An exhibit which tells the story of the eruptions and aftermath of the Soufriere Hills Volcano is now on display at the Norwich Science Festival in the United Kingdom.
The interactive exhibit called Mountain Aglow is part of the Disasters Passed? project. It is a volcano-shaped ‘tent’ where you can explore what it feels like to be caught up in an eruption, the pulse of a volcano’s magmatic heart, and how scientists monitor its changes. Visitors can listen to recorded songs and stories, and watch the flow of magma that builds up to an explosion. This exhibit is created with and for the people of Montserrat and is at the festival, which runs until October 26.
Presenting at the festival is volcanologist Dr Karen Pascal from the Montserrat Volcano Observatory.
Disasters Passed? is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and is a collaboration between UEA, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, the Seismic Research Centre of the University of the West Indies, the British and Montserrat Red Cross and Output Arts. “We are very grateful for all the contributions from the community on Montserrat, whose voices you will hear,” said festival organisers.
Dr Pascal explained that the “Disaster passed?” project is three fold: the ‘Mountain aglow’ exhibit which will be given to Montserrat, the ‘NEST’ exhibit intending to engage UK policy-makers and NGOs about appropriate prevention and response to the various hazards encountered in the Caribbean, and a website which bridges the two exhibits and allows for more materials to be displayed.
“Overall “Mountain aglow” is an interactive display, intended to inform the visitors about volcanic risks and how they are mitigated, but it also has a strong socio-economical content and it shows the transformations the country and the population have experienced during the eruption. The mobile, collapsible structure is pyramid-shaped, big enough for people to enter and be immersed in the exhibit (10 x 10 feet on floor, 10 feet high). It describes on its 6 panels 6 aspects of the eruption: ‘Before and ‘After’ , ‘Moments of Light and Laughter’, ‘The Volcano’s Guts’ (ie volcano monitoring/risk managements), ‘Ash and Falling Stones’, ‘Moving, Crossing and Leaving’ and ‘Volcano Island’. These 6 themes emerged from group interviews carried out in Montserrat as well as with the Montserrat diaspora in the UK. In addition to pictures, the panels include relevant excerpts from individual interviews and from calypsos.”
On the 26th at the ‘Small island, big volcano’ event, author and Professor Yvonne Weekes will give a talk about the creative response to Soufrière Hills volcano eruption.
Mountain Aglow will be shipped to Montserrat in time for the Alliouagana Festival of the Word in November for attendees to experience.
“Not only has the exhibit been built in collaboration with Montserratians, but it will also be possible to add more materials to it, for example more audio-materials or different panels. As it is mobile, it can be displayed outdoors. And because of its holistic approach to the volcanic eruption and its socio-economical but also cultural impacts on the island, it can be used in a wide range of contexts, from showing it in schools, risk awareness days, festivals or even for tourists. Not only it will inform the public, Montserratian or not, but we hope it will generate discussions within the Montserratian population,” added Dr Pascal.
Learn more about the exhibit and the science festival at the links below.