Club special where I discussed the book ‘Risk Savvy – How To Make Good Decisions’ by Gerd Gigerenzer. You can see more here.
I am delighted to announce that I have started a new post as Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies at UCL and am joining an incredible team in the Department of Science and Technology Studies. I am excited about working with an increadibly dynamic and cutting-edge group of hazard and communication researchers at UCL. Please see more about the department here.
Simon Day and I are excited that our first paper in a series has been published in Natural Hazards journal. Titled 'A classification of mitigation strategies for natural hazards: implications for the understanding of interactions between mitigation strategies' this paper provides some interesting reflections on classifying mitigation strategies, and why this may be valuable to a wide range of stakeholders.
This year I was selected to take part in the fantastic Soapbox Science event in Bristol. Soapbox Science is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women scientists and the science they do. My talk 'What natural disasters will we face in the future? Learning from dinosaurs, ancient civilisations, and rocks!' was given on a soapbox to help transform public areas into an arena for public learning and scientific debate. I have written two blogs as part of these events:
From a job in finance to studying volcanoes: Meet Carina Fearnley - published on Soapbox Science
Never too late to learn: From credit risk to natural disaster risk - published in Womanthology
On the Soapbox.
Photo by Phil Hall
I was fortunate to attend the AHRC early career researcher workshop under the 'Science in Culture' theme of 'The Lived Environment' from 19-21st May at the Royal Society. There were three key aims of the workshop: first, advice on putting together interdisciplinary research projects; second, networking, both with fellow attendees, but also a number of invited speakers and guests; and finally, preparing for the closed call. My blog article 'Living the interdisciplinary researcher’s environment' summarises the event, along wth some photos.
Prof John Grattan and I contributed to the BBC Radio Wales programme 'Science Cafe' on 7th October. The programme focused on the science of volcanos: what happens during an eruption and how good have efforts to forecast them become? It also discussed the ancient Welsh volcanic landscapes. To listen on iPlayer please see:
After two years of anticipation the Cities on Volcanoes 8 conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia did not disappoint. I attended a pre-conference field trip in the Dieng volcanic complex area, providing some fascinating insights into the scale and wide range of volcano hazards and risks that occur within Indonesia, as well as seeing the process of 'socialisation' in practice. This is the process by which society and science are integrated to generate a more prepared and responsive community - simple but extremely effective. The conference itself was phenomenal with many interesting talks, workshops, and an inter-conference field trip. I am delighted that the two sessions I co-convened '3.I.C. Volcanic Crisis Communication' and '2.II.B. Disaster Risk Reduction Pedagogy: Developing Best Practices for Educating and Training Students, and Professional Emergency and Land-Use Managers for Volcanic Crisis' were extremely informative and many presentations provided new and interesting perspectives on a number of complex issues relating to the challenges of Cities and Volcanoes. The conference, titled 'Living in Harmony with Volcano: Bridging the will of nature to society' provided plenty of scope to meet researchers from around the world, local communities in Indonesia, as well various stakeholders such as civil protection, to identify key areas for future collaboration. I look very much forward to Cities on Volcanoes 9 to be held in Chile, 2016, but in the meantime, there is a lot of work to be done!
As part of the International Women’s Week I co-organised and co-ordinated, and participated in the Athena SWAN Panel event 'What's the problem with women and science?' a Panel debate and Q&A session addressing the key issues for women in science, from child through to professor. For more info on the event by Hannah Dee, my co-organiser please see here
Simon Day (UCL) and I attended the workshop 'Could “Crowdsourcing” Facilitate Multi-Disciplinary Risk Assessment?' at Lincoln College University of Oxford to gather some insights into crowdsourcing; what it is, how it is done, and what tools there are. We delivered a presentation and an exercise titled 'Managing Catastrophes on a Small Volcanic Island’ that produced some interesting insights.
