The University of Manchester is home to world-leading expertise in humanitarian research. One of our researchers is finding creative ways to capture and share the impact of one of the world’s largest natural disasters.
Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico on 20 September 2017, impacting the lives of millions of residents. An ethnographic research project followed 16 low-income Puerto Rican families in the year after the storm as they attempted to recover.
Dr Gemma Sou, a lecturer in Disaster Studies at the University’s Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute, decided to turn the findings into a graphic novella, After Maria: Everyday Recovery from Disaster. The publication tells the story of the disaster from the perspective of a fictional family, created by Dr Sou to illustrate the experiences that tied together all of the families she met.
“One of my priorities was to bring through the emotions, voice, unique personalities and hidden everyday personal experiences of the people I spoke to,” Dr Sou says.
The novella displays a progressive approach to communicating and sharing research. It’s free to download and available in English and Spanish. “I also wanted the families to have access to the research findings in an engaging way,” says Dr Sou.
Images by John Cei Douglas from After Maria: Everyday Recovery from Disaster
Read the novella at manchester.ac.uk/after-maria