Antonia Liguori at the Drought and Water Scarcity Conference in Oxford

Antonia Liguori participated at the About Drought Conference. Drought and Water Scarcity: addressing current and future challenges, organised by the University of Oxford in March 2019.

She delivered a paper on behalf of Mike Wilson, Lindsey McEwen, and Liz Roberts to trigger discussions about some of the narrative approaches applied as part of the DRY -Drought Risk and You project.

The title of her presentation was Learning around ‘storying water’ to build an evidence base to support better decision-making in UK drought risk management.

You can read here the abstract:

While the ‘narrative turn’ is well-cited in the social sciences, and storytelling approaches are embedded in arts and humanities (A&H) practices, this paper reflects on learning around ‘storying water’ gained within the interdisciplinary DRY (Drought Risk and You) project. Over four years, DRY has worked to expose and incorporate ‘the hidden story’ – in terms of both type of risk (diffuse, pervasive) and ‘less heard’ voices (different publics, sectors, knowledges), to build an evidence base to support better decision-making in UK drought risk management. This has been underpinned by meaningful co-production and participatory research approaches. DRY has worked across seven UK case-study river catchments, along hydro-meteorological and other gradients, exploring how storytelling might help reframe (indeed commence, in some cases) different drought discourses. This presentation reflects critically on challenges and opportunities in developing context-driven storytelling approaches, the different research evidence they garnered (e.g. on drought myths; cultural water behaviours; systemic thinking; science-narrative interactions) and the knowledges they can unearth for those in research, policy and practice. Whilst DRY faced opportunities and challenges in adapting well-established storytelling methods, our processes built in iterative opportunities to reflect collectively on, and confront, what can be understood as ‘storytelling’. This involved adopting and re-adapting multiple narrative approaches, with the awareness and willingness to take risks and receive unexpected responses. Our processes aimed to advance knowledge on how drought – past, present and future – impacts different communities in nuanced ways, and importantly, their potential agency in adaptation.  Alongside, statutory resilience organisations are now developing ‘communication’ campaigns that require better understandings of ‘storying methods’ in exploring people’s wider water relations.

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