Envisioning the future by learning from the past: Arts and humanities in interdisciplinary tools for promoting a culture of risk

Elisa Sevilla, María José Jarrín, Karina Barragán, Paulina Jáuregui, Casandra Sabag, Agathe Dupeyron, Jenni Barclay, Teresa Armijos, María Isabel Cupuerán, Camilo Zapata, María Antonieta Vásquez, Paúl Narváez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Disaster risk is the result of complex interactions between the drivers of vulnerability such as poverty and lack of access to resources and the impacts from multiple hazards (with differing intensities and recurrence intervals). These risks are difficult to understand, quantify or convey. Historical hazard events have important potential in generating understanding of multiple potential risks. They provide historical and near-historical records of the real-life experience of relevant hazardous events and their physical, political and social consequences in physically familiar terrain. In this paper, we explore the use of historical research, memory, and emotion in developing conversations around the complexities of multi-hazard risk in urban settings through co-produced interdisciplinary museum exhibits and an educational transmedia platform in Quito, Ecuador. We argue that the opportunity for impact in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) arrives by targeting DRR education from an interdisciplinary perspective, with a narrative that draws on history and memory, and that uses art to address emotions and to communicate and visualise two sometimes overlooked but essential dimensions in DRR education: 1) understanding the risk drivers that turn hazardous events into disasters, and 2) building the capacity of communities to imagine future scenarios that reduce risk and create open and participatory processes of risk-sensitive urban planning as proposed by the Tomorrow's Cities Decision Support Environment (TCDSE).
Original languageEnglish
Article number103712
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Early online date29 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023


  • Arts and humanities
  • DRR education
  • Education for sustainable development ESD
  • Meaningful learning
  • Tomorrow's cities decision support environment TCDSE

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