Building Our Narrative Power Skill-up to shape the narrative for justice and social change

Are you a changemaker, a storyteller, or someone who’s looking to shift the way people think, feel, and act? Then we’d love to learn, grow, and build collective narrative power with you.

Thanks to everyone who has applied, we’ll be in touch soon.
If you’re interested in supporting the programme as a mentor, trainer, or content partner, email our Workshops Lead, , with a bit of info about you, how you’d like to be involved and any useful links 🙂

We’re PIRC, and we’ve spent the last 15+ years helping people make change through the stories that we tell. It’s the work of narrative change: changing the current of how people think, to create waves of action and lasting progress.

We’re excited to launch the ‘Building Our Narrative Power’ course. We’ll bring together 16 people who are all interested in changing the narrative across social, climate, and economic justice, and are impacted by oppression. For example: white supremacy, transphobia, anti-immigration policies, poverty, police violence, ableism, or living on the frontline of climate breakdown. 

This course is free and expenses will be covered. We also have a limited number of full and partial bursaries available, to pay folks for the time they devote to the course.
Read on for full details!

What’s it all about?

‘Building Our Narrative Power’ is a year-long course about using narratives for justice and social change. It will include in-person residentials, online workshops, discussion groups, practical exercises, and mentoring, followed by tailored post-course support. And if you join us, it will be co-designed by you.

We know that the professional narrative-change sector in the UK has been dominated by a narrow range of people: mostly white, straight, middle and upper class, non-disabled, and strongly favouring western academia. This programme aims to challenge that, taking what’s worked and shifting what’s not. All participants will have lived experience of what they’re working to change.

We will support you to develop the skills, knowledge, community, and infrastructure to go deeper with your narrative-change work, and train others to do the same. We will also hold space for co-learning, resource redistribution, sharing, growth, and rest.

We’re dreaming of a strengthened and resourced community of narrative changemakers, collectively helping to birth new narratives that bring new worlds into being. If you’d like to be part of this, we’re keen to hear from you!

Who is the programme for?

We are inviting 16 people with lived experience of the issues they are working on to join us. Folks will be focusing on a range of different justice-related issues, from different backgrounds and experiences, thinking intersectionally about their work. You might be paid for this work, or doing it unpaid alongside your community.

We are looking for community leaders, or those who’d like to step into deeper leadership. We see leaders as the people who uplift others, can be held accountable by their communities when they get things wrong, who work to do better, and encourage others to be leaders too. If you are the person in your community who enjoys supporting others and sharing learnings with peers then this is for you.

You are invited to join in pairs, because we know how much easier it is to develop new ideas when you’ve got a collaborator from the start. You can either apply together or be matched through the application process.

You will bring a project or focus to apply your learning to during the programme. Some examples of focuses might be:

  • “We’re a transgender mutual aid group with a few journalist contacts. We want the media to tell fairer and kinder stories about trans people, and we want to learn from other movements about their experiences of media visibility.”
  • “We’re part of a network of residents who want our neighbours to put pressure on our local councils for more affordable housing, and we want to have a joint message to do that.”
  • “I work in campaign communications in a national disability charity. I want us to advocate for an intersectional approach in our sector, but I don’t know where to start.”
  • “My friends and I have experience of navigating the anti-immigration environment in the UK. We want to organise with others to tackle some of the deep beliefs in the UK that made anti-immigration policies possible—beliefs like ‘fear of the unknown’.”
  • “We have lived under the flight paths of London City Airport and want to join-up with other people with similar experiences, to create a narrative-change guide on ‘sacrifice zones’.”

You will be supported to build narrative power by creating narrative strategies for your groups, developing communication guides, creating cultural content, intervening in public debate, training others, and seeking opportunities for cross-movement narrative alignment.

Programme structure and vibe

The programme is made up of seven peer-learning sessions, including two in-person residentials and five online sessions, throughout 2024. This will be followed by tailored post-programme support for up to a year..

We want to challenge traditional learning methods, so we will co-design the programme with you, taking your guidance on what you need, while providing offerings, ingredients, and support.

The course

We’ll co-design a course to build narrative power across the communities we are from. There will be space, time, and support to develop your own projects. You’ll share your experience and skills with one another too. We’ll invite you to share your learning hopes for the course, and also consider what you might like to offer/ teach/ share with one another. Don’t worry if you’re not sure yet—our coaches and mentors can work with you to figure it out.

