About Us

Beyond Disasters is a program of research within the Child and Community Wellbeing Unit in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health.

Beginning with the Beyond Bushfires study of long-term community recovery after the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, this body of work has since expanded to include many projects across various streams of disaster resilience and recovery research.

Areas of focus include: children and schools, program evaluations, democracy and community engagement, social networks, First Nations community recovery, COVID-19 research, recovery capitals, and the impacts of multiple disasters.

Beyond Disasters is led by Professor Lisa Gibbs, with expert input from researchers, practitioners and policy makers through the Beyond Disasters Research Advisory Committee and Children and Disasters Advisory Committee. The Beyond Disasters research team is affiliated with the University of Melbourne Centre for Disaster Management and Public Safety.

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Healing journey depicted by artist Frances Belle Parker

We live and work on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin nation, and we pay respects to their Elders past and present. We acknowledge that for First Nations communities, disasters such as bushfires occur in contexts of historical and ongoing trauma stemming from colonisation, racism and dispossession. We wholeheartedly support current efforts to address the severe and harmful neglect of these matters in the disasters sector in Australia. We also recognise the formidable strengths of First Nations peoples and cultures, including the rich knowledges and practices of healing and caring for Country which are so powerful in reducing disaster risk and supporting recovery. We strive to participate in genuine and respectful collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for a more just, healthy and sustainable future together.

This artwork was commissioned from Yaegl artist by Frances Belle Parker, who explains:

"The healing process is vastly different for everyone. It is a pivotal part of our own recovery. This icon features five figures depicting a sense of community connectedness. They come together to help each other heal. The central figure is a symbol of calm, knowledge and healing. The remaining figures represent children as well as adults coming together to collaborate and learn from the Indigenous knowledge of healing. The ray of light represents the hope we experience following a disaster. The flowing pattern below the figures captures a sense of momentum as well as the movement within the journey of healing."