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Alice Sachrajda

Creative researcher and storyteller

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From Megaphone to Mosaic: Five principles for narrative communications

This is an edited extract from a piece I published with Thomas Coombes, of Hope-Based Comms on Medium. Read the full piece here. 

A Larger Us messaging house

How can civil society groups and charities apply narrative work in practice? Based on our work with migration groups in the UK during the pandemic, we believe a crucial step is more narrative synergy between organisations that share the same values. 

Continue reading “From Megaphone to Mosaic: Five principles for narrative communications”

We can only be what we have the courage to see…

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There’s a page in my copy of Chip and Dan Heath’s book, ‘Switch, How to change things when change is hard’, which falls open without me having to try to find it. It’s like a well-thumbed favourite recipe in a much-loved cookery book. I have come back to that page over and over again. On it, the Heath brothers refer to researchers John Kotter and Dan Cohen who say that:

“Most people think change happens in this order: ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE. You analyse, then you think, and then you change.”

They go on to describe how, in a relatively simplistic setting that might work pretty well. If you need to reduce costs or cut time off your daily commute, for example. But then they go on to say something so revelatory that I think everyone who wants to see change in our society should reflect deeply on this insight:

Continue reading “We can only be what we have the courage to see…”

Are you sitting comfortably? How children’s stories can help us navigate our way through the unfolding Covid-19 saga

For those of us juggling caring responsibilities (working parents of toddlers, I salute you), these past few weeks have taken spinning plates to a whole new level. On the plus side, many of us have become even more adept at multitasking. Discussing strategic communications whilst hanging out the washing is my speciality…

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This strange time, where family and work intertwine, has got me thinking about all the wonderful fables and stories we share with our children. The tales that stand the test of time are powerful because of the underlying messages that are woven into the fabric of the story. They are more than words on the page.  They hold sway because of the way they make our children, and us for that matter, feel. More often than not, the lasting stories that are passed from generation to generation guide us as to how we can overcome adversity, and live well together.

And so, in the spirit of the work/family fusion that is the new normal, here’s a round up of children’s stories that get to the heart of this moment and help to guide us as to how we should be communicating the unfolding Covid-19 saga:

Continue reading “Are you sitting comfortably? How children’s stories can help us navigate our way through the unfolding Covid-19 saga”

Covid-19 – an unfolding story that hasn’t been written yet. How can we shape the narrative?

Hope

How do you feel right now? Upbeat, hopeful, motivated? I dearly hope so, but I’m willing to bet over the past few weeks you’ve experienced a flood of emotions that have made you feel anxious, upset, stretched and downright overwhelmed. Covid-19 is global and yet it’s local. It’s microscopic and yet having maximum macro-impact. We’re immobilised and yet frantically working. It’s confusing and unsettling to say the least.

But, and here’s the hopeful bit, it also presents an unprecedented opportunity to catalyse on this moment of connection, and we must not let it slip through our fingers. The way we respond strategically, now and in the coming months, will shape how others refer to the story of this time, and how we relate to one another in the future.

Continue reading “Covid-19 – an unfolding story that hasn’t been written yet. How can we shape the narrative?”

Odyssey Stories #allthatweshare

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When I’m travelling on the London Underground, I often wonder at the magic of the tantalising stories all around me. Maybe I’m just irrepressibly curious, but I can’t help myself from thinking about the journeys of my fellow passengers. I imagine your life: where you’ve come from and where you’re going. I can see hints of your story in the expression on your face, in your choice of clothes, or in your reading material. I ponder your ups and your downs, your twists and turns. And I like to think about what we share – is it our sense of humour? Our favourite food? Being a sibling? A parent? A Londoner? A creative soul? A hopeful dreamer? 

Several years ago, Alex Glennie (my former IPPR colleague and long-time friend and collaborator) and I began to nurture the kernel of a new idea. We both share a fascination for the transformative power of stories, and we began to explore how we could share stories in public places. This was borne out of the belief that sharing stories helps us to understand one another better, and to live well together. In these early stages, we thought about the journeys we make every day, which, knitted together, make up the bigger picture of our life.

And then we hit upon the idea of sharing stories in travel locations. We reflected on our daily journeys: the time when we are not at home and not yet at our destination. It’s a place where we cogitate and muse, and travel locations are democratic spaces, where anyone can go. We began to ask ourselves: could we reflect on someone else’s life journey while we go about our daily journey? Could transport hubs play a role in connecting people as well as places?

Continue reading “Odyssey Stories #allthatweshare”

Pictures worth thousands of words – in praise of the graphic novel

I’ve been a fan of graphic novels ever since I forayed into writing Be Here Now while at IPPR. Admittedly you could hardly call Be Here Now a novel, a collection of illustrated short stories is more accurate. But experimenting with storyboarding my research findings, and then working with an illustrator to bring them to life, sparked my interest in this medium. Illustration takes a story into an exhilarating and absorbing new dimension. Graphic novels can powerfully layer insight and meaning through the tones, shading and visual depiction of emotion.

 

Continue reading “Pictures worth thousands of words – in praise of the graphic novel”

Riding the Waves: Catalysing social and environmental change through pop culture

Guest blog for Dev Comms Lab, published May 2018

Unless you’re living as a hermit in the Outer Hebrides then the chances are pop culture is shaping your thoughts, feelings and ideas about the world around you. Whether it’s television, film, sport, fashion or food, our shared mainstream culture plays a fundamental role in shaping our identity and guiding our attitudes and beliefs.

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Uproar, outrage and celebrity endorsement: Pop culture’s role pushing feminism into the mainstream

Last year I worked with the Women’s Budget Group to produce some creative resources about feminist economics. When researching the content I was inspired by Katrine Marçal’s book ‘Who cooked Adam Smith’s dinner?’ Do read and share the Women’s Budget Group resources, available here, and if you’re interested to read more, then I thoroughly recommend Marçal’s book. Caroline Criado-Perez gives it a glowing endorsement: “I genuinely believe that if everyone read Katrine Marçal’s book, patriarchy would crumble…”

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Continue reading “Uproar, outrage and celebrity endorsement: Pop culture’s role pushing feminism into the mainstream”

The Social Change Project: Creativity, social change and the role of popular culture

Guest blog for The Sheila McKechnie Foundation, published December 2017

Over the past year, I’ve been researching how popular culture can be a driver for social change in the UK. Ever since I started working on this subject there have been endless questions buzzing around my head: How do cultural movements come about? Who shapes our pop culture in the UK? How can we connect with the people who influence our culture? And how do you even define ‘pop culture’ anyway?!

Continue reading “The Social Change Project: Creativity, social change and the role of popular culture”

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