Book outlines new ways of learning from disasters | Natural Hazards Research Australia

Book outlines new ways of learning from disasters

Release date

24 March 2022

A new book on learning from past natural hazards  is out now and draws on research expertise from both the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and Natural Hazards Research Australia (the Centre).

Making Sense of Natural Disasters – The Learning Vacuum of Bushfire Public Inquiries (2022) is written by Dr Graham Dwyer, who completed his PhD with the University of Melbourne in 2017 as a CRC associate student. Since completing his PhD, Dr Dwyer has worked on research for the CRC and is now on a research team for a new Centre project.

The book draws on Dr Dwyer’s PhD research, We have not lived long enough: sensemaking and learning from bushfire in Australia. Examining recent bushfires in Australia, Making Sense of Natural Disasters recommends a new approach to sensemaking and learning focused on prospective planning rather than retrospective recommendations following a disaster. Using empirical evidence from the Australian bushfire public review processes, the book examines how emergency management organisations learn from past events and serves as a roadmap for practitioners to facilitate the implementation of complex public inquiry recommendations.

Centre CEO Dr Richard Thornton said this is another great exhibition of the success of CRC postgraduate researchers.

“The publication of Graham’s book highlights not only the value of his research, but is also a fantastic example of the strength of the CRC postgraduate program. It is this strength that the Centre will build on with our new Education program that includes opportunities for postgraduate students as well as early career researchers,” Dr Thornton said.

Dr Dwyer is currently Course Director at Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Social Impact. He was on the research team for the CRC’s Established and emerging uses of predictive services project conducted in the aftermath of the 2019-20 bushfires, and is now a researcher for the follow-up Centre project, Predictions in public: understanding the design, communication and dissemination of predictive maps to the public.

This book is published by Palgrave Macmillan and is available to purchase in hardback or as an e-book.