Communications & Culture for Narrative Change

Stories, values, and culture have the power to move hearts and minds in ways that facts and advocacy alone often cannot. Stories bypass our cynicism and partisan biases to tap directly into timeless narratives of struggle, power, redemption, and cooperation that have been told and retold since time immemorial. Nearly every child is raised to be kind, to share, to look out for others, to forgive, and to listen--it is only in adulthood that these earliest lessons somehow become naive.

The Opportunity Agenda sees those narratives as perhaps the single most powerful asset that the social justice movement has. That’s why we pursue a powerful combination of communications research, message framing and creative engagement, and why we work with advocates, musicians, activists, filmmakers, policymakers, writers, fine artists, playwrights and others, as well as the donors, producers, and collectors who bring meaningful work to life. Our approach helps social justice leaders tell a better story, move hearts and minds, and drive lasting policy and culture change.

Our research and the messages we disseminate build the capacity of social justice leaders to further those narratives. The creative work we pursue connects and lifts up powerful storytellers who are inspiring social justice leaders and shift the public discourse. Through targeted advocacy and highlighting the work of partners, we demonstrate the idea that when there is more opportunity, life improves for everyone. Using an asset-based frame of opportunity and possibility, we show how fundamental principles have been undercut by deficit-based terms like scarcity, handouts, victims and costs.

The result of this work is a social justice movement that is more effective, more inspiring, and more fun than if it tried to live by policy alone.