Project team

In Sweden:

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María Mancilla García – Project leader
She currently holds a chair in the Department Environmental Humanities at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) and is a Researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.

I really excited about this project because it combines my theoretical work on relationality with an empirical case, more than that, with action research. It tries to understand communities’ perception of obstacles to desired futures and particularly focuses on obstacles related to environmental changes or threats. At the same time, it will seek to investigate, together with communities and from a transdisciplinary perspective, what possible changes could bring them closer to desired futures. I am looking forward to combining these different purposes and perspectives, and I trust the great team we have!

Tilman Hertz
Researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University

I have been working in the area of ​​climate change adaptation for over ten years. I am excited about this project because I feel that it has the potential to develop novel and fresh perspectives on problems and solutions related to adaptation to climate change. I am particularly curious about understanding the implications of adopting a relational approach to shaping governance approaches and looking forward to working together with this transdisciplinary team!


Tim Daw
Researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University

FoRel team which brings new methodologies and theoretical perspectives to issues that I have been working on with colleagues in coastal communities in E. Africa over the past decade. Most recently I lead a project (Sustainable Poverty Alleviation from Coastal Ecosystem Services (SPACES), in which we tried to understand how coastal ecosystems in Kenya and Northern Mozambique contribute to people’s lives. During the final stages of the SPACES project, we tried different methods to engage research participants and other stakeholders in understanding our results and how they could identify opportunities for sustainable poverty alleviation. Some of the key insights from the project came from these interactions. The participatory theatre was one method that we experimented with, and we were intrigued to see how successful it was for engaging people. FoRel is a great opportunity to enrich these ongoing collaborations (Eduardo Mondlane and Pwani Universities and WCS), with fresh methodological and theoretical expertise, to explore how forum theatre can help research participants to better understand and articulate their agency in the face of threats to their livelihoods and resources.


Liz Drury O’Neill
Post-doc researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University

María asked me to be a part of this project, and I am so honoured to do so! I come with more empirical rather than theoretical experience and with a great desire to learn from the philosophical María plus the sociologist on our team, as well as the other great members. I am very ready to enter East Africa where I have worked before, but now with the novel methodological approach, the FoREL project brings. I am excited to support the team in developing and building up to the theatre experience. Also, to explore the creation of more experiential knowledge which focuses on the relations between people, places and things, in the context of the rapidly changing East African coastline.

Taís González
MSc Student at the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University

When I first heard of the project I was really excited with the opportunity to do my internship at SRC in a practical way and learning by connecting with people and learning from them, learning by doing.  Learning in action. I lived in Mozambique, for 6 months in the Sofala Province almost 10 years ago, after that, I have been coming back as much as I could.

Rather than being a place to study resilience, Mozambique is a place where the resilience is produced, theorized and has reinvented itself. Additionally, I am happy to learn new methodologies and proud of seeing Forum Theatre being applied as a scientific method. Last but not least, I am happy to be able to contribute in the first phase of the FoRel project doing the initial field-work in Inhaca Island.

In Mozambique: 

photo_SB_with sods of seagrass for restoration _Inhaca 2019Prof. Salomão Bandeira – Project leader of the Mozambican team
Associate Professor in Marine Biology at the Department of Biological Sciences (DCB), Eduardo Mondlane University.

I am a half resident at Inhaca island (as a regular visitor several times a year!) and, it puzzles me the quiz for sustainability of marine and coastal resources around the Island and in Maputo Bay too. Coming for a ecological background I see FoRel as an avenue for in-depth analysis of communities real issues related to biodiversity, resources, communities groups organization, understating how defined communities in Mozambique and Kenya are engaging in attaining global agendas such SDGs, Biodiversity targets, social adaptation schemes, etc. Looks exciting having youth at the forefront in using alternative science to communicate and shaping our commonwealth. 

Dr. Marlino Eugénio Mubai
History Department at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique.

I am pleased to be part of this project because it provides a unique opportunity for community engagement scholarship. Unlike many research projects, this one puts more emphasis on the agency of local people in dealing with the transformations of their surrounding environments. Thus, I am eager to interact with local communities on an equal basis in the search for the best strategies to respond to the effects of environmental change. As an environmental historian, I am also looking towards combining transdisciplinary and empirical approaches in the analysis of vulnerability and resilience to environmental change.

BE8FD492-F9B3-4C5B-A911-512484E1DEA3Dadivo José
Art specialist for community mobilization.

I am the course coordinator of Arts and Communication at the Drama Department at Eduardo Mondlane University. I am also teaching African and Mozambican history of theatre, Body expression and applied theatre subjects (Theatre for Development, The Theatre of the Oppressed and Drama in education). I was excited when Marlino told me about the project just because it would be an opportunity for me to grow with the combination of theories and practices at the local level. It has been a beautiful challenge to create stories through the interpretation of the data that has been collected. I hope my contribution helps the project in this field where people play people.

In Kenya: 

Halimu2Professor Halimu Shauri – Project leader of the Kenyan team
Associate Professor in Sociology at Pwani University in Kenya. 

This project is a big bang for me because it provides an opportunity to reconcile natural and social sciences with the arts. The connection between the conservation idea, process and need for sustainable action through participatory approaches is the power that sustainability cogs ride on. Understanding community perception of environmental barriers to a sustainable future through their lens with the help of scientists and art experts to develop strategies to overcome them brings the desired future closer. I am excited to combine science and arts to bring the desired future to the participating communities through the great team in this project.

Nya_photoDr. Nyawira Muthiga
Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Marine Program in Kenya.

I am a conservation scientist working in the western Indian Ocean on coral reefs and focusing on ways to manage and conserve these important ecosystems. To this end, I work with communities, government agencies and other stakeholders to build capacity for management of MPAs, community-managed areas and co-managed areas. I am interested in this project because it is novel, and I hope to learn techniques and gain insights on how theatre can be used to discern people’s social and environmental perspectives. I also hope to share my experiences with the team while participating in the research.

Ms. Caroline Abunge
Socio-ecological research scientist with Wildlife Conservation Society Marine program Kenya.

I am a Socio-ecologists Scientist with Wildlife Conservation Society, Marine program Kenya. Graduate in Botany and Zoology from Allahabad University India. Up to now, I have been working with Coastal communities on various projects encouraging sustainability of coral reef fisheries through fish landings monitoring, seeking perceptions of resource users on different conservation options and active feedback of the research findings to same communities and stakeholders. I am interested in this project because climate change is a real issue, and adaptation and solution will come from information which communities have not been able to absorb effectively due to language and communication methods. FoRel is testing this new communication method-theatre. It will also be a learning process for me and other people I will share with.

Christopher Cheupe
Project research Assistant, Kenya.

I conducted my fieldwork in Msambweni, during July and October 2020. I believe that FoRel is a unique research project since it uses participatory theatre as an approach to achieve its goal. The participatory theatre has been widely used in development projects as a tool to reach new communities and effect positive discourse and change. I am happy to see FoRel as a research project using participatory theatre to carry out its mandate. This approach will allow the community to think, talk and ask questions about their environmental and community problems.