How can advocates use communications to advance social change? FrameWorks’ CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor tackles this and other questions about the science of storytelling in a recent TEDx MidAtlantic talk. “Understanding is frame-dependent,” Kendall-Taylor says. The choices we make when we communicate about an issue—what we say, how we say it, and what we don’t say—influence how people think about and respond to the issue. The way we frame an issue, in other words, can lead the public to dramatically different perceptual and behavioral outcomes. Watch Kendall-Taylor’s talk on framing fundamentals to learn more about how frames drive social change.
A new MessageMemo, sponsored by the DentaQuest Foundation, provides recommendations, including a new metaphor, for advocates to effectively communicate about oral health.
How can scientists advocate for science at a time when it is sometimes perceived as capricious, uncertain, and of little value or relevance to society and social change? And how can they do so in a way that goes beyond traditional efforts to raise awareness and educate the public about science and instead change people’s minds and attitudes about it? Nat Kendall-Taylor, chief executive officer of the FrameWorks Institute, and Pat Levitt, professor of neurogenetics at the University of Southern California, offer answers in a new article in Neuron, an influential journal of neuroscience. In “Beyond Hat in Hand: Science Advocacy is Foundational for Policy Decisions,” Kendall-Taylor and Levitt argue for a two-science approach to science translation, one that integrates the science of communication with the science of brain development. “It is clear that scientists need to cultivate a greater recognition of the value of science and encourage its use in advancing societal benefits,” they write. “The good news is we don’t have to guess how to do this. We can use science.”
The FrameWorks Institute released a comprehensive set of research and resources today that advocates and experts can use to raise the salience of elder abuse, help the public understand it, and build support for solutions to it. Strengthening the Support summarizes and synthesizes FrameWorks research into framing elder abuse and outlines a practical, actionable communications strategy. And Talking Elder Abuse offers evidence-based tools to help the public understand elder abuse, change perceptions of it, and build support for solutions to it. These resources were sponsored by Archstone Foundation, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and Grantmakers in Aging, and were conducted in partnership with the National Center on Elder Abuse at the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California. They build on earlier research into cultural attitudes and beliefs about elder abuse and were produced alongside a related set of materials about reframing aging.
In our youth-obsessed culture, aging is primarily understood as a personal fate to avoid, not a social issue that demands a public response. How can advocates working to change the conversation on aging navigate public thinking to spark dialogue, shift perceptions, and build support for necessary policy changes? A major new body of framing research offers important guidance for communicating about the issues facing older people, including ageism. Gaining Momentum is a collection of resources to help advocates drive a more productive narrative about how to capture the benefits of an increase in the average lifespan.
FrameWorks Board Chair and CEO issued a statement on the repeal of North Carolina's House Bill 2.
FrameWorks recently released a set of recommendations to help advocates ensure their messaging on restorative school discipline practices gains public understanding. Supported by Open Society Foundations Racial Equality Fund, "Reframing School Discipline: A Strategic Communications Playbook" is a timely update for the field.
The health of our ocean is under threat, yet few outside the scientific community understand why—or what we can do to address it. In a new analysis of how the UK public thinks about marine issues, FrameWorks points to ways to include the ocean in discussions of climate change and build support for stronger marine conservation efforts.
All elections promote and suppress ideas about how the world works—but the 2016 presidential campaign was stunning in its toll on ideas central to the mission of nonprofit organizations. In a new analysis in Nonprofit Quarterly, FrameWorks Institute CEO Nat Kendall-Taylor and founder Susan Nall Bales analyze the election's impact on public thinking and discuss the implications for nonprofit communications. The authors pinpoint the aspects of American culture that have become more dominant—or “easier to think”—due to recent rhetoric as well as those that now more recessive and “harder to think.” Advocates, they add, should "forget slogans" and take time to explain how social problems work and how to solve them.
The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and New America released a new report about the need for and benefits of early STEM learning and makes recommendations to support it. It features an article by the FrameWorks Institute that lays out a clear narrative that science and education advocates can use to unite around science-based communications. The report—STEM Starts Early: Grounding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education in Early Childhood—was released on Feb. 2.
In 2016, FrameWorks worked hard to bring provocative, practical, and proven framing recommendations to advocates and policymakers working to create change. We talked framing at the White House, the World Health Organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. We saw the frames emerging from our research shape media coverage of social issues locally, nationally, and internationally--from the Lethbridge Herald and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to the New York Times. Our widening circle of partners drew on our advice to press for change on adolescent substance use, child adversity, climate change, the criminalization of poverty, human services, oral health equity, and more.
