Framing, Narrative and Story-based Strategy

4 to 11 April 2020

new stories for a different world

Effective strategies for social transformation involve the contest for how we think, how we see, and the stories we tell about our world. New stories, new thinking, help new worlds come into being. This training aims to help our movements to tell better stories for a different world.

This training is delivered by the Public Interest Research Centre. PIRC works to help our movements—for equality, anti-oppression, and environmental justice—to understand framing and narrative and their role in social change and political organising.

The training will focus on the role of framing in work on climate justice and tackling the rise of the far right in Europe. It will draw on PIRC’s work on Framing Equality, Framing the Economy, and their recent Framing Climate Justice research project.

“Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Author

A full description of the training will be on this website in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s how PIRC describe their work:

“In the past year, we’ve definitely witnessed the power of stories. The mainstream media cast the already marginalised as undeserving: disempowering people and deepening divisions within communities. But we’ve also seen stories that transform society for the better. During Ireland’s equal marriage referendum, the ‘Yes’ campaign told a powerful story of the Irish people as generous, inclusive and fair. Its authenticity and the engaging methods used to tell it resonated, bringing about an historic ‘yes’ to equality.

We believe that social change requires deep shifts in thinking. We must still reform laws and technology – but neither is sufficient in solving entrenched social problems. Rather, we need to change public and political discourse: the stories we tell ourselves. We can easily get trapped in a story that restricts the possibility for change. A new story – a new way of thinking – can help new worlds come into being.

To address poverty, inequality, exclusion, conflict, and climate change, we need new stories. These must connect rather than divide, explain rather than obscure, and offer hope rather than fear. Yet civil society is often surprisingly ill-equipped to navigate this terrain. Many of the largest and best-resourced organisations have become overly-technical and risk-averse, struggling to tell authentic stories. Those with the best stories often don’t have the resources to develop or share them. Strategic communication – ‘framing’ – has been an expert-led field, requiring large consultancy fees and research budgets, inaccessible to most. Further, stories are at their most powerful when they’re shared and told widely: an organisation can’t shift stories on their own. Civil society must connect and support each other.

PIRC’s work on framing and narrative aims to better equip civil society to tell world-changing stories.”


“It is easy to forget how mysterious and mighty stories are. They do their work in silence, invisibly. They work with all the internal materials of the mind and self. They become part of you while changing you. Beware the stories you read or tell; subtly, at night, beneath the waters of consciousness, they are altering your world.”

—Ben Okri, Author


Suggested Contribution
In the solidarity economy: Invitation Only
(see the details of our approach to Solidarity Economics for details)

The Team

Our Name

Ulex: Latin (argelaga Catalan, gorse English) noun:

1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.

2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.

3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.