Writing Retreat

on .

A writing retreat was held over four days (22-24 June, and 26 June 2017) on Waiheke Island, New Zealand.

The event included convivial group activities held before, during and after the dedicated retreat days. The retreat was co-funded by Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research and the University of Western Australia.Writing retreat participants were drawn from all participating institutions and included: Prof. Andreas Neef (project leader and retreat host) (University of Auckland), Dr Eberhard Weber (University of the South Pacific), Mr Siphat Touch (Ministry of Rural Development, Cambodia), Dr Chanrith Ngin (Royal University of Phnom Penh), Ms Sochanny Hak (University of Auckland), Dr Eleanor Bruce and Dr Floris van Ogtrop (University of Sydney) and Dr Bryan Boruff and Dr Natasha Pauli (University of Western Australia). Ms Renata Varea from the University of South Pacific was not able to attend. The agenda for the retreat was prepared by Natasha Pauli.

At the outset, Andreas Neef provided a detailed overview of the entire project, including activities and outputs to date, and items for further development. The goals of the writing retreat were to:

  1. spend time working collaboratively to further the research goals and outputs for the project;
  2. advance the publication of ‘academic’ manuscripts resulting from fieldwork undertaken in Cambodia and Fiji for the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research project;
  3. outline the development of non-‘academic’ publications for audiences within the case study areas and for the funding body;
  4. discuss project planning and other activities for the third year of the project.

During the course of the writing retreat, significant progress was made against all four goals. A number of suggested publications were put forward during the meeting, of which three were developed in more detail and will be submitted to international journals over the next few months. Other ideas for papers were put forward, some as ‘spin-off’ or related ideas from the three developed papers. Andreas Neef also proposed editing students’ dissertations into book chapters for an edited volume in Emerald’s ‘Community, Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction’ series, tentatively titled ‘Climate Change Adaptation in Post-Disaster Contexts’, as well as submitting any other related material that could fit into this book.

It was noted that the project has already produced a substantial number of outputs, including student dissertations. This project also has an important component of more easily accessible publications, including policy briefs and a project manual. A video has already been produced by a post-graduate student from University of Auckland’s Media and Communication department.

With regard to policy briefs, the group agreed to prepare at least three per country. Chanrith Ngin and Siphat Touch will prepare the first policy brief for Cambodia. Floris van Ogtrop agreed to develop a standard format for the policy briefs.

Andreas Neef reminded the team that a project manual needs to be developed and submitted by mid-2018. This could include sections on each of the methods used, as well as resources that could be used by in-country partners and other parties interested in following a similar approach.

Discussion was held on how to manage and make available data from the project. Participants also discussed a detailed overview of planning for the next six months and beyond of the broader project. Chanrith Ngin and Siphat Touch developed and presented a household survey for implementation in Prek Prasob in August 2017. In Fiji, future field activities may include applying the Q-sort method echoing the study in Cambodia, and participatory hazard mapping with Fijians of Indian descent in the Ba catchment. Post-graduate students will be sought for this work. Floris van Ogtrop has already identified a Master’s student from the University of Sydney for this task.

A short discussion was raised on future funding and future project directions. Funding sources ranging from small-scale to large-scale were highlighted by Eleanor Bruce, and participants contributed ideas about possible future topics of interest for climate change adaptation research.

The writing retreat was held in a collaborative and positive atmosphere, with participants from varied backgrounds and disciplines. All participants were very pleased with the excellent facilities provided at the venue and the work completed during the retreat.