Using comic strips to communicate disaster risk

Yesterday I gave a presentation to a joint STREVA (Strengthening Risk in Volcanic Areas) and EWF (Earthquakes Without Frontiers) as part of the Increasing Resilience to Natural Hazards initiative at University College London - the picture to the left! In order to engage my audience with the subject matter I used  prezi  presentation software instead of the usual (Death By) Powerpoint. The presentation itself was only 20 minutes but sparked a 20 minute Q&A which I hope was a sign that the ideas and execution were well received! Using this type of software can be a hindrance as well as a help but as I used it I began to grow in confidence and became more adept at using so there was less 'whizzing around' the presentation. I am attaching a screen grab below for you to enjoy and to get your own ideas! If you click on the image it will take you to the presentation as stupid and overpriced Ning won't allow me to do this...

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Comment by Justin Sharpe on December 8, 2014 at 10:27

A link to a case study that examined the use of cartoons and comic strips  (including mine) in teaching and learning about how to prepare for and respond to the disaster threat: Click here>>

Comment by Justin Sharpe on July 10, 2014 at 14:42

I have included my Abstract for this presentation below:

Abstract: Using comic strips in the communication of risk to stimulate thoughts of protective behaviour as a building block to adaptation and resilience.


A sudden onset disaster can be a shock and being able to reflect and step outside of the current frame of reference (in this case a disaster event) while being able to construct alternative conceptual frameworks, partly “downloaded” through prior experience and learning, may hold the key to truly resilient individuals and communities. It is argued that well written and presented comic strips can be an “enabler” in this process permitting the learner to connect empathetically with the comic subjects, by allowing them to care for the characters while paying attention to the dangers that are also presented. This further personalisation allows the learner to make sense of the topic through organisation of those ideas into a framework (schema) of understanding.


Key to this presentation will be to show that having an understanding of how learning takes hold and changes cognition, is influenced by how learning opportunities are both presented and experienced. A brief synopsis of comic use in education and learning will be provided before an anatomy of a comic strip (using the authors own comic strip for disaster learning) shows how the use of humour, likeable characters and short but relevant story lines allows for learner engagement and challenge.


A brief outline of how this comic was used in a pilot project to teach kindergarten students in Iran about earthquakes will be undertaken before showing how the same comic media can be used in Vine videos and shared through Twitter and Facebook in order to engage a wider audience.


Finally some ideas for future engagement of learners in knowing how to prepare for and respond to disaster threats will be put forward in order to open up further debate, discussion and reflection in order to start our own process of double-loop learning and set the basis for future triple-loop learning.


Justin Sharpe

PhD Candidate

Department of Geography

King’s College London



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