School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - Theses

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    (re)Creating after the ‘Black Saturday’ bushfires: examining the role of creative disaster recovery projects in Strathewen, Victoria, Australia
    Douglas, Kate Elisabeth Whitley ( 2021)
    Due to climate change-induced intensifications in bushfire frequency and magnitude, Australian recovery initiatives are experiencing unprecedented pressure to support individuals and communities who have been affected by or involved in bushfire events. In response, organisations across Australia have begun to promote alternative recovery avenues, including that of creative recovery. In the wake of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, Regional Arts Victoria (RAV) provided funding to 42 creative recovery projects through its Arts Recovery Quick Response Fund (2010). While these creative recovery projects varied in artistic medium, participant type, and spatial and temporal scale, they were all community-led initiatives designed to aid in individual and community recovery journeys. Drawing primarily on 12 semi-structured interviews with individuals involved in creative recovery projects conducted or installed in the town of Strathewen, Nillumbik Shire, this research examines the function and effects of these projects following Black Saturday. Thus far, geographical analyses have addressed the role of the creative arts within mental health recovery (see Duff, 2016; Smith, 2021), place-making (see Hawkins, 2013; Hawkins & Price, 2018) and experimentations with therapeutic practice (see Boyd, 2015). Building upon the findings and theoretical bases of these works, this thesis offers a novel exploration of creative approaches to disaster recovery. Through a micro-political analysis, the scope of this research also extends to evaluate the potential for a complementary relationship to develop between creative recovery projects and established, conventional methods of bushfire recovery.