It's been quite a year - and we're ready for 2017, when it will be more important than ever to work in coalition to conscientiously frame social issues.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUSTICE
CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
PEACEFUL & VERDANT WORLD
When people of varying income levels live in the same communities, send their kids to the same schools, visit the same libraries, and commute to and work at the same places, our whole society benefits. Yet few understand the benefits of socioeconomically mixed neighborhoods, view it as a societal goal, or support policies that promote it. A new MessageMemo released by the FrameWorks Institute aims to change that. It summarizes expert and public views on socioeconomic mixing and shows advocates, experts, and communications professionals how to make a more effective case for it. The recommendations include using the value of Interdependence to talk about mixed-income communities and using both historical and contemporary examples of policies that maintain economic and racial segregation. This work was supported by a grant from the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation.
How do experts understand poverty in the United Kingdom? And how do these views differ from the way the public understands poverty? The FrameWorks Institute answers these questions in a new report released about UK poverty. It explores that gaps between expert and public understandings of poverty and makes recommendations that anti-poverty advocates can use to bridge them. The goal of the project, supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, is to provide advocates and experts with the tools they need to build public support for policies and programs that can support people in need and reduce UK poverty.
In partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, the FrameWorks Institute analyzed current advocacy themes in light of the public’s dominant beliefs and attitudes about housing. “You Don’t Have to Live Here:” Why Housing Messages Are Backfiring and 10 Things We Can Do About It teases out the implications of advocacy messaging on public thinking.
Public health informatics is spurring major advances in public health practice, planning and policy. This discipline translates data of different types and from different sources into information that’s usable—supporting public health professionals by getting the right information to the right people at the right time. Yet many public health professionals are unfamiliar with the field and do not fully understand its function or value. As a result, the field’s contributions are “invisible, underutilized, and under-resourced,” according to the Public Health Informatics Institute (PHII). The FrameWorks Institute partnered with PHII to change that.
Findings and recommendations are now available in a new communications toolkit. Over the last year, FrameWorks researchers designed and tested ways to raise the visibility of informatics, increase understanding of this field, build workforce capacity, and ultimately improve population health outcomes through the efficient sharing of public health information. The results are in. Reframing Public Health Informatics includes research findings, offers recommendations, new explanatory metaphors, sample “before-and-after” communications, and animated GIFs that can be used to more effectively communicate about the field. This toolkit, available to the public, was produced in partnership with PHII, a program of the Task Force for Global Health, and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you’re a communicator working in afterschool, early childhood, K-12, or an informal science education institution, you might suspect that you need a better story on STEM. “Making the Case for STEM Learning” can help you learn to tell one. Based on FrameWorks Institute’s research on the communications aspects of STEM learning, this course walks communicators through a tested narrative that can shift the public’s attitudes, knowledge, and policy preferences on a wide range of important policy and practice issues. For a limited time, you can register in this course at no cost, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Afterschool Alliance and funding from the Noyce Foundation.
Our take on framing in 2016. In this national webinar hosted by NonProfit Quarterly, FrameWorks unpacked why candidates' rhetoric and advocates’ framing efforts are two different things.
Public discourse, public opinion, and social policy are closely linked. When the frames in play leave out crucial information, people and policymakers often fill in the blanks with outdated thinking. FrameWorks studied how the media and advocacy organizations frame adolescent substance abuse and pinpointed several opportunities for advocates to shape the conversation. Read the findings here.
One of the most reliable and respected sources of nonprofit news turned its spotlight on the FrameWorks Institute this month in its print and online coverage. “Words That Change Minds”—an in-depth organizational profile of FrameWorks—appears in the September issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. FrameWorks has “helped move issues onto the agenda in state legislatures, Congress, and philanthropy circles simply by making them easier to understand,” the Chronicle reports. The “game changer,” FrameWorks’ partners say, “is the way the group’s words and concepts have seeped into the culture.”
Two new studies from the FrameWorks Institute chart the communications landscape that advocates must navigate on the way to moving policies about fair, healthy, and affordable housing. A “Map the Gaps” report compares public and expert understandings of healthy housing and offers insights into where the conversation can get stuck in the “swamp” of public opinion and how to move it to higher ground. A systematic analysis of the frames used by the media and by influential housing reform organizations yields a carefully drawn map of the narratives in play—with directions for navigating it strategically. These studies—the first of several that are scheduled to be released in the months ahead—were sponsored by Enterprise Community Partners, with additional support from National Center for Healthy Housing and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).