Latest Posts


New Publication Media That Moves Creating anti-racist representations of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK media

The Media that Moves project is one of the best things we have been involved in. It gives us the strength to go forward on the right road to tackle the negative news that journalists publish about us every day.”
Mena Mongan, Community Engagement Officer at London Gypsies and Travellers

We know the media environment around Gypsy and Traveller people is harmful, discriminatory and racist. This in turn fuels the damaging policy, exclusion and prejudice the communities face to this day. The bigger question is why? And what can be done to move towards anti-racism in the UK’s media?

Launched today, Media That Moves is a report from PIRC in partnership with Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange and London Gypsies and Travellers. Based on 30 interviews with journalists, editors and activists and workshops with the Gypsy and Traveller community, the report examines the role of the media in perpetuating negative stereotypes, influences on the media, dominant narratives, and where they come from. Read more


Comms Good Practice To segment or not to segment? When to use audience segmentation in campaigns

Segmentation research needs to serve our strategy, not be the strategy. And we should only do it if it’s the best way to understand our audience, if we keep our communications rooted in our values, and if we can actually target the segments we find. 

On the face of it, audience segmentation is a no brainer for campaigners.

Sorting people into groups makes sense because there are real and important differences between us—like our beliefs about what causes poverty, or whether the UK should have left the EU. We know that some of these differences are significant in how people respond to communications. And campaigners need to communicate in ways that are relatable and compelling for different audiences.

If the golden rule of communication is to understand who you are communicating with, then segmentation surely helps you do that? 

It definitely can. But without the right tools and strategy to hand, it can be used in a crude and damaging way.

Read more


New Publications Framing Worksheets DIY Framing Project Guides

Off the back of our Framing Climate Justice project, we produced this set of six worksheets to help you deliver different aspects of framing and narrative work…

  1. Project Design
    How to design and plan your very own framing project.
  2. Our Story
    How to build common ground in your sector or movement.
  3. Audience Research
    How to better understand how your audience thinks about your issue.
  4. Comms Objective
    How to use your research so far to set a clear and measurable objective.
  5. Create Frames
    How to generate creative ideas to meet your comms objective.
  6. Test Frames
    How to test your new communication ideas to see if they work.

For more background on these, see the FCJ Process Page.


Messaging Guide Climate Justice Messaging Guide It’s here!

The Climate Justice Messaging Guide is tailor made for campaigners, activists, spokespeople, and anyone trying to talk about climate justice. 

The guide brings together learnings from Framing Climate Justice, a participatory movement framing project that we coordinated, alongside our friends at and NEON, and a group of 26 amazing campaigners and activists seeking to firmly centre justice in climate change communications. 

It’s a critical time to make sure we are talking about climate change in the right way. We need to find effective ways of framing climate change with reference to historical injustices and colonialism, acknowledging that those who are most affected around the world are the least responsible, while advocating solutions that redistribute power and centre communities on the frontline. 

Simple stuff right? 

While it might not always be straightforward, it can be done. We’ve designed the Climate Justice Messaging Guide to help you navigate talking about climate justice. 

The guide includes:

  • common attacks and how to mitigate them;
  • helpful words to use for talking climate justice;
  • key metaphors to help develop messaging;
  • stats to help tell stories;
  • details on how people in the UK think about climate justice;
  • a core messaging outline.

The guide is available for download here

We’d love to know how you get on and are always open to feedback. 

There’s loads more work and research we have planned for how to frame climate justice so if you’re interested in updates please sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter


Freelance Opportunity Work with us Fundraiser

PIRC are looking for a freelance fundraiser to lead six months of trust fundraising to support a programme of work to diversify, democratise and deepen civil society’s work on narrative change.

We’re looking for someone who can develop our existing fundraising plan; draft and complete funding applications; research trusts/foundations; meet with funders to build relationships; and work with team members to complete general fundraising activities.

Days: Estimate of 50 days over 6 months initially.
Rate: £300 London / £250 Rest of UK per day (negotiable).
Contract: Fixed-term, 6 months, with 3-month review and the possibility of extension and/or a permanent position, dependent on funding.
Location: Remote
Deadline: 12pm, Monday 2nd August

For more info, visit


Website Framing Climate Justice A new resource on how to talk about climate justice...

