We’re a group of local gov loving, curious, positive, and up for a crazy task, people having a go at developing #OneStory for local government – it’s a story of purpose and the greater good.
by Dawn Reeves
It’s not just one story, we’re collecting 100 stories at local level, telling them in bold creative ways and divining the essence, an emerging narrative for the sector.
The time for this is now – the world is starting to see different local gov stories, trust is up, public health directors are on the tv! Fancy tagging along? (See invite and details below.)
3 things that are exciting and guiding us in our task:
1. The carrier bag theory of fiction – it’s about the system!
There are lots of story forms around, we’re well past the peak of the hero story and are trialling a format we’ve developed based on the writing of the superb Ursula K. Le Guin. It’s about collectives, relationships and illustrative moments that show us the big picture, why we’re here and why we care, a healed version of ourselves – as individuals in a changing system.
There’s enough room in the carrier bag story for heroes but the hero story can stray into populism and sound like it’s an individual thing. Heroes can be forgotten in a news cycle, public service is about doing what’s right, what matters, every time. The system might not always get it right (and those are interesting stories too), but we live our lives in all sorts of systems, they keep us alive, they are the untold story.
2. Narratives have the power to make change
Stories bring narratives to life by making them relatable and accessible and narratives infuse stories with deeper meaning, it’s not about messaging or magic-word solutionism. The power of narrative is the ability to unpick the past and make sense of the future. (Have a look at the Narrative Initiative – great work in the US on this.) And as the fantastic Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche says; “what stories get told, who tells them, when they get told and how many stories get told depends on power.
Doing this kind of narrative work gives us a chance to shift the power back to the local, to have a go at the dominant negative stuff that’s dogged public service for years. It’s an opportunity to think big about how society as a whole interprets the way things work, to start re-imagining and sharing how we see it.
3. The magic
The way we tell our stories is the fun bit. We’re working on a sideways take, what would happen if there wasn’t a council, telling the story from different perspectives, the inside-out story of Dave on reception, stories without polish, or fear, the young people’s / punk version, with heritage, humour, blurry edges and confidence.
Let us know what you think and join us for a 1 hour zoom workshop on the 9th July 9.30am -10.30am. There’s lots of opportunities to get involved in small drafting groups and adding your story to the collection.
Shout @FutureDawn @FrannyColl @InterimBoy or @DarrenCaveney / @comms2point0 to join the fun
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Image via Julie Jordan Scott