Environmental Imaginaries and Storytelling

Bushfire Stories

Developing our understanding of how people experience bushfires.

Image by metrignome on Shutterstock. ID 750956152

This project will collect and archive community stories about Australian bushfires on a publicly viewable website called Bushfire Stories (www.bushfirestories.org). This archive will serve as a valuable platform that enables people to tell their stories and to be heard. It will provide an online space to express, engage with, and understand diverse experiences of bushfires – including those not necessarily covered in how bushfires are normally reported. This archive will also inform our research into how communities understand, experience, and narrate bushfires.

Bushfire stories are important resources. They reveal how people understand and experience bushfires, both directly and indirectly, as well as their ideas about the environment more generally. These ways of seeing inform how people act toward both. Notably, recent bushfire inquiries have emphasised local and individual action, responsibility and knowledge as the way forward for preparing and navigating future fire seasons. Bushfire stories therefore can also enrich our approaches to the complex and contested issues surrounding Australia’s fire seasons.