Stories are central to creating change: you need a good one to make it happen. But what does a good climate change story look like? Or more elusively, what about a good climate justice story?

Climate campaigners are increasingly bringing questions of justice into our work, but it can be difficult to know which narratives work, and which values, metaphors, and examples can motivate people to act.

The Framing Climate Justice project was set up to explore these issues and develop some initial findings and recommendations for the movement. We’re excited to announce that we’ve put together all the project materials in one place:  Read more

Elena & Dora

Pandemic Response: Part 7 Narrative tactics And how to respond...

Looking out at the not-so-normal-new-normal as we near the end of 2020, Dora Meade and Elena Blackmore have been thinking about the key narrative *tactics* currently in play and how social and political movements should respond:

  1. The co-option of language in the battle of ideas. Everyone wants to Build Back Better now: with radically different agendas. Messaging is regularly being borrowed/stolen, losing its meaning, squeezing the narrative space & confusing the debate.

    … Is this tactic a problem or should we see it as a win? Should we relinquish co-opted rhetoric or hold ground? Does it suggest we need to hone our messaging or shift tone?

  2. Optimism over reality. A PMA can get you anywhere, right?! A compelling story of a rosy future is a powerful tool: obscuring the current mess. Opponents are positioned as ‘doomsdayers’, far less appealing to persuadables, and alienating/confusing for anyone who doesn’t agree.

    … So how to do critical opposition whilst telling a story of a better future? How do we highlight stories of injustice and oppression, whilst explaining things can be different?

  3. Pointing the finger. Where we level responsibility shapes the solutions we seek. Should we be dobbing in our neighbours & blaming asylum seekers for their own plight (sp. alert: no) or calling for a change of policy? Blaming individuals obscures responsibility of politicians.

    … How do we move away from individual responsibility framing? What can we do to call this out and bring systemic (and often historic) responsibility into the frame?

  4. Politics as theatre. We increasingly consume politics in short, dramatic ‘acts’: engineered arguments (Rule Britannia), bizarre media moments (Home Secretary on the cliffs of Dover), outlandish leaked policy ideas. How quickly can the Overton Window be shifted?

    … Is it ever strategic to be silent? Should we come out on the attack or are there times when we stoke the fire of unhelpful debates? How can we shift focus away from the theatre and back to reality?

  5. Crisistunism. Yeah we said it. Using crisis as a narrative opportunity—‘shock doctrine’ style—to normalise regressive policies & shape a new common sense. Think draconian migration restrictions (via scapegoating +hate) & the attacks on the judiciary (‘activist lawyers’).

    … How can we call this out? What role is there for narrative in resisting these policies? Especially when other forms of protest might be more constrained by pandemic restrictions.

Read more


#blacklivesmatter Narrative is fractal 5 Why we need more than words to truly face racism

Narrative is more than words

He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle.
Roxie Washington, mother of George Floyd’s daughter

I don’t think many people truly believe the old sticks and stones adage anymore. But working in the world of framing and strategic comms, it’s easy to take it to the other extreme and believe the power of words to be paramount. But words are just one vehicle for the meaning we extract from and use to shape our lives.

What causes my gut to wrench and the grief to wrack my body when I hear of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade is, only in the simplest of senses, caused by the words I read on a screen. The immediate pain lies in the stories themselves, located beyond the words: the brutal events, the violent interplay between the characters, the horror of the ending. The lives taken: the whole, messy, beautiful humans who will never again walk through their front door or laugh or hug their loved ones again.

And each of their stories is another tile in an incomprehensibly vast mosaic of a narrative that taps into a deep well of familiar pain, a dull ache that I’ve held for as long as I remember.  Read more


Charity Governance Awards We won an award! 2020 Board Diversity and Inclusion Award

PIRC is delighted to have won the Board Diversity and Inclusion 2020 Charity Governance Award.

We were honoured to have been considered alongside two such amazing organisations as Happy Baby Community and Irise International.

