Stories that create change

Everyone loves a good story. But sometimes it's hard to see the stories that invisibly govern our lives and the lives of the audiences we want to inspire.

This session will be a call to adventure: we'll take a journey into the past and the roots of storytelling. We'll look at how stories help us survive, how they help us live together, how they provide meaning, and how they influemce our behaviour and define (or redefine) what is possible. We'll look at some of the stories that function as modern mythologies -- the explanations of the invisible forces that make the world as it is. We'll consider what happens when big stories that shape the lives of millions, like the story of infinite economic growth, or the American Dream, start to crumble and make space for new stories that explain the world.

We'll ask some hard questions about why, in story terms, good causes sometimes fail to attract good people, and why decades of "We have 48 months to save the world" messaging hasn't delivered transformational change.

We'll look at the reasons storytelling seems to be on everyone's lips these days -- both the silly and serious ones.

We'll do practical exercises in mapping a campaign or project's story elements, using story as a communication tool, and we'll learn to spot a powerful formula for telling stories that get people up on their feet, and how to use it to tell our own stories.

By the end of the day, you'll learn a new way of seeing stories. You'll have a couple new tools in your kit bag for crafting them. You'll learn to map the role your organisation plays in the big story of who you are and why your supporters want to be a part of your work: the archetype you fill, the gift you give, the monster you want to slay, and the call to adventure that you make to your audience. We'll share the process and results by which the Story Team at Greenpeace International created not only a unifying organisational story, but a 7-point culture change agenda to match it.

We will close with a bedtime story about candy, and courage, and saving the world.

About the Trainers

Brian Fitzgerald, Dancing Fox Brian Fitzgerald worked for 35 years with Greenpeace as an activist, deck hand, technologist, hot air balloon pilot, communications director, and digital explorer. He and a small pirate team of story tellers at Greenpeace crafted a new organisational story for Greenpeace, and a culture change agenda to match: The Greenpeace Story and the 7 Shifts . Together with Tommy Crawford, he founded Dancing Fox Ltd in 2016, an agency dedicated to "mischief, magic, and mind bombs."

Lucy Taylor, Dancing Fox Lucy Taylor was with communications consulting firm eatbigfish when she brought her talents as a professional facilitator, improvisational actress, and big-picture thinker to the task of crafting the story of Greenpeace. As a member of On Your Feet, she's been a part of performances that blur the line between art and activism. Her superpowers include singing, cold-water swimming, and being a mom. She really likes puppets.

Dancing Fox’s workshop on storytelling grabbed the MA Media, Campaigning and Social Change students' attention from the start and held them spellbound till the end of the day. The balance of fun, deep thinking and actual storytelling in Mister Fox's workshop is just right. The students came away energised and with new insights into the layers of thinking and planning needed to develop high quality storytelling. The best attended class of the term, and the energy levels stayed skyhigh throughout. Please come back next year!

-Michaela O'Brien, Westminster University

I want to thank you so much for your inspiring and fantastic workshop yesterday! With your input I wrote today's newsletter copy and our editor did not change a single word! This is absolutley extraordinary - it never happens. And it's all thanks to you... I'm so excited - and so glad that I attended the workshop.

--Simone Kater, Campact

I was inspired, engaged, and encouraged!

--Ainslie Beattie, Transition Network

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