Future Narratives Lab

Redefining the structures of public understanding

On many of the major social challenges that we face, our ingrained conventional understandings and mental models, or ‘narratives’ limit the terms of debate, blocking the constructive consensus needed for effective action.

 

The Future Narratives Lab brings together experts from a range of backgrounds to analyse these existing narratives, design new alternatives, and create the strategies and partnerships to replace them.

Recent event

Memes, Myths & Existential Art: The Far Right & The End of the World

What can we learn from the nature of the materials and memes that have been a feature of far right discourse? What are the underlying narratives and myths that unite the very different types of far-right media, how do they function, and what are their foundational ideas? At this event in November 2021 we were joined by:

  • Michael Colborne, a journalist who has written extensively about the far right, and manager of the Bellingcat Monitoring Project
  • Kate Davis, Chief of Staff at Moonshot,  a social enterprise working to end online harms
  • Navneet Gidda, Associate at the Future Narratives Lab and Communications Manager at the Cambridge Centre for AI & Medicine
Recent project

With land we can: a new narrative for land in the UK

What would take to shift the way we think about land in the UK, and to recognise its crucial role at the intersection of our many social and economic challenges?

Working with Shared Assets and Land in Our Names, with support from the Emerging Futures Fund of the National Lottery Community Fund, the Lab has been working to design the beginnings of a new narrative for land in the UK, as the basis for more productive social action.

You can see the outputs of this work by watching the short film opposite, reading the article linked below, and accessing our earlier report on the current land narrative, further down this page.

Our method

Listen & Understand

Analyse & assess the existing narrative, how and where it is embedded, its strengths & weaknesses, related values, and the gaps and opportunities it leaves.

Analyse & Create

Use this understanding, and a power analysis of who can be moved and their shared values and wider worldviews, to create the basis for a new narrative approach.

Test & Implement

Develop the strategy, partnerships and prototype materials to put the new narrative into practice, test its effectiveness, and update and improve it.

Recent event

Escape from humanity: the narratives behind Big Tech

In April 2021 we held a session exploring the narratives that have shaped the technology platforms now playing a greater role than ever in our culture and society.  We were joined by:

Recent work

Power in place: understanding our land narrative

We are working with Shared Assets and a range of other partners to develop a new narrative for land in the UK, which frames the issue as a matter of social, environmental and economic justice.

In our first progress report, published in November 2020, we outline our research and analysis on the current narrative around land in the UK, and the implications for land reform advocates and our future work.

Learn More

The Lab and our team

Our principles and philosophy