Climate Storytelling’s goal is to increase the impact of the climate communication in a climate emergency time. In order to reach its full creative potential, every great story has to move beyond the mono culture climate narratives to reach a biodiversity or a diverse ecosystem of narratives. The ultimate goal is to inspire both storytellers and cultural organisations.
The toolbox consists of five resources. The first one, GATHER covers the necessary guiding principles for organizing a wide range of events. The next resource, CATALYZE is a library of video prompts, intended to help the organisers catalyse deeper conversations in the audience. The catalysing process is centred on the non-extractive storytelling and co-creation practices, humour (comedy and climate) and activation of unlikely allies. Then, we move to the STRENGTHEN resource, whose main goal is to provide examples of ways (avenues) to share back community’s insights. The forth resource, REFLECT, accommodates case studies from climate-focused films, meant to inspire the audience and to develop awareness. The last resource, INSPIRE is a co-created space, where we can find case studies suggested by the global community of storytellers.
The Digital Toolbox can be iterated and adapted to suit the context and community. It can be used for either physical or virtual gatherings. The guiding principles from the GATHER resource help the organizers to plan ahead and conduct the event. To start with, the organizers make sure the audience and the speakers are representative for the broad movement they wish to build and the communities they want to engage. Climate justice is a guiding principle of all conversations, thus people who have been affected first and most by climate change have to be acknowledged from the beginning. Sourcing the latest data on public opinion around climate change, the opportunities and challenges in the local political context, the degree of opposition or disinformation around climate, the state of current climate movements help to ground the conversation in context. The organizers challenge the audience to think about the weaknesses and tropes of climate storytelling. Through sharing of media impact case studies with the audience, they help inspire better strategy around distribution and outreach of climate communication. One last piece of advice is to help those present at the gathering to reflect on the audiences that have been excluded and think about new narratives that connect with diverse audiences and give credible hope. The pandemics caused the move of most events in online and the toolbox offers as well resources for planning virtual meetings and events. In the CATALYZE phase, the organizers chose from the library of video prompts, a useful material to generate deeper conversations. Videos are 10-20 minutes lengths. The organizers share with their audience video prompts that help them think about unlikely allies (partners outside of the usual ones) and how to engage them. Humour is, as well, a useful reflection and transformation resource for the audience. In media production, most stories apply extractive practices. As opposed to those practices, organizers apply co-creation and non-extractive storytelling and give agency to the people whom the stories belong to. For the STRENGTHEN phase, the organizers put together a share back piece, which reflects community’s collective insights, a piece that can be sent to participants, and can be distributed with the community of climate storytellers and their allies. The case studies used in the REFLECT phase represents the foundation laid by others for inspiration and learning. In the end, the INSPIRE phase is a co-creation space, where we can collect resources to watch/ listen/ read from the community.
The Climate Story Lab is born of the conviction that climate communication is more critical than ever before and we need the best storytelling to achieve its full potential and reach the audiences that matter. The Lab catalyses the most compelling media projects towards a big impact. The collaboration combining the creative and campaigning expertise of Exposure Labs and Doc Society with the best of the Good Pitch Impact Labs and their partners offers the Climate Story Lab as a convening model — whether in person or virtual — and the content of each lab as ideas to be iterated and adapted to suit the context of a wide range of events. Their goal is to inspire both storytellers and cultural organisations to facilitate necessary climate narrative conversations within their communities, a conversation that will inspire citizens, engage politicians, and mobilize communities. The model is open for cultural organisations to take, use, and evolve. The creators will keep updating this toolbox with new content and insights from the storytelling community around the globe. The inaugural Lab took place in New York in July 2019 and next year, in March 2020 it had been followed by Climate Story Lab UK in London. After March 2020, due to pandemics, the convening has been moved online. The organizers hope to return in person in the US in the beginning of next year, 2021.
The Climate Story Lab web page, https://climatestorylab.org/toolboxStorytelling Mind-set, EIT Climate-KICThe power of storytelling consists in building deeper connections through shared experience or values.Dave Trott, One plus One Equals Three: A Masterclass in Creative Thinking, Pan MacMillan, 2016, London, United Kingdom