Grants / Projects we are funding

Strengthening stories for a new economy: Public Interest Research Centre

Grant details


Awarded on:01/04/2018

Duration:3 years


Area of interest

Systems change

Themes covered

New economics

The way in which we talk about economics, the language and frames that we draw reference to, all impact how we feel about the potential for change. Organisations arguing the need to change our economic system need to understand how to use a language and frames that resonate with people's ideas so that we can create a coherent movement towards a fairer, more sustainable economy.

What is the issue?

There is a large and growing body of evidence that underpins the discipline of strategic communications.

Whilst there are some organisations taking on this advice in their work for the New Economy (e.g. in NEON, NEF, the RSA, Economy and Finance Innovation Lab), many civil society groups regularly fall into communication traps and in so-doing undermine the long-term change they are working towards.

This project seeks to build on the achievements of the Framing the Economy project, a collaboration with NEON, NEF & the Frameworks Institute, which has produced excellent research on the framing of the economy alongside a committed network of communicators across civil society.   PIRC will work to extend the research into how people think about specific areas of the economy, collaborate with network members in developing new frames and support a widespread strategic communications approach through training.

What will the project try to achieve?

PIRC will aim for the following main outputs.

Through research activities:

  • Scoping papers, with findings from workshops and interviews
  • Original research findings
  • Framing research database

Through network support: More aligned, coordinated and representative communication strategies in UK civil society.

 Through training programmes:

  • Training materials on the framing of specific new economy issues
  • Campaigners empowered to create new communications strategies
  • Materials to engage their networks and communities in changing communications practice


Through resources:

  • Introductory framing resources
  • Advanced framing resources
  • Regular framing newsletters & blog

Who might be interested in this project?

In seeking to change the economic system through strategic communication, this work will be of interest to any group in civil society working towards a sustainable, democratic and equitable future. All PIRC’s online, publically available resources on framing will be aimed at these groups.

The project will also be closely targeted at specific individuals and organisations.  The starting point for this is the existing Framing the Economy Network­, which is comprised of journalists, campaigners, press officers and union organisers who have a platform to communicate on economic issues.

PIRC will also reach out strategic partners beyond this Network who fall into the following categories:

  • Powerful but unheard voices—grassroots groups with great stories to tell but little time or money to do strategic communications work
  • Sector influencers—any organisation, big or small, that is playing a key role in shaping how an issue is framed across their sector or movement
  • Live issue groups—groups working on a subject of notable social or political salience, or who are preparing for an important event, for instance referenda or new legislation
  • Multiplying networks—groups that have particularly wide reach across sectors and can play an important convening role