Social media link to Fukushima disaster studied

The role of social media and the arts in the Fukushima disaster recovery effort has come under focus at a Wollongong symposium.

Researchers affiliated with UOW’s Forum on Human Rights Research met peers on Wollongong campus at the weekend to share their research into the disaster’s aftermath.

Research topics included post-disaster theatre performances and literature.

Speakers explained how the arts had helped express trauma, grief and compassion, and forged new social connections in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

Carolyn Stevens, from Monash University, spoke of the role of photography in fostering compassion while social media was a major focus for researchers including Takanori Tamura, from Hosei University in Japan.

UOW’s Vera Mackie told the symposium social media had enabled the international community to connect more immediately with the disaster.

Vera Mackie and Carolyn Stevens.

‘‘Following other disasters, we’ve been watching on television, or maybe using a combination of television and the internet,’’ Professor Mackie told the Mercury.

‘‘But with [Fukushima], conventional means of communication weren’t necessarily working.

‘‘Twitter and all sorts of new media were really important for people to find out where it was safe to go.

‘‘I think, for people watching overseas it gave a greater sense of connectedness.’’

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