Yanjun Cai to Speak on Photovoice, Social Media and Geospatial Analysis May 3

Yanjun Cai will discuss social media and geospatial analysis as tools for resilience as part of the WWU Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series at 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 in Academic Center West room AW-204 on the Western Washington University campus.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

This research presentation explores how the participatory approach of photovoice and the technological tools of social media and geospatial analysis can be innovatively integrated for proactive resilience, especially in marginalized communities. The multiplicity of definitions, interpretations, and objectives (e.g., social, economic, political), which underlies the theories and practices of resilience, is challenging for intellectual coherence. The convenient—depoliticized or overtly technical—application of resilience often fails to recognize structural issues that can be contextually unique. Common efforts to build resilience frequently elide the embeddedness of power, conflicts, and inequities. In this light, few scholars and practitioners have comprehensively revealed the intricacies of climate-related vulnerability and adaptation from the perspectives of affected communities.

The presentation illustrates how integrating photovoice with social media tools can foster more just and transformative resilience building for marginalized communities in the Philippines. Allowing three disadvantaged communities in metropolitan Manila and Cebu to engage with photovoice demonstrated the nuances of vulnerability, revealed unrealized capacity, and helped develop collaborative governance strategies. Drawing upon the lessons learned, this presentation then illustrates how leveraging photovoice for geospatial analysis can further contribute to building resilience in more inclusive, just, holistic, and potentially transformative ways. Resiliency efforts can and should evolve as a proactive approach to support place-based leadership and social innovation for transforming marginalized communities by harnessing social capital and enabling empowerment.

Yanjun Cai is a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Urban Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia Partnership at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. She received her doctorate in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

The Huxley College Speaker Series, sponsored by Western’s Huxley College of the Environment, is intended to bring together environmentally-minded members of the WWU and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.

WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized leader in producing the next generation of environmental professionals and stewards. Huxley’s distinctive, interdisciplinary curriculum reflects a broad view of the physical, biological, social, and cultural world, and has earned international recognition for quality.