PIRC works alongside civil society organisations for social justice. We have recognised for some years that in order to live our values, we must also look squarely at our own working practices, and particularly at power, diversity and liberation. Since 2015, we have built a non-hierarchical management structure to start to address power imbalances in the organisation. We have prioritised anti-oppression, not just in the recruitment, but also the subsequent training and induction, of new staff and Trustees. This means both seeking diverse voices and stretching the organisational understanding of accessibility beyond inclusion and into liberation and justice. Diversity and inclusion are not just check-boxes, and we recognise that to truly embed the value of equality is the work of a lifetime. Read more

Dora & Bec

Pandemic Response: Part 6 Pandemic Resources Regularly updated

Action is the antidote to despair. Joan Baez

Resources for communicating about COVID-19:

For understanding the psychology of pandemics:

Read more


Pandemic Response: Part 5 Virus as beast or crime 3 Why episodic and thematic framing matters

There’s a 2011 study in which researchers tested the effects of framing crime using the metaphors of either crime-as-virus or crime-as-beast. Participants in the study read one version of the following:

“Crime is a {wild beast preying on/virus infecting} the city of Addison. The crime rate in the once peaceful city has steadily increased over the past 3 years. In fact, these days it seems that crime is {lurking in/plaguing} every neighborhood. In 2004, 46,177 crimes were reported compared to more than 55,000 reported in 2007. The rise in violent crime is particularly alarming. In 2004, there were 330 murders in the city, in 2007, there were over 500.”

It reflects the distinction between episodic and thematic framing: encouraging us to either see crime as a single event (beast) or as a wider issue (virus)1.

It is now 2020, and the very model of a thematic frame—the virus—is itself an episodic frame. 

Read more

Bec & Dora

Pandemic Response: Part 4 Pandemic Metaphors 21 Tracking the narrative

Analyses of language reveal the extraordinary fact that we use around one metaphor for every ten seconds of speech or written work. If that sounds like too much, it’s because you’re so used to thinking metaphorically – to speaking of ideas that are ‘conceived’ or rain that is ‘driving’ or rage that is ‘burning’ or people who are ‘dicks’. Our models are not only haunted by ourselves but by properties of other things.Will Storr, The Science of Storytelling

Metaphors help us make sense of complex or sensitive information. By offering us a structure for how to think, they point us towards what the problem is, and therefore what the solution should be. Often they slip in unseen. We can use them, repeat them and extend them without even realising it.

If you are communicating about the current pandemic and you are trying to build the case for a responsible, caring and proportional response, then your use of metaphor can either help or hinder.

In the past week, on either side of the UK Government announcing a ‘lockdown’, we’ve been paying close attention to the metaphors being used to talk about COVID-19. We read through a selection of the most read articles in the most read online news media outlets—the BBC, Sky News, the Guardian and the Daily Mail—and have come across the imagery of apocalypse, acceleration, burden, tsunami, invasion, fortification and bottlenecks.

There are many metaphors flying around, but two of the most widely used at the moment are war and crime. Below we examine the implication of these prominent metaphors—alongside some other metaphors to watch (some helpful, some not) over the next few weeks.

Read more

Bec & Dora

Pandemic Response: Part 3 Pandemic Beliefs 1 Understanding the narrative

Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. Milton Friedman

So what are the ideas that are lying around?

You may not share Milton Friedman’s opinion of the ideas we need lying around. But our response to COVID-19 will depend on what they are. At the moment, narratives about COVID-19 are competing for some of our most deeply held beliefs about the way the world works. If we are communicating about COVID-19 we need to be careful about which of these we are appealing to, and which we are avoiding.

Our piece The Narratives We Need goes more deeply into some of these core beliefs, and what they mean for our communications.

Here we outline some of the specific helpful and unhelpful beliefs about COVID-19. This is about framing: the core concepts to leave in, or out. It is not a list of messaging dos and don’ts. But you can use it to help develop a messaging strategy, or as a checklist to evaluate your ideas against. Read more


Pandemic Response: Part 2 Messages of Hope 1 From across civil society

When we drop fear, we can draw nearer to people [in some ways at least], we can draw nearer to the earth, we can draw nearer to all the heavenly creatures that surround us. bell hooks

We have in the past week been grateful to receive several beautiful messages of hope from our colleagues and friends around the world—affirming both the need for immediate mutual aid and for challenging unhelpful narratives. 

We pass on their wise words below… Read more