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Narratives x Civic Space Convening: Learning – Connecting – Strategizing

by Oxfam; Ford Foundation

Published | November 2019

Building narratives


The report Narratives x Civic Space Convening: Learning – Connecting – Strategizing is about a convention of civic space actors to discuss about narratives. It mentions external and internal challenges of shifting narratives in the civic space.

Why read

The paper shows examples of different civic space actors and how they built new narratives and serves as a source of motivation to change own narratives.


The report is about a convention of a wide-ranging group of civic space actors, networks and movements experimenting with the idea of using narratives to open civic space. It looked at external and internal challenges as well as different experiments that are challenging to long held beliefs in the civic space sector. Work on narratives helps the civic space sector to claim space and challenge the more conservative mainstream narratives that contribute to closing space and oppression.

The key reflections on the sessions were for example that power is not static and facts as well as feelings are important for collective power. Furthermore, it reflected on the topics of frames, stories, research, framing as well as culture and values. As an output of the convening, principles for our work together are linked to a shared feminist leadership, togetherness and diversity.

It dives more into the three areas of collaborations: working together and open-source knowledge; narrative capacity and infrastructure; collective strategy for amplifying each other.

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