In November of 2022, The Confluence Lab had the opportunity to lead a Fire Resilience Workshop in Talent, Oregon, hosted in tandem with Coalición Fortaleza and Our Family Farms.
Marking two years since the Almeda Fire of 2020, community leaders from local Rogue Valley organizations started by sharing their stories from the fire, recalling the emotional and physical impacts they experienced. This reflective and connective sharing created a space which moved us into the second half of the workshop. Participants were grouped into teams, given large sheets of poster board and a variety of materials (markers, colored pencils, scissors, tape, yarn, etc.), and asked to map their vision of what it would look like to move forward as a resilient community. There were no parameters given outside of this prompt. Engaged discussion and making took over the room, as just the right language and images were developed for each of the teams’ visions. For some this required the braiding of yarn to capture a sense of interwoven community, while others used layered paper, creating an interactive door to further emphasize a feeling of welcome. The Confluence Lab team’s job was to be attentive to these creative choices as they happened, asking what the goal was of each signifier in relation to the desired message.
Once their posters were complete and had been presented, it was shared that as a final step, Megan Davis would transpose their works into unified digital designs. To ensure the integrity of the original concepts and messages was maintained, Megan interviewed team members at the end of the workshop and held review sessions with participants and her team throughout the design process. While both the original and digital works are equally valuable, this final step produces deliverables that can serve the community as shareable files, adaptable to multiple locations and contexts. Whether printed and displayed in shared spaces or sent within a digital platform, the voices of community members can serve as a touchstone as they continue to grow as a resilient Jackson County.
results from workshop participants
workshop deliverables, designer: Megan Davis
1. May our needs propel us to break and rebuild the very systems that left us in need in the first place.
2. There is no "wrong door" for service needs. All lead to a connected, resourceful community.
3. Towards a resilient Jackson County, Oregon: We build for the future. We build trust. We honor the lessons. We strive for well-being. We care for each other. We ask what you need. We share best practices. We collaborate. We are inclusive.
4. We open the door to community healing.
Megan Davis sharing her experience during the
Confluence Lab's presentation "Ground Truths & Grapplings: Apprehending Fire through the Fire Humanities" at the Malcom M. Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium in Moscow, ID in October 2023
Megan Davis is a graphic designer passionate about the roles of art and design as key players in social change. She seeks to use design as not only a medium for spreading awareness but as an active agent. As a result, her work has become increasingly oriented around community practice, audience engagement, and in some cases, utilization. Davis has earned her bachelor’s degree in graphic design, worked professionally as a designer in Seattle for 5 years, has held a variety of design volunteer and intern positions ranging from nonprofits in Colorado to Kenya, and is now earning her MFA at The University of Idaho while also teaching undergraduate art courses as the instructor of record.