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Ethical Story Building for Narrative Change

April 25 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Explore the fundamentals of narrative change and learn ways to integrate it into strategic plans, storytelling, and communications!

Series Description:

Communications is a strategic site of intervention for impact organizations (nonprofits and charities). Media, policymakers, sector colleagues and the public are all influenced by the dominant, often harmful, narratives that shape our work. When we see communications as a tool for change, not just outreach and awareness, we can build capacity to shift the conversations that influence our work. This is the work of narrative power building.

Narrative power is “the ability to create leverage over those who set the incentives, rules and norms that shape society and human behavior.” (Rashad Robinson, 2018). When we build this power together, we interrupt the pervasive narratives that undermine our work towards justice, equity, decolonization, diversity, and inclusion (JEDDI).

Ethical Story Building for Narrative Change is a two-part training series designed to help equip organizations with the tools to understand and harness narrative power towards social change. Participants will explore the fundamentals of narrative change as a practice and learn tangible ways to integrate it into their strategic planning, storytelling, and communications. These interactive sessions will enable organizations to come together and build shared capacity for narrative change.

Although not required, we recommend participants attend both sessions, to get the most out of the workshop.

Session 1: Building Narrative Power

The first session will cover the fundamentals of narrative power building, the role of storytelling and counternarratives, navigating misinformation, and using narrative to further JEDDI (justice, equity, decolonization, diversity, inclusion) goals. This introduction will challenge you to imagine new narratives rooted in shared values and lived experiences and find allies in your ecosystem to help build systems of solidarity, support, and power.

Participants will leave with:

  • A foundational understanding of narrative power building
  • Skills to navigate misinformation
  • Tools to build and understand your narrative ecosystem

Session 2: Lived Experience Storytelling

Building on the frameworks and information in the first session, this session will explore how organizations can uplift lived experience/first voice storytellers through trauma-informed communications. We will bring a clear JEDDI approach to this work to ensure that we interrupt harmful and exploitative storytelling and communications practices and contribute to broader narratives of justice and change. We will explore how lived experience storytelling accelerates narrative change work and how organizations can do it safely.

Participants will leave with:

  • An understanding of the risks and opportunities of lived experience storytelling
  • Tools to understand power and authorship
  • A practical process for working with storytellers

Facilitated by:

Sarah Joynt-Bowe (she/they)

Sarah is a communications and narrative change strategist with over 15 years of experience developing dynamic, effective work for organizations in three countries and countless sectors. Over the course of her career, she has worked across strategic functions from in-house corporate communications to consulting and agency planning.

She has proven skills in campaign development, brand strategy, qualitative research, and workshop facilitation with an emphasis on building radical narrative power. Sarah is also an active community organizer working within anti-racist, abolitionist, and feminist social movements.