About the Narrative Collaboratory

Our nation’s founders envisioned a republic in which the people would be the ultimate source of power. However, a pervasive cultural narrative – across the right and the left – tells Americans it is pointless to participate in civic life because the game is rigged and their voices just don’t matter. It’s time to counter this dominant negative narrative and to displace it with a storyline of citizen empowerment, so that Americans can begin to see that change is possible and how to become a part of it.

The Pluribus Project Narrative Collaboratory is a platform for generating and propagating new narratives of citizen voice and efficacy, coupled with the tools of power and action that others can use. We proceed from the premise that in American life today the dominant overarching narrative says that the system is so broken and the game so rigged that there is no point in participating in democracy. Our goal is to displace that narrative. Our method is to support experiments in narrative-making that can add up to a counter-narrative of citizen power, along with the tools for exercising such power.

catalyze

We issued an open call for proposals that creatively and effectively spread narratives of citizen power, and received more than 230 proposals in response. After extensive consultation and analysis, we are supporting the following projects with grants to each in the amount of $25,000:

First Book, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Albert Shanker Institute
First Book, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Albert Shanker Institute won seed funding for a Citizen Power Challenge to support educators in 15 communities across the United States to curate diverse book collections that can spark student-led projects for community change.
First Book, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Albert Shanker Institute won seed funding for a Citizen Power Challenge to support educators in 15 communities across the United States to curate diverse book collections that can spark student-led projects for community change.
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Free the People
Free the People won seed funding for a transpartisan video project to tell the story of how individuals self-organized, bypassed government, and created social change.
Free the People won seed funding for a transpartisan video project to tell the story of how individuals self-organized, bypassed government, and created social change.
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Futuro Media Group
Futuro Media Group won seed funding to produce videos in their "Humanizing America" series and a corresponding digital event in talk show format. "Humanizing America" is a digital short series, which deconstructs stereotypes by presenting the human stories behind the American electorate and beyond.
Futuro Media Group won seed funding to produce videos in their "Humanizing America" series and a corresponding digital event in talk show format. "Humanizing America" is a digital short series, which deconstructs stereotypes by presenting the human stories behind the American electorate and beyond.
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NationSwell
NationSwell won seed funding for its "AllStar Program", a campaign to support the greatest innovators who are tackling some of our nation's most critical issues, and to spur civic engagement by providing clear and compelling calls-to-action.
NationSwell won seed funding for its "AllStar Program", a campaign to support the greatest innovators who are tackling some of our nation's most critical issues, and to spur civic engagement by providing clear and compelling calls-to-action.
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PICO National Network
PICO National Network won seed funding for "Flint Rising", an organizing project using stories to build community power in a sustainable way in Flint, Michigan.
PICO National Network won seed funding for "Flint Rising", an organizing project using stories to build community power in a sustainable way in Flint, Michigan.
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Springboard for the Arts and the Citizens League
Springboard for the Arts and the Citizens League won seed funding for "Calling Home," an initiative to inspire, support, and document conversations among Minnesotans about aging through the lens of home and community to ultimately inform policy priorities.
Springboard for the Arts and the Citizens League won seed funding for "Calling Home," an initiative to inspire, support, and document conversations among Minnesotans about aging through the lens of home and community to ultimately inform policy priorities.
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The Public Theater
The Public Theater won seed funding for "SWEAT", a play by Lynn Nottage that tells the story of a city that has fallen victim to the "de-industrial revolution," and a corresponding audience engagement program that inspires action.
The Public Theater won seed funding for "SWEAT", a play by Lynn Nottage that tells the story of a city that has fallen victim to the "de-industrial revolution," and a corresponding audience engagement program that inspires action.
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Upworthy
Upworthy won seed funding for a series of highly shareable multimedia stories to address both the need for civic engagement beyond voting and the insufficient understanding of US history, and to connect audience members to action.
Upworthy won seed funding for a series of highly shareable multimedia stories to address both the need for civic engagement beyond voting and the insufficient understanding of US history, and to connect audience members to action.
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Partner

The Narrative Collaboratory develops partnerships to support creative ventures that generate narratives of citizen power, along with the tools for exercising such power.

Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
As part of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize, the Narrative Collaboratory is working with Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics to convene Pulitzer Prize journalists for a workshop on narratives of citizen power.
As part of the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize, the Narrative Collaboratory is working with Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics to convene Pulitzer Prize journalists for a workshop on narratives of citizen power.
Starbucks
We have partnered with Starbucks on Upstanders, a nationwide citizen storytelling initiative.
We have partnered with Starbucks on Upstanders, a nationwide citizen storytelling initiative.
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PBS
PBS and the Pluribus Project Narrative Collaboratory have partnered to create a national initiative to generate new narratives of citizen power. This includes specialized programming as well as civic outreach and engagement. It will be piloted in Los Angeles, Fresno, Kansas City, and Detroit, and statewide in Idaho.
PBS and the Pluribus Project Narrative Collaboratory have partnered to create a national initiative to generate new narratives of citizen power. This includes specialized programming as well as civic outreach and engagement. It will be piloted in Los Angeles, Fresno, Kansas City, and Detroit, and statewide in Idaho.