'Preparedness pedagogies' and race: an interdisciplinary approach

Lead Research Organisation: University of East London
Department Name: Cass School of Education & Communities


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Description 1. Contemporary preparedness makes use of a spectrum of pedagogies
including public and dramaturgical.
Contemporary preparedness efforts rely on a mixture of pedagogies. The use of text
instructions, memory aids, reconstruction activities, and information technologies and
video (as illustrated by the site produced by Avery, 2009) are frequently part of the
pedagogical mix that becomes part of a fused pedagogy of affect, behaviour, and
cognition (Preston, 2009a). These can be analysed not just in terms of 'conventional'
pedagogical categories. Firstly, they can be examined as public pedagogies, popular
cultural forms that are pedagogical through enactment rather than (necessarily) direct
teaching (Preston, 2009b). Secondly, drama and performance are employed in
contemporary sites of preparedness to produce 'theatres of survival' (Chakrabarty,
2010a - conference paper) which are often racially orientated towards the
representation of and prioritising of 'white' racial interests (Chakrabarty, 2011). This
points towards understanding contemporary preparedness as not only multi-modal and
pedagogical but increasingly using new pedagogical techniques (the public and the
dramaturgical). This finding has informed future research through an EPSRC / ESRC
funded project (John Preston PI) 'Game Theory and Adaptive Networks for Smart Evacuations' (October 2010 - October 2012) which will examine the ways in which we
can understand and improve city evacuations as 'co-produced' by the public, using
multi-modal technologies.
2. Race, 'tacit intentionality' and the 'absent presence' of 'race' in
In none of our research did we encounter any participant who was prejudiced or any
evidence of overt racism in policy. However, tacitly assumptions were often made
which could disadvantage BME people. Following the work of Gillborn, we would
refer to these as 'tacit intentionality' (Preston, 2009c - conference paper) in that by not
taking 'race' explicitly into account in preparedness or policy planning some are tacitly
advantaged / disadvantaged. Preparedness materials which advantage 'whites' also
intersect with other social characteristics such as masculinity (Preston, 2010a).
Examples of good practice included awareness of multiple language materials, taking
into account access to material resources in preparedness planning. With regard to the
future research plans in this area UEL has agreed to appoint from October 2010 a
PDRF to work on areas of 'critical race theory' and 'disaster education'.
3. Who is preparedness for?
In our focus group research a common finding was that no one considered that
preparedness was 'for them'. This lack of connection (and sometimes outright
rejection) of preparedness was due to issues of representation and consultation.
Exploitation Route We will be conducting further work with community groups around issues of racism, discrimination and preparedness using the networks established through the project.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://s290179663.websitehome.co.uk/prepare/
Description The project has been fed back both to the community groups involved and policy makers through the final report. This has resulted in positive comments. Although it might be naïve to expect policy makers to take some of these on board given the contentious and critical nature of the work we have had positive feedback from the policy makers we have interviewed. For example, Jennifer Cole of RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) was interested in the findings in terms of community preparedness. However, most specifically we have had impacts on teenagers and emergency planners in Sussex as a result of the ethnographic and performance work. The young people and the emergency planning professionals who participated in Emergency Exercise 2010, the performance ethnography, were invited to participate in an internet forum after the event to reflect on the project; their responses showed that the young people learnt about the world of preparedness, which they had hitherto known little about, through the performance of the exercise; the young people especially appreciated being allowed into a preparedness site, a nuclear bunker, and this privilege both gave them a feeling of power, but also of responsibility; the professionals involved realised that the contribution that young people may make to preparedness would be useful in the future, this was something they had sought before with little success via questionnaires, but also the professionals discovered the negative preconceptions of emergency professionals, as seen by the young people involved.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Education,Government, Democracy and Justice,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal

Description West Sussex local authority / schools response
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Influencing schools and local authorities to consider equity issues in preparedness. A simulation of an emergency exercise was conducted with members of West Sussex local authority and pupils / students local schools. This exercise was conducted in a civil protection bunker and was based upon similar pedagogical activities used by local authorities and government. As a result of this exercise the members of the local authority present considered that it was more important that they involve young people in emergency planning. Pupils at the exercise considered that it had introduced them to an appreciation of emergency management. The activity and the student comments can be found at:- http://ukpreparedness.ning.com/
URL http://s290179663.websitehome.co.uk/prepare/