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Workshop on Storytelling and policy advocacy

Organizations working to get research and evidence - in a wide range of areas -  incorporated into policy often rely on the discredited ‘deficit model’ of science communication. The deficit model assumes decision-makers just lack the correct information, and that all they need are the ‘facts’, in order to create evidence-based policies. But we know from a vast amount of research that this is not how human decision-making works, and it’s not how political decision-making works. We also know that storytelling can be really effective in conveying messages and persuading people in a wide range of contexts.

Workshop Outline

This workshop, informed by my research and experience helping a wide range of organizations around the world use storytelling effectively in their advocacy for evidence-informed policy, will cover the following topics: 


  • Why simply providing policymakers with ‘the evidence’ is not enough to bring about change.

    • Why stories play an important role in individual decision-making.

    • Two reasons stories are important in the complicated political context of policy making

  • The limits of focusing only on ‘evidence’. What do we mean when we talk about ‘evidence’?

  • The pros and cons of storytelling in policy advocacy

  • Guidelines for telling effective stories:

    • Clarifying your goal

    • How to structure a compelling story

    • Telling systemic stories

    • The role of language, imagery and metaphor

    • Dealing with numbers

    • Visual storytelling

  • Case studies of the use of storytelling in policy advocacy 

  • Discussion of participants’ examples and challenges


Time:  90 Minutes (remote)


$1000/group of 10-15 people (from a single organization)

$100/person (individual participants)

Consulting on Storytelling and Policy Advocacy:


In addition to the workshop, I am available to discuss with organizations how they might develop a strategy and action plan for using storytelling effectively for a specific policy advocacy campaign or project.

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