STREVA’s first forensic workshop took place in Montserrat on the 27th and 28th September 2012. The theme of the workshop was ‘Is Montserrat a resilient society’ and aimed to explore the extent to which Montserrat represents a resilient society, and the components that have largely contributed to this resilience – as well as those that have undermined it. Delegates also were encouraged to consider and discuss similarities and differences in resilience, its origins and dynamics, between Montserrat and communities near STREVA’s other forensic and trial volcanoes, as well as other volcanic settings.
The workshop was structured predominantly as focus groups, although the delegates were treated to a variety of captivating presentations by Rev. Joan Delsol Meade, Neil Adger, Rose Willock, Herman ‘Cupid’ Francis, Paul Payne, Kafu Cabey and Paul Cole. A panel session at the end of the second day included Richie Robertson, Richard Aspin, Sir Howard Fergus and Kafu Cabey. The Governor of Montserrat from the earliest days of the crisis, Frank Savage, provided some insightful closing comments.
During the workshop, the groups were separated into eight focus groups, initially divided into ‘fields’ (monitoring; hazard and hazard communication; risk management; civil society) but becoming more mixed throughout the course of the two-day event. Focus group discussion was directed around the following sub-themes:
- What does resilience mean in a volcanic setting and how does it relate to analysing risk?
- What examples and evidence are there of resilience during the course of the SHV eruption?
- Have there been specific moments or ‘tipping points’ when resilience increased or was severely undermined?
- Which social, economic, political and scientific components contribute the most to building or losing resilience?
- To what extent are these findings unique to the Montserrat case and which components may be generic or have resonance with resilience in other areas?
- How can the most important individual components be evaluated, measured and monitored?
- How can we refine and tailor the process of risk analysis to incorporate all of these components?
The workshop also acted as a ‘launch’ event for STREVA, and as such was particularly well-attended. Over 40 STREVA researchers and project partners travelled to Montserrat and a further 30 invited guests from the Montserrat community were present. Almost all of our project partners were represented, with attendees from: Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO); Instituto Geofisico Escuela Politecnica Nacional de Ecuador (IG-EPN); Seismic Research Centre, University of the West Indies; Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, University of the West Indies; Vhub; Corporación OSSO; University of Exeter; the CASAVA project; Global Volcano Model; and Volcanic Unrest in Europe and Latin American Countries (VUELCO).
We were also delighted to welcome guests from the National Emergency Management Office, St Vincent (NEMO), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), University of Iceland; Icelandic Department for Civil Protection; the Icelandic Meteorological Office; Franklin MacDonald (Visiting Scholar, York University, Canada); HE Adrian Davis (Governor of Montserrat), Frank Savage (UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and Cynthia Gardner (USGS), one of STREVA’s advisory board members.