From conceptual metaphor theory to framing semantics, participants will practice critical examination of language – their own and others’ – towards effectively reframing the issues of our day. You’ll leave with a clear set of skills and analytic tools to further your campaigns, as well as valuable connections to practitioners around the globe who are themselves resources for better messaging, campaigning and narrative development.

The program has been developed by Anat Shenker Osorio (USA) and delivered in association with Australian Progress (Australia) and the New Economy Organisers Network (United Kingdom).



Opponents of basic principles of justice, shared prosperity and environmental stewardship have developed a remarkably wide-ranging and creative set of tactics to challenge any policy intended to address inequality, preserve our planet and acknowledge the equal worth of every member of society.

How do people working on these issues move from reacting against dominant frames for economic, environmental and social issues to having our messages emerge from and reinforce our own?

The good news is that the facts are on our side. But those who win the narrative battles get to write the policy, so being correct is insufficient. Decades of cognitive research and election results demonstrate that when audiences are presented with effective narratives, framed with careful attention to wording choices and echoed at sufficient volume, progressive issues and candidates can win even where our opposition wilfully lies and vastly out-spends us.



  • 26 determined and skilled communicators with considerable influence over messages deployed by key progressive organisations and movements.
  • A multi-national cohort, with participants from North America, UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Working on diverse issues such as the rise of right-wing populism and threats to democracy, climate justice, immigration and asylum seekers and public services defence.
  • People of colour and others with lived experience of the issues strongly encouraged to apply.



  • Conceptual metaphor – What is it, how to spot it and use it to best advantage for your cause.
  • Framing semantics – Identifying the elements in your storyline, such as heroes, villains, quest, tools and so on and using each to best effect.
  • Passive versus active constