News & Events

Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with Kewan Mertens (VUB)

17 October 2019 , Geography Dept. - Room F 4.66- (VUB - Pleinlaan 2, BE-1050 Brussels, Building F) from 12.00h to 13.30h

(Re)politicizing disaster governance: can a serious board game increase awareness among officials in Uganda by simulating conflicting interests and power issues?

Abstract of Presentation:

The disaster risk reduction (DRR) community tends to view disaster risk management as a governance issue, thereby disregarding the political and power issues. Serious games have a potential to create an ideal speech scenario that can foster discussions among players and possibly even create a space of political confrontation. I will present a board game, DisCoord, that was developed to stimulate conditions for agonistical confrontation between players. The game has been played 10 times in Uganda, where landslides and floods are recurrent issues that contribute to tensions between communities. These gameplays have been recorded and discussions have been transcribed. The current analysis aims at evaluating the potential of the game for highlighting power issues in disaster risk management and for politicizing the participants. The seminar will present work in progress in order to receive your advice and feedback.

Bio speaker:

Kewan Mertens was trained as a bioscience engineer. During his PhD in agricultural economics and disasters he increasingly engaged with literature in science and technology and social sciences. Now, as a post-doctoral researcher, he is definitely committed to interdisciplinary research with a significant theoretical foundation, combining innovative qualitative and quantitative research methods. He currently works on the analysis of the potential of a serious board game, DisCoord, for raising awareness and fostering political discussions on disaster risk governance in Uganda. He is a member of the research group of Prof. Matthieu Kervyn.