Home > Research > The Art of Resilience

The Art of Resilience Project

The "Art of Resilience”,  is a joint project with the International Centre for Comparative Criminology (CICC), University of Montreal and the Global Risk Governance, Programme, University of Cape Town.

The aim of the project is to understand how security professionals are responding to disruptive and unanticipated events. A key lens for this analysis is exploring how such professionals use the concept of resilience to understand and act across unfamiliar domains which are currently poorly secured - namely the ‘new worlds’ of the Anthropocene and cyberspace.

The Anthropocene presents unsecured environmental exposures which present new harmscapes, such as climate variability or water scarcity, which conventional approaches are ill-equipped to deal with. Likewise, the advent of ransomware attacks and data breaches present entirely new challenges to securing against such online harms within a ‘world’ which is generally poorly understood, governed or secured.

Through a documentary analysis and interviews with professionals who responded to major crises, the use and framing of resilience by a range of actors will be examined across multiple cases within Anthropocene and cyber domains. Comparative analysis hopes to contribute to enriching the many theoretical and normative perspectives on the subject.


Dupont, B., Shearing, C. & Bernier, M. In submission. Withstanding cyber-attacks: Cyber-resilience practices in the financial sector. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management.

Simpson, N.P. 2020. Water (in)security: The art of resilience, South Africa National Water Week.

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, CD., Dupont, B. 2020. ‘Partial functional redundancy': an expression of resilience in the Cape Town drought. Climate Risk Management. 28,

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, CD., Dupont, B. 2020. Gated adaptation during the Cape Town drought: Mentalities, transitions and pathways to partial nodes of water security. Society & Natural Resources

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C.D. & Dupont, B., 2020. When Anthropocene shocks contest conventional mentalities: a case study from Cape Town, Climate and Development, 12(2): 163-169, DOI:

Mutongwizo, T., Holley, C.,  Shearing, C.D. &  Simpson, N.P. 2019. Resilience policing: An emerging response to shifting harm landscapes, Policing.

Simpson, N., Simpson, K., Shearing, C. & Cirolia, L.R. 2019. Municipal Finance and Resilience Lessons for Urban Infrastructure Management: A Case Study from the Cape Town Drought. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development (TJUE).

Simpson, N.P., Shearing, C. & Dupont, B.. 2019. When Anthropocene shocks contest conventional mentalities: a case study from Cape Town, Climate and Development, DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2019.1609402

Simpson, N.P. 2018. Accommodating landscape-scale shocks: Lessons on transition from Cape Town and Puerto Rico, Geoforum,

The project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for a period of 4 years from 2018 - 2022.