QuakeBox stories captured for future generations
Detailed memories of the Canterbury earthquakes, captured in video interviews of some 750 Canterbury residents, are safely preserved in the University of Canterbury (UC)’s QuakeBox archive and publicly available.
The UC QuakeBox sitting outside Westfield Riccarton, November 2012. Photo: Waynne Williams Port Hills Productions CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0
The QuakeBox team has since been funded by the Royal Society’s Marsden Fund to re-interview some of the original interviewees in a world-leading longitudinal study of the ongoing effects of a natural disaster.
Associate Professor Donald Matheson is a director of the Arts Digital Lab, which hosts the archive. “It is fascinating to revisit people’s stories of their personal experiences of the earthquakes,” he says. “I am very glad that we were able to take the QuakeBox out into the community in 2012 and capture this material. And now we can go back and interview some of them again to find out what has happened since then. We can learn a lot about the ongoing issues such as insurance claims and rebuilding, and other changes to people’s lives after these pivotal events.”
Professor Paul Millar, Deputy Pro-Vice-Chancellor, College of Arts, was interviewed on TVNZ One News about the project. “I don’t think the disaster is over until the last person has their life restored as close to normal as possible,” he told the programme.
Professor Millar has led the establishment at UC of New Zealand’s only Digital Humanities qualification, which helps develop digital skills in Arts students through participation in Arts Digital Lab projects such as the QuakeBox.