Under Threat: Community resilience to extreme events

15 Nov 2019 to 31 Jan 2020, 9.00AM–5.00PM
Pathfoot Building – Behind reception
Sandra Engstrom, Fiona Millar and Tony Robertson
Under Threat: Community resilience to extreme events

Each year, the Art Collection's exhibitions, events and workshops are directly inspired by the research of the University. This year the focus is on the environment, and with the umbrella title ‘Under Threat’ we highlight a variety of pressing issues. We also, however, wanted to celebrate the beauties of our natural surroundings.

The Project

There are gaps in understanding about what community resilience actually is and what it means to those working in communities, academia, practice and policy (and how these meanings and relevancies differ between these groups). In addition, gaps exist around what kinds of community resilience are currently enacted (particularly in Scotland) and how such experiences can be used to encourage further development of community resilience. We believe creating a network of people interested in community resilience will be the first step in building and feeding into a movement around creating a fairer, healthier and more ecologically sustainable Scotland.

This project was funded by the National Centre for Resilience to Sandra Engstrom, Fiona Millar and Tony Robertson and employed Andrew Ruck and Paul Docherty as Research Assistants. The project ran in 2019 and involved two research workshops, a number of one-to-one interviews and a photography exhibit. A final report will be shared publicly in late 2019.

The Photographs

As part of the project, we asked for workshop participants and the wider public to submit photographs we could display that represented ‘community resilience’ and/or ‘extreme events’. The aim of this exhibit is to highlight some of the extreme events our communities face, and how these communities come together to support each other. Much of this work is not photographed and often goes on in the background, so we are thrilled to get a glimpse of what happens when resilient communities respond to extreme circumstances.


The research team are part of the Extreme Events research programme at the University of Stirling. The programme’s research focuses on how societies and ecosystems might better respond to extreme events and living with extreme circumstances. Living with extremes can range from experiencing terrorist attacks to flooding; disease outbreaks to political revolutions; poverty to forest fires. We seek to enhance resilience at all levels, from societal to individual, while embedding this resilience-building around also tackling the fundamental social, environmental and economic drivers of extremes.

Contact Us

Twitter: @StirExtreme
Website: www.extremeevents.stir.ac.uk

  • Sandra Engstrom is a Lecturer in Social Work with research interests in eco/green social work, including social work and natural disaster recovery/preparedness, social work and climate change/sustainability and eco therapy.
  • Fiona Millar is a Research Development Officer with research interests in the sociology of work and management of precarious careers.
  • Tony Robertson is a Lecturer in Social Epidemiology and Public Health with research interests in socioeconomic inequalities and the impact on physiology and health, and grassroots approaches to tackling health inequalities.