Martes, 07 Mayo 2013 20:35

STREVA in Ecuador: An interdisciplinary project involving Art and Volcanology

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May 7, 2013

Strengthening Resilience in Volcanic Areas (STREVA) is an innovative interdisciplinary project in which the Instituto Geofísico of the Escuela Politécnica Nacional is involved, in collaboration with the universities of East Anglia, Oxford, Bristol and Leeds, the British Geological Survey and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). 

The STREVA project recognises that despite improved knowledge and understanding of risk in volcanic areas, in order to improve a country or community’s capacity to deal with volcanic eruptions, society, politics, culture and religion must also be considered in the area in which the volcano is situated. STREVA aims to provide tools that help with the complex analysis of volcanic risk, with the intention of improving the capacity of the society to deal with future eruptions. This project brings together researchers, decision makers and communities affected by disaster risk to help societies be better prepared for future eruptions and improve their capacity to deal with volcanic risk. In turn, this will hopefully reduce loss of life and economic losses that are often experienced following an eruption.

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STREVA’s research concentrates on six volcanic sites across the Lesser Antilles, Ecuador and Colombia. In Ecuador, the project focuses on the area around the Tungurahua volcano which erupted in October 1999. To improve community outreach, Jorge Jaen and his team have conducted a painting project with children living in communities like Pillate, Cusúa, Bilbao, Cotaló and Chacauco, who were affected by the Tungurahua volcano eruption. They have drawn pictures depicting their experiences as part of the project called "The volcano is my neighbour".

From 12th – 17th June 2013, all of the paintings from this project will be exhibited in Baños de Agua Santa, in the province of Tungurahua.  A workshop is also being held during this time in which lead researchers from various disciplines and nationalities will meet with people who have been affected by the volcano in order to collect information on their experiences. 


Our stories of ash are painted in colours

How do you feel when the volcano begins to erupt? “I am scared because my little pigs become ill or die, the plants are burnt and my mummy has to go away to work”. These are some of the answers that have been provided by the children through their drawings. The workshop is creative, with the children’s clothes, faces and hands all covered in paint and colour. The children’s paintings and stories are full of pictures of the volcano erupting, ash and stones being launched from the volcano, houses that are destroyed, schools that are closed, friends who are evacuating, and pictures of children and adults who cannot sleep.

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Jorge Jaen and his team have experience of working with children, and their techniques allow children to tell their stories through their paintings. As well as providing children with an opportunity to paint, the workshop has also provided the children with the chance to play, laugh and share stories and experiences. The workshop also involved scientists from the Instituto Geofisico, who helped the youngest children mix colours; they helped with logistics as well as dissemination of the results to different communities through volunteer lookout groups from the Secretaría Nacional de Gestión de Riesgos (National Risk Management Authority).

The pictures were all full of colour, with grey pictures depicting memories of the ash, as well as bright colours such as pictures of the new green crops growing, multi-coloured rainbows, and red showing the lava at the top of the volcano. Some of the pictures were very imaginative and are full of fantasy, included flying donkeys, hearts in the main vent of the volcano and a road connecting the communities again.


The project has just started and we have a lot of stories to share.




Instituto Geofísico

Escuela Politécnica Nacional