Our present is their past: intergenerational heritage and adaptation to climate extremes on the coast of Northern Peru

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the single largest source of climate variability on the planet and the intense rainfall and associated infrastructure damage associated El Niño events is generally presented as a disaster for communities in the hyper-arid north coast of Peru. However, these disaster narratives exclude the voices and undermine the resilience of communities who switch their livelihoods to make use of enhanced water availability by farming and fishing in the desert. We present ongoing work which reveals how formal and informal education spaces, often overlooked in disaster management, can engage young people and their wider communities in disaster preparedness and resilience planning. Teaching intergenerational oral history skills to secondary students enabled them and their families to reframe their responses to El Niño as valuable adaptive strategies – a modern iteration of deep (millennial) cultural heritage - rather than as indicators of contemporary marginality. This allowed students to develop a school museum to showcase their climate resilient heritage. It also prompted risk planning workshops in the community archaeological museum to stimulate cross-sectoral awareness of climate risks to tangible heritage. In both cases, the work has given renewed sense of pride in local cultural knowledge and practices, and is enabling young people to articulate connections between education, cultural heritage and climate resilience by connecting heritage and lived experience to competencies across the arts and sciences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransnational island museologies
EditorsKaren Brown, Jamie Brown, Ana González Rueda
Place of PublicationParis
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9782491997847
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2024
EventTransnational Island Museologies International Conference - University of St Andrews, St Andrews, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jun 20247 Jun 2024

Publication series

NameICOFOM materials for discussion


ConferenceTransnational Island Museologies International Conference
Abbreviated titleTIMC
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CitySt Andrews


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