(Dis)Memory of Disaster? Culture and natural hazards, catastrophe and resilience. Madeira island, a case study

Project Title:
(Dis)Memory of Disaster? Culture and natural hazards, catastrophe and resilience. Madeira island, a case study

Start and end of project
September 2012 to September 2015

Chief Investigator
Ana Salgueiro

Research Team:

Researcher Name Institutional Afiliation
Ana Paula Almeida CIERL-UMa
Ana Salgueiro CECC-UCP e CIERL-Uma
Anne Martina Emonts UMa, CECC-UCP, CIERL-UMa
Diana Gonçalves CECC-UCP
Duarte Encarnação UMa, CIERL-Uma
Fábia Camacho UMa
Filipa Fernandes ISCSP;CAPP; CIERL-Uma
Ilído Sousa AIG, CIERL-UMa
Maria João Beja UMa, CIERL-UMa
Martinho P. Mendes FBAUL, CIERL-UMa
Odeta Pereira CIERL-UMa
Paulo Miguel Rodrigues UMa, CIERL-UMa e CIEC-UC
Sara Bonati IGOT-UL, CIERL-UMa
Virgílio Baltasar UMa
V. Nuno Martins DRC-University of Delaware, CES-Univ. Açores

Proposing Institution:

CECC-UCP (Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura da Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Participating Institutions:



The collective, multi and trans-disciplinary research project, “(Dis)Memory of Disaster? Culture and natural hazards, catastrophe and resilience. Madeira island, a case study” (DMDM),aims at exploring the (re)construction of Madeira’s cultural memory and how that memory has been represented in the past and the present, either by recreating or rejecting the existence of natural hazards in the island.
DMDM is being carried out within the scope of the line of investigation “Culture & Conflict” of the Research Center for Communication and Culture (CECC) of the Catholic University of Portugal. In Madeira, DMDM has also the institutional support of the Reseach Center for Local and Regional Studies (CIERL) of the University of Madeira.
DMDM sets out to articulate scientific investigation, artistic creation/dissemination and civic engagement. The project will be developed along three complementary lines:

  • DMDM1_ scientific investigation: coordinated by Ana Salgueiro, this line is constituted by a group of researchers from many different areas (Anthropology, Archaeology, Health and Biological Sciences, Cultural Studies, Disaster Studies, Arts and Literary Studies, Tourism Studies, Geography, History, Psychology), and associated to several national and international academic institutions. Investigation is grounded on a diverse array of material: official/institutional documents, old reports and chronicles, periodicals, literary texts, various forms of artistic discourse, oral narratives, etc.
  • DMDM2_ The arts as place of memory of disaster in Madeira: coordinated by José Maria Montero and Ana Salgueiro, this line aims at: (1) encouraging the development of creative projects (literary, performative and/or visual) by artists (local, national or foreign) so as to artistically reflect on/conceptualize the (dis)memory of natural disasters in Madeira; (2) creating an artistic archive of the memory of natural disasters in Madeira, which may eventually be studied by DMDM1 researchers and others; (3) promoting social intervention and fostering the development of a culture of disaster and resilience so as to critically reflect on Madeira’s cultural memory, the relationship between community and natural environment, and risk assessment; and (4) dynamizing Madeira’s cultural and artistic systems.
  • DMDM3_ School Intervention and Citizenship Building: this line, coordinated by Maria João Beja and Ana Salgueiro, will challenge all schools in Madeira (especially those located in disaster-prone areas) to reflect on the memory of local natural disasters. Above all, it will focus on developing action research projects, coordinated both by teachers and researchers/artists.