Pwani bus and crowd

S.A.F.E. Kenya

A performance by Pwani in coastal Kenya.

Water demo

S.A.F.E. Kenya

Research Group
Professor Katrina Brown
Alex Huke

You, me and our resilience

Cross-cultural insights on resilience, poverty and climate change

This innovative project examines the sources of resilience in communities in Kenya and the south west of the UK affected by extreme weather events.

Katrina Brown, who leads the project, has shown how climate change interacts with other stressors and how interlocking risks produce socially differentiated vulnerabilities. This research will use Forum Theatre, an established form of participatory drama, to enable the sharing of lived experiences of climate-related hazards and the collaborative identification of solutions.

Poor people worldwide experience risk as an interaction of the global – e.g., climate change, weather extremes and economic globalisation – with the local: crime, ill health, discrimination and exploitation, for example. The project, underlining the connectedness between social and ecological resilience, seeks to understand how the many and various kinds of change affect wellbeing and livelihoods, and how resilience can be seen less as a way of people staying as they are and more as a means of transformation.

Principal researchers and partners

Professor Katrina Brown leads the project, assisted by Alex Huke.

S.A.F.E. Kenya is a key partner: a Kenyan NGO and UK charity that uses street theatre, films and community programmes to educate, inspire and deliver social change on a range of issues.


This research is being funded by AXA, starting in April 2014. The project will work with S.A.F.E. Kenya, whose Pwani drama group will develop a production based on people's experiences of extreme weather events in the coastal city of Mombasa. The actors will then come to the UK and convene a series of workshops with flood-affected communities in Cornwall, as well as with academics and policy professionals. The production and interactions will be filmed, and the outcomes used to support research and policy aimed at enhancing community resilience to extreme weather and climate change.

Project updates - July 2015

The project's Research Assistant / Project Manager, Alex Huke, has recently blogged about work to date. Seven members of S.A.F.E Kenya's cast are due to visit Cornwall in the autumn of 2015; they will be taking part in activities on the Penryn Campus and their visit is timed to coincide with the launch of the Cornish production which, at the time of writing, seems likely to take place in Porthleven at the end of September. This will be devised and mounted by creative partner Goldentree Productions CIC, under the leadership of Natalia Eernstman, and will build on Natalia’s work from earlier this year, called StormSongs.

We also hope to host an open-to-all screening of S.A.F.E Kenya’s new film WATATU in the ESI - watch the trailer here - which tackles issues around extremism. Details of these events, and further updates, will follow.

Professor Brown is a member of the Board of the Resilience Alliance, whose website will also be relevant to those interested in this project's themes.

You can watch Professor Brown explaining more about the project, and she also features in this National Geographic-produced video.

The project now has a Facebook page too.