At PIRC, we’ve got lots of ingredients we can offer to the course, including workshop activities, toolkits for building narrative strategies, and communications research findings. And we’ve got a community of staff, associates, and trainers excited to run sessions with you.

Our first session will be a five-day residential where we’ll offer some introductory workshops to build a shared understanding of the role that narrative work can play in social change, explore the history of storytelling, and the deep roots of why we think the way we do. We’ll reflect on our relationships to ‘leadership’, and set intentions and dreams for the course.

  • Developing a decolonial approach to narrative change
  • Analysing the narrative landscape: understanding how society thinks about our issues
  • Finding the points of intersection across our issues, building shared and complementary narrative strategies
  • Identifying moments and opportunities for narrative shift
  • Firing-up our radical imaginations, and developing narrative and framing ideas collaboratively
  • Testing narrative and framing ideas

We’re also part of a wide ecosystem of narrative change and strategic communications practitioners who offer support in many of the areas listed above, plus:

  • Campaign strategy
  • Creative communication skills-building (e.g. video-making, graphic design, media stunts)
  • Influencing pop culture (e.g. film, TV, books, music)
  • Navigating traditional and alternative media (e.g. broadcast and print journalism, social media)

Follow-up support

After the 2024 course, up to a year of tailored support is available in 2025, helping you run with your learnings from the course. This could look like: further sessions with your mentor, one-to-one coaching from the PIRC team, book clubs, action learning sets, signposts to training opportunities, link-ups with other narrative change practitioners or potential funders, platforms for sharing your work across our movements, and more.



Once you join the programme, we’ll explore your hopes and dreams for the course in Autumn this year, before the main sessions start in 2024.

We’ve set the date for the first residential session in January 2024, and the rest is open for us to work out together with you. For now, here’s an idea of what we’re imagining:

  • Session One: 29 January – 2 February 2024, 5-day in-person residential
  • Session Two: TBC: March 2024, 1-day online workshop
  • Session Three: TBC: May 2024, 1-day online workshop
  • Session Four: TBC: July 2024, 2 x half-day online workshops
  • Session Five: TBC: September 2024, 1-day online workshop
  • Session Six: TBC: November 2024, multi-day in-person residential
  • Session Seven: TBC: December 2024, 1-day online workshop

Location & Venues

We are currently working on the logistics for the programme. Our first session will take place in person, in Wales, at the Centre for Alternative Technology. You can view venue access information here. Any further in-person sessions will take place in wheelchair-accessible venues, and we will fully consider everyone’s access needs while booking and publish full access information for the venues ahead of time.

Supporting your participation

Places on the programme are free, with all course costs covered, and travel and food expenses too. But if your organisation is able to cover your travel expenses and/or make a donation to the course costs, that would help us make more bursary funding available – increasing access for others

There are a limited number of bursaries and part-bursaries to pay for time spent on the course. We are offering this to combat the inequality in our society that undervalues the unpaid work of grassroots organisers, and leaves opportunities like this most accessible to those from more privileged backgrounds. We want to ensure this project is accessible to everyone, and particularly to facilitate people who are affected by economic injustice to attend and share their expertise.

We’ll be looking at various ways to support people to participate: such as covering childcare, and ensuring venues and facilitation are accessible. Please let us know if there may be barriers to your participation so we can work to address them.

We want to support participant wellbeing throughout the programme. There will be a quiet space, crafting materials, nature connection activities, energisers, and long breaks. We want to prioritise rest and gentleness. We are also currently fundraising for individual wellbeing budgets

Get in touch

Want to get involved or find out more? Please let us know if you have questions about any of this! Email Faith, Kaan and Hannah at for more. You might also find an answer in our FAQs below.


Is this programme for me?

We’re looking for folks who are excited to learn more about the role of narrative change and strategy in our movements. Maybe you are:

  • Thinking about how storytelling, communications and framing can help bring about change
  • A frontline campaigner who’s really into using stories as part of your work
  • Already involved in narrative-strategy, strategic communications, or culture-change work

We know that lots of us are doing this work, and not all of us call it by the title of ‘narrative change’ or see ourselves as ‘leaders’. If you want to change big societal narratives and beliefs about your issue, and you’ve got some ideas or questions about how to do that, then this course is for you!

