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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Illustration of the 7 recovery capitals by Frances Belle Parker
Artwork by Frances Belle Parker for the Recovery Capitals project.

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 created by Frances Belle Parker for the Recovery Capitals project, illustrating the interconnected social, natural, built, financial, political, human and cultural elements of disaster recovery.