Stories make us feel good. Empathize with characters.
Powerful, stories rooted in culture change something deeply within us. Stories that appeals to emotions mobilize more people than ones with just facts and figures. But how do you do that in practice?
The Center For Cultural Power explains how to do it right. The Center engages artists and movement groups in cultural strategy to create intersectional stories that accelerate narrative change around social issues. See how they do it and follow their advice on better storytelling.
Sparking Action and Changing Minds
What happens when young Black and Brown artists become voices for their communities? A shift. The Midwest Culture Lab (MCL) cultivates and amplifies young artists, especially people of color, to design campaigns that spark action and change minds. MCL gathered thousands of stories from young people of color around the Midwest to learn from voices often left out of the mainstream political imagination. Their Story Platform, a tool for artists and culture makers to build creative content that echoes a consistent vision of a future co-created by young people of color where communities are whole, healthy, and can experience joy.
By engaging and training a network of community artists as change makers, MCL uplifts civic engagement through culture and builds sustained creative capacity for voter engagement. The cultural strategy will result in long-term tangible political and policy victories for young people of color in the Midwest, and a greater role in our culture for the voices and ideas of young people of color. Watch this powerful 60 second video they produced.
The Center For Cultural Power
How does The Center for Cultural Power do this? It engages artists and movement groups in cultural strategy to create intersectional stories that accelerate narrative change around social issues, including gender/health equity, climate justice, immigration and migration, civic engagement and racial justice. It builds the power of artists and culture bearers to activate their unique ability to shape and advance social change through fellowships, training, and activations.
The Center collects data about an issue. Converts it into a creative brief for artists to create stories, artwork or music. Tests the impact of their artwork and then distributes it through culturally appropriate channels.
Partner with artists
Deep Narrative: Values aligned frameworks to tell stories and engage artists in world building
Creative Brief: A tool for artists to bring narrative research to life for a campaign or cultural response
Artist Superpowers: Change hearts and minds through creativity
Test: Measure how well the content persuades target audiences
Distribute: Through paid ads, targeted inﬂuencer campaigns, and social channels
TakeAway: Inspire people to action with CULTURE BASED STORYTELLING
DISCLAIMER: ALTHOUGH THE DATA FOUND IN THIS BLOG AND INFOGRAPHIC HAS BEEN PRODUCED AND PROCESSED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED CAN BE MADE REGARDING THE ACCURACY, COMPLETENESS, LEGALITY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY SUCH INFORMATION. THIS DISCLAIMER APPLIES TO ANY USES OF THE INFORMATION WHETHER ISOLATED OR AGGREGATE USES THEREOF.
Plot: What story do you want to tell? What is its structure? (Powerful stories typically consist of an introduction, conﬂict and resolution)
Purpose: Why do you want to convey this data & story to viewers, and what do you want them to do afterward?
People: Who are the main characters in your video story/art? How do they relate to your audience? Is there a cultural aspect?
Place: What’s the main location/space/universe this art is in, and how does that place shape the video narrative?
Audience: Who will primarily see this content?
Distribution method: How will you share the storytelling piece with others? (i.e. Instagram, YouTube, an activation at a festival, website)?
Use a Narrative Arc
START WITH A POSITIVE IMAGE OR CHARACTER - start with what is possible, the values proposition, or a strong character. Don’t start with the violation, problem or negative frame.
USEFUL NARRATIVE ARC start with a positive opening or strong character, grounded in striking visuals, move through an arc that lays out the challenges, what it takes to overcome them/solution; end with a call to action/message of hope.
CENTER JOY AND WHAT’S POSSIBLE There’s a power in standing in our strength, joy, and celebrating who we are and collective wins. There is power in showing the future. Activate the imagination to practice new and ancestral ways of being.