Dr. Yanjun Cai, UCRSEA Postdoctoral Fellow, will be making a research presentation at the Royal University of Phnom Penh on June 16th on how the participatory approach of photovoice and the technological tools of social media can be innovatively integrated for proactive resilience, especially in marginalized communities. The multiplicity of definitions, interpretations, and objectives (e.g., social, economic, political), which underlies the theories and practices of resilience, is challenging for intellectual coherence. The convenient—depoliticized or overtly technical—application of resilience often fails to recognize structural issues that can be contextually unique. Common efforts to build resilience frequently elide the embeddedness of power, conflicts, and inequities. In this light, few scholars and practitioners have comprehensively revealed the intricacies of climate-related vulnerability and adaptation from the perspectives of affected communities. The presentation illustrates how integrating photovoice with social media tools can foster more just and transformative resilience building for marginalized communities in the Philippines. Allowing three disadvantaged communities in metropolitan Manila and Cebu to engage with photovoice demonstrated the nuances of vulnerability, revealed unrealized capacity, and helped develop collaborative governance strategies. Drawing upon the lessons learned, this presentation then illustrates how leveraging photovoice for social media applications can further contribute to building resilience in more inclusive, just, holistic, and potentially transformative ways. Resiliency efforts can and should evolve as a proactive approach to support place-based leadership and social innovation for transforming marginalized communities by harnessing social capital and enabling empowerment.
Dr. Cai received her Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She has years of research and practice experience in resiliency planning, environmental policy, participatory governance, and community development in the Asia-Pacific region. She has worked with a number of organizations, including the Asian Development Bank, University of the Philippines, University at Albany, and NGOs in the Philippines, China, and Vietnam.