Storytelling for Social Scientists

This workshop explores how storytelling and narrative skills can play a transformative role in communicating your research, and give you the tools to craft effective research stories and pitches of your own – whether for audiences beyond academia, or for grant applications, meetings, presentations, or other areas of academic life.

The sessions are led by narrative coach Robert Holtom (The Guardian, Our World 2.0, openDemocracy, playwright & short story writer).

The morning will introduce four key ingredients of a great story – character, plot, conflict and texture – and guide you through crafting and sharing your own short, oral stories, for which you will receive supportive and constructive feedback. This part of the day explores the benefits of particular narrative tools while building creativity, confidence and communication skills.

In the afternoon, we introduce new elements of great storytelling including metaphor, clarity and message. Participants will apply their storytelling skills to their own research story, through interactive support from other participants. 

By the end of the session, you will have gained a practical insight into how to layer different narrative techniques; have tested these out with supportive peer feedback; and built an understanding of how good storytelling can be a tool of empowerment – both for researchers and for the people that researchers engage with.

Please note: These sessions are heavily over-subscribed, and we always have a long waiting list. The benefits of the session(s) are also cumulative over time, and they are really interactive and dependent on support from participants. Please only sign up if you can commit to attending the entire session as advertised or let us know in good time if you need to withdraw so that your space can be offered to someone else.



  • To understand the essentials of storytelling 
  • To explore a range of storytelling tools and how to apply them to build a narrative
  • To gain a practical understanding of how to apply this to stories about research


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