Disaster Theory, Inequality & Covid-19: Ladders4Action Online Training Session

18.00, Thursday 21 January 2021

This event was originally planned for 10.00 Friday 04 December 2020, due to unforeseen circumstances we have changed it to 18.00 Thursday 21 January, we hope you can still join us.


Duration: 2hrs
Facilitator: Dr. Addy Adelaine
Subjects: Disaster theory, inequality & COVID
Format: Online with breakout groups


COVID-19 can be considered as a hazard; something that has the potential to harm lives and communities. However, we know from critical study of emergencies, disasters and pandemics exposure to the same hazard can result in different impacts. To understand the differential impact upon individuals, communities and why some hazards turn into disasters, and some do not, we must examine differences in context. In particular, we need to understand differences in exposure, vulnerability and resilience.

This interactive online workshop introduces various conceptual frameworks which can help us to understand disasters and pandemics. In this session, I combine my understanding of different disaster theories, with my knowledge of power, inequality and race. This workshop recognises the emotive and sensitive nature of the debate on this topic. With this in mind, we aim to create a safe space for critical discussion. Participants are not required to have any prior knowledge of this topic to engage with this workshop.


18:00 – 18:20 Introduction
Drawing from a range of data, research this session will begin by exploring what we know about the differential impact of COVID-19 upon communities and individuals. Looking at case examples from the UK and globally, we will present different theories and concepts which attempt to explain differential impact.

18:20 – 18:45 Adelaine’s Conceptual Framework (2020) & the Swiss Cheese Model
In the second part of this workshop, Dr. Adelaine will begin by presenting her (2020) conceptual framework to understanding Disasters, COVID & Inequality. Informed by a study of disasters, this conceptual framework explores how impact might be affected by differences in exposure, vulnerability and resilience. After this introduction, we will look at another model which has been widely used to understand why disasters happen and apply Reason’s (2000) Swiss Cheese Model to the context of the United Kingdom and the COVID-19 pandemic.

18:45 – 19:20 Group Work Scenarions
Following the introduction to these theories, individuals will be split into groups and asked to consider how the Swiss Cheese model might apply to their understanding of COVID-19.

19:20 – 19:50 Feedback & Reflection
Following their discussion, groups will be asked to feedback upon what they discussed. Collectively we will discuss how conceptual models might be uti-lised in scientific inquiry and research. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions and to debate what was presented.

19:50 – 20:00 Final thoughts and goodbye


This event is linked to the Academy’s COVID-19 Career Support Space, which has personal stories and free resources on a range of topics including Challenging Inequalities, Leading Your Team and Stress & Overwork.

These events are free to attend and will be held entirely online. Please contact elizabeth.benedikz@acmedsci.ac.uk if you would like to be added to the waiting list in case of drop outs, as this event is now fully booked.

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