As the new year gets underway, our team has been reflecting on the articles, essays, and projects that have shaped our thinking around communications, narrative change, and movement power. What have you read/listened to/watched lately that has influenced your own comms work?
“I loved this essay Bridgit Antoinette Evans wrote for Pop Culture Collaborative on how as a sector, we need to challenge our impulse to change ‘the narrative’ on a particular issue, and instead embrace the work of transforming whole narrative oceans—that is, the ecosystems of narratives, ideas, and cultural norms that shape the behaviors, mindsets, and worldviews of millions of people.”
(Check out Trina’s full list of must-reads here: Top 10 Social Change Favorites)
“This article by Brett Davidson in Stanford Social Innovation Review makes the most compelling case I’ve seen for the necessity of narrative change in our work. He writes about the human tendency to justify existing systems, even broken ones, and offers real solutions.
“The BROKE project–a collaboration between the Center for Public Interest Communications, Radical Communicators Network, and Milli–offers communicators new ways to talk about poverty and wealth–and imagine new narratives. I put the report to work right away. And the tools and resources for developing your narrative and stories are useful for change makers beyond those working in economic justice.”
“This critical conversation (you can watch the entirety of it on Nonprofit Quarterly) is for social justice communicators navigating social media as a place for education, information sharing, and also right-wing, fascist, and anti-Black propaganda. The panel discussion covers the issue from various angles; it gives the history of misinformation and disinformation attacking movements before the internet–and also gives us ideas and techniques to use in our storytelling and narrative work.”
“I’ve been doing lots of work in the housing space over the last two years, including supporting the launch of a set of narrative tools for advocates. Given that context, I really appreciate this piece from the Othering & Belonging Institute because it beautifully demonstrates how so many distinct issues can be wound up into a single narrative. In this case, it’s a narrative that sometimes helps and sometimes hurts the efforts of advocates advancing a wide of solutions from, shifts in policy, changes in practice, and market incentives. It’s a great reminder that the stories we tell must tee up the demands we seek.”