ARI20 ANNIVERSARY ROUNDTABLE SERIES – Representing Disasters from the Inside Out

10:00 to 11:30

In  connection with Asia Research Institute‘s 20th anniversary, they are hosting a series of roundtable discussions. On September 28th they will discuss the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the devastating effects it had on the community and the region. The scale of the devastation practically brought the civil war in Aceh Province, Indonesia, to an end. A discussion of any disaster of such dimensions is fraught with human, social, political, scientific and religious issues.

The most common way of describing a disaster is with statistical data that can be easily understood in an international context. Such quantitative information typically includes casualties, cost of the damage, reconstruction funds. Comparing a particular disaster to others in the context of similar historical disasters is also a common approach.

The individual reflections of disaster survivors can be informative and revealing of how the community mitigates or amplifies the impact of a disaster.

Using the documentary Tsunami of New Dreams as a case study, this roundtable examines methodologies and techniques for investigating a disaster from the inside out, putting qualitative information aside and focusing on testimonies from the local community that are meaningful in their local context and traditions. Insights gained from this approach can be useful to minimize the impact of future disasters.

The roundtable will emphasize the strong partnership with our local Acehnese partners, interviewing best practices for independent documentary filmmaking, and bringing social science and cultural explorations to a wider audience.