It's been a busy month! I am delighted that I was one of the 5 shortlisted candidates under the category 'Behavioural Risk' for the Lloyds Science of Risk Prize 2013. The Prize is designed to foster and strengthen relationships between scientists and researchers with Lloyds and the insurance sector so to learn more about the latest research. I presented a poster of my publication in Environment and Planning A journal titled 'Assigning a volcano alert level: negotiating uncertainty, risk, and complexity in decision-making processes' at the award ceremony on 28th November at the Lloyds Building in London. See more here
I was an invited panellist at the UCL Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction UK Japan Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop (22 Nov), and also presented a poster with Dr Simon Day titled ‘Destructive interactions between mitigation strategies and the causes of unexpected failures in natural hazard mitigation systems’. Bringing together Tohoku University and UCL, this event, along with the UK Japan Symposium on Disasters (21 Nov), explored potential research programs to enhance Japan’s mitigation strategies for geological and hydrometeorological hazards.
At the beginning of the month I attended the Volcano Observatory Best Practices 2 Workshop in Erice (2-6 Nov), Italy on 'Communicating Hazard', and then the VUELCO 2nd Workshop in Rome (7-8 Nov) on 'Scientific assessment, decision-making, risk communication' in Rome. Although both workshops had similar themes, there were some interesting differences that emerged, making the week an extremely interesting one. In Erice I presented a poster titled 'Communicating in complex volcanic crises: responding to linearity and standardisation - What role does a volcano alert level system play in volcanic crises?'. It is great to see two workshops focused on the vital issues of communicating during volcanic crises.
July / August 2013
Spent a few hot weeks in Japan as part of the AHRC Future Ruins 'Reclaming Abandonment and Toxicity on Hashima Island' project, see our blog. Focused on Hashima this research trip involved looking at archival documents, visiting the island of Hashima, museums and art trails, meeting with a number of academics, government officials, artists, as well as numerous discussions within the research team. Performances will be given in September; schedule to be posted once confirmed.
Attended a super few days at UCL with events organised by the Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction including their Third Annual Conference and the First Academic Conference on Risk and Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience. I presented a poster 'Resilience: Investigating graphical representations' with Simon Day, from the UCL Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction and Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre.
Along with Deborah Dixon (University of Glasgow) and Mark Pendleton (University of Sheffield) we presented 'The Baroque Melancholy of Hashima; at the Post-Traumatic landscapes symposium, May 22nd, at the University of Sheffield. The presentation is part of a number of talks / performances of the AHRC funded project 'Care for the Future' funded interdisciplinaryexploratory project 'The Future of Ruins: Reclaming Abandonment and Toxicity on Hashima Island'. Please see the Occursus blog for further details.
Invited to give a talk and workshop at Central St Martins College of Art and Design in London as part of their MA Textile Futures course. This involved a trip to the Natural History Museum to look at and investigate 'Extreme Materiality'; an analysis of the materials produced by Earth along with the processes that create them. Over 20 students attended and used the session to help develop their projects on Extreme Materials (see below images taken by Nelly Ben Hayoun).
Attended the 2013 Volcanic and Magmatic Studies Group (VMSG) annual meeting in Bristol, giving an oral presentation titled 'Assigning a volcano alert level: negotiating uncertainty, risk, and complexity in decision-making processes' and a poster presentation with Simon Day (from UCL) titled ' Interactions between mitigation strategies: implications for the scientific bases of mitigation policy'. The conference also held a tribute session to Professor John Guest (UCL) who died last year, and his enormous contribution to understudying the geology and volcanic environments of bodies within the solar system.
Attended the conference ‘Cities on Volcanoes 7’ in Colima, Mexico, 19-23rd November 2012. The ‘Cities on Volcanoes’ conference is an initiative for IAVCEI, the International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior. The objective of the conference is to consider the impact of volcanic events on centres of population, including hazards, monitoring and civil response strategies in the case of volcanic events. I also co-convened of session ‘Volcanic emergencies: The role of government & planning based within communities’ along with Enrique Guevara and Jesús Manuel Macías. In addition I presented an oral presentation titled ‘Assigning a volcano alert level: negotiating uncertainty, risk, and complexity in decision-making processes’, and a poster presentation titled ‘Standardisation of the USGS Volcano Alert Level System (VALS): analysis and ramifications’.