This programme is for those with lived experience of what they are trying to change. We are looking for people who want to decolonise narrative change work, both as part of the programme and outside of it. With this in mind, we will:

  • Celebrate and prioritise rest, gentleness, and space for growth and change
  • Take a transformative justice approach where we can all be accountable for our mistakes
  • Experiment with breaking-down power dynamics in learning spaces
  • Co-design the programme with participants

If you want to be part of designing your own learning experience, as part of a community of people who want to do the same, then this could be a space for you.

We want to help push movement resources to the grassroots, the frontlines, and those who are facing marginalisation. Please think about whether this programme is for you, or if there are other folks you could support to apply instead. And if you’re not sure, drop us a message on . We’d love to chat!

What do you look for in applicants?

We are looking for people who, like us, have an interest in narrative change and narrative strategy—the “how” of transforming how society thinks and feels about climate, social and economic justice.

We are looking for people who are excited about learning more, collaborating across movements, and sharing experience with others on the programme and in your communities.

How will the bursaries work?

We have a limited number of support bursaries available which allow for payment for your time attending and working on the programme. If this time is not covered elsewhere (e.g. your current employer / organisation)—we can make monthly payments based on the amount of time you have dedicated to the programme.

Is my bursary taxable?

Unfortunately, as this is not a full-time course, any bursary received will be regarded as taxable income. If you do not already, you may have to complete a tax return for the years covered by the programme. Both and can provide more information.

What if I’m on benefits—will a bursary affect that?

We are looking into the details and will provide more information as soon as we can. However, it is likely both the bursary and attending the residential may have an impact on benefits. Until we can clarify the situation, we would recommend speaking to

What expenses will be covered?

We can cover all reasonable travel, accommodation and sustenance expenses incurred by attending the course.

The first residential will take place at the Centre for Alternative Technology, where we will stay overnight. Most people will stay in twin rooms, but we will check that you are okay with sharing before allocating you a room. There will be some single rooms available. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snack breaks will be included.

I don’t live in the UK, can I join the programme?

Unfortunately not this time, but we have trained in other countries before and we would like to again. If you’re from outside the UK and interested in working with us, get in touch to explore what might be possible, by emailing .

Where will the programme take place?

The first residential (29 January – 2 February 2024) will take place in Machynlleth, mid-Wales, at the Centre for Alternative Technology. The centre is open to the public during the daytime, but the bedrooms and our training spaces will be off-limits to the public. The closest town is Machynlleth, which has a train station and regular bus services—visit the CAT website for more information.

Follow-up sessions will be a mixture of online and in-person, and the in-person locations will be decided based on good locations for the group and affordability.

Will the programme be accessible?

We are deeply committed to making the programme as accessible as we can, while also recognising that some access needs can clash with each other. Once participants are offered a place, we’ll work with you to make sure the programme is as accessible to you as possible, while clearly communicating any limitations there may be, and looking for solutions together.

I have specific dietary requirements (e.g. halal, vegan, gluten-free). Will there be something for me to eat?

Yes! We will ask about people’s dietary requirements in advance and make sure everyone is catered for. Our first venue, CAT, serves exclusively vegetarian and vegan food—if this will be a problem for your dietary requirements, please let us know.

I’d like to support the programme as a mentor, trainer, or content partner—how can I get involved?

Amazing! Email our Workshops Lead, , with a bit of info about you, how you’d like to be involved and any useful links 🙂

I’d like to offer financial support for the programme—how can I get involved?

If you are an individual

We are looking for bursary sponsors! If you have found our work useful and are inspired to contribute to bursaries, we invite you to become a sponsor.

Throughout history, we’ve seen that real change happens when people most affected by an issue take the lead. However, too often, well-funded organisations lead narrative change projects on behalf of communities, instead of supporting or taking leadership from those who are directly impacted.

If you, or anyone you know, has the financial means, we invite you to help us create a more equitable and just world. Your sponsorship will support community leaders with lived experience to further develop their leadership skills to carry out narrative change work. Your contribution will enable people to access our programs, workshops, and other resources that they might not be able to access otherwise.

So, if you’re interested in becoming a bursary sponsor, contact Sara Cowan at .

If you are a larger funder

We have various costs that we still need help with! If you think we might fit with your funding priorities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Sara Cowan at .