A Tale of Two Contrasting Realities

Authors: Chris Moench in collaboration with the Resilience Narratives Team

This creative communications project is a collaboration between the ISET-International Resilience Narratives team and ceramic artist Chris Moench. This collaboration produced two three foot tall ceramic prayer wheels which are adorned with detailed illustrations of threat (Prayer Wheel #1) and hope (Prayer Wheel #2). Prayer wheels are an ancient art form that invite interaction. With a gentle push, the viewer can set the wheel into motion and watch as the stories “come to life.”

Viewers are invited to ponder the complex, global systems which are depicted on each wheel, and then write their reflections on a card and place them inside one of the vessels. This action makes the wheels fully interactive and opens the discussions of resource management, connectivity, and community resilience to people of diverse cultural and technical backgrounds.

In addition to the prayer wheels, the Resilience Narratives team has produced a portfolio of communications products which includes:

  • A series of short 3–4-minute documentaries on resilience which draws from experiences out of South and Southeast Asia and the United States. Stories are told through the voice of experts and community members who are engaged in community resilience building activities.

  • Shadow puppet theater, developed in collaboration with the Firefly Shadow Theater, which tells the tale of resilience and vulnerability through the use of shadows and light.   

  • Multi-media exhibitions, focused group discussions, and workshops, which use simple hands on games to open concepts of resilience and the complexity of urban systems to a broad range of audiences and actors.

  • All of the above creative communication products are informed by rigorous research and writing which takes form in working papers, publications, and peer-review journal articles.

These products are meant to contribute substantively to the understanding of what resilience is and what it is not. Pursuing this creative communications project has opened the opportunity to explore new methods of communicating science, while honoring the nuances and complexity of the subject matter. The Resilience Narratives has allowed us to enhance the quality of communications with our intercultural and inter-disciplinary audience. 

To see more of Chris Moench's work, please see: www.axisofhope.net


Fox, M., & the Resilience Narratives team (2015). A tale of two contrasting realities [Video]. Boulder, Colorado: ISET-International.

Funded by: 

Rockefeller Foundation


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PO Box 20321

Boulder, Colorado 80308 USA

Phone 303-656-9609



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