Volcán de Fuego, Guatemala


    From volcanic disaster to psychosocial recovery: art, storytelling and knowledge exchange between Guatemala, Colombia and Ecuador (ref. RR1018-3; 2018-2019).



    On 3 June 2018, there was a series of volcanic explosions and pyroclastic flows from the volcano ‘Volcán de Fuego’ in Guatemala. The event was the deadliest eruption in Guatemala since 1929, with over 1.5 million people impacted and hundreds killed. In the months following the eruption, the recovery process has been slow and mostly focused on rebuilding infrastructure while psychosocial aspects have not been prioritised.


    Objectives and activities: 

    This project contributes to the recovery of the communities and institutions affected by the event through knowledge and experience sharing from survivors of other volcanic eruptions in Colombia (Nevado del Ruiz) and Ecuador (Tungurahua). Using arts-based participatory methods and with the support of psychologists, two workshops were conducted in June 2019 focusing on capacity strengthening, social cohesion and psychosocial aspects of disaster recovery. The material produced during these activities (drawings, photography and videos) will be presented to the public in Antigua, Guatemala in June 2020. The exhibit will be co-curated between the project partners and the participants with the aim of opening other spaces to share stories of past events and visions of the future that contribute to psychosocial recovery. The project is a continuation of research carried out in partnership with Universidad de Manizales in Colombia and the University of Edinburgh.


    A mural created in Santa Rosa, a community affected by the eruption of Volcán de Fuego.


    This activity has primarily benefited community leaders and people working at institutions responsible for the recovery process in Guatemala. They have had an opportunity to deal with their own psychosocial concerns and at the same time learn from others about tools and mechanisms for psychosocial recovery. This activity will also benefit a larger number of people who will be able to experience the use of the expressive arts as a method of community engagement and building of social ties in Guatemala. In addition, the participants from Ecuador and Colombia, especially those from Universidad de Manizales, will strengthen their capacity and use storytelling and the expressive arts to support recovery processes in different contexts. All of the benefits listed above are of direct relevance to the welfare and development of Guatemala, Colombia and Ecuador.

    To ensure the sustainability of this network and the experiences and capacities developed through the network, the artwork, photos and videos created through this project will be on display at an exhibition centre in Antigua, Guatemala in June 2020.


    Did you know? 

    Viviana Ramirez Loaiza, a previous awardee of UEA’s Global Talent Research Fellowship, collaborated on this activity and travelled to Guatemala to support Teresa.


    SDG/target addressed:

    good health and well-being

    SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages



    Teresa Armijoa Burneo, Lecturer in Natural Resources & International Development, School of Global Development.