2014 is a significant year for commemorating and thinking through the legacies of major global catastrophes. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Bhopal Gas Disaster in India, the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, and the 10th anniversary of the South Asian tsunami. Disasters like these are often placed in quite different categories (industrial, social, environmental), but what might we learn from thinking about these and other major catastrophes in light of one another?
This is the subject of our Reframing Disaster conference and activities – an initiative based in Leeds that is open to the public and which will focus on the politics of remembering, commemorating, and supporting long-term recovery in relation to these and other global disasters.
We will be hosting a series of activities at different locations, including film screenings; talks with writers, directors, and artists; public discussions and school workshops; photographic and art exhibitions; and opportunities to join in with both the commemoration and ongoing activism surrounding disasters where experiences of ‘recovery’ has been anything but straightforward. One important aspect of this will involve supporting the Bhopal Medical Appeal’s campaign for assistance towards treating the long-term affects of the Bhopal Gas Disaster, which has still not been cleaned up or compensated, and whose 30th anniversary commemoration will take place in the week commencing 1 December 2014.
Given that we don’t see disasters simply as ‘events’, we will be treating our Reframing Disaster activities in similar terms: not as a one-off, but as the beginnings of a partnership with interested people from multiple areas – from education and charities to schools and local community groups. We will be keeping a record of all our activities on this website so that it can be used as a resource and an archive in the future. We see this very much as the beginning of a conversation that will remain urgent and ongoing for as long as vulnerability to disaster remains catastrophically high.
We will be updating this page and website with more details of our planned activities over the following weeks, so stay tuned for more information. If you’re part of a local community group or school and would like to find out more, please do get in touch!