MUDRI Annual Community Forum returned for its 6th showcasing event

In response to popular demand, the MUDRI Annual Community Forum returned for its 6th showcasing event to address community needs and help drive resilience strengthening activities. The theme for this year’s one-day Forum Community-based Resilience: the community speaks attracted 85 participants representing: community members; community leaders; community-based organisations; community development practitioners; emergency, health and social services; state and local government; business and private agencies, and university academics and students. Our new location, E7 Lecture Theatre, Clayton Campus, provided an excellent venue for this annual event. Participants’ evaluations of their experiences at this Forum proved positive and encouraging. We warmly acknowledge the MUDRI team and other MUARC colleagues who delivered and supported the Forum, the rich talents and contributions of our speakers and the engaged and supportive participants.

The first session provided four exemplars of current community-based resilience initiatives identified as leading the way. Matt Campbell, Community Development, Officer, Nillumbik Shire spoke on his experiences leading the St Andrews Conversations; Deane Bird, Senior Advisor, Engagement for DHHS and Adjunct Research Fellow at MUDRI, spoke on the health of the Latrobe Valley post 2016 Hazelwood Mine Fires Inquiry; Fiona Roberts, PhD Scholar, MUDRI, examined the potential of nonprofit organisations for building community resilience to disasters; and, Tracie Lund, Manager, Morwell Community House, provided insights from the Morwell Community Case Study: Cascading acute shocks upon ongoing chronic stressors. A reflective discussion followed, led by the session MC, Dudley McArdle.

Tracie Lund

Tracie Lund speaks at the MUDRI Forum

Sessions 2 & 3 focused on the community speaks with 12 presenters, selected after an EoI process, sharing their community-based resilience building initiatives. Participants had a rich opportunity to learn, question and provide feedback on each initiative. Highlights of these two sessions were the awareness that 'community-based resilience initiatives' are alive and prospering across the state, that the presenters were very willing to share their experiences and demonstrated a significant level of trust with some speakers presenting data for the first time, while others launched videos of their activities in public for the first time.

The final session featured a Q&A styled panel, ably facilitated by Dudley McArdle, in which seven experienced community resilience leaders responded to participants' questions about 'how the panel, other participants or MUDRI, could most effectively help the community in their resilience building endeavours?'

Dudley McArdle

Dudley McArdle facilitates the MUDRI Forum Community Resilience Q&A Panel

Feedback from the success of previous Forums resulted in a strong, state-wide network of community-based resilience leaders driving community development activities to support their communities. This Community-based Resilience Network enables participants to benefit from connecting with like-minded people. The Forum strengthened this rich Network.

Suzanne Cross, MUARC PhD Student, outlined the continuing development of the MUDRI Compendium of Victorian Community-based Resilience Case Studies. A key tenet of the Compendium promotes the sharing of resilience-building activities to help people and communities before, during and after unexpected emergencies. The Online Compendium provides free access for anyone wanting to help community members build expertise, reduce program duplication and save valuable resources.

MUDRI aided by a small steering group will continue to support and grow each of the Forums, Network and Compendium.