Deeper Inquiry #3 How to Change Your Narrative Part 2 A Deeper Inquiry

“Every great narrative is at least two narratives, if not more – the thing that is on the surface and then the things underneath which are invisible.” – Ali Smith

“A great message doesn’t say what’s already popular, a great message makes popular what needs to be said” – Anat Shenker Osorio

Since 2017, the CLASS project has been researching race and class inequality in the UK and foreground a new way of framing & talking about these issues so that:

  • activists can build solidarity across struggles, sectors and movements
  • movements are better equipped to tackle structural race and class inequality

Before joining CLASS, Ellie worked with Freedom on refugee messaging. These research results have some staggering and sobering outputs, if nothing else, showcasing the importance of probing deeper into societal understanding of narrative-building. Not grasping narratives means one will be more susceptible to narrative and potentially worldview manipulation. Political propaganda was not invented recently, yet our concrete deconstructing of it is getting better and activists need to get down with narrative analysis if they want more robust stories, visions and movements. Ellie Mae O’Hagan, the director of CLASS will take us on a journey through sociopolitical narrativity with the UK case studies on xenophobia, migration, race & class.

Key Questions

How can a deeper understanding of narrative and framing support grassroots activists in creating more unifying or moving visions?
What are the obstacles to making narrative analysis more widespread?


Words That Work by Frank Luntz

The Political Brain by Drew Westen.

Speaker Bio

Ellie Mae O’Hagan As a strategic communications consultant, Ellie has worked with organisations including the Labour Party, Greenpeace, Tax Justice UK and JCWI. She provides advice, training and research support to help clients craft messages that work without compromising on principles.

As a commentator, Ellie has been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Times, Foreign Policy, Times Literary Supplement, The Independent and many other publications. She has appeared on major news channels and broadcast stations, and a number of current affairs programmes, including the Andrew Marr Show, Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, Sky News, BBC news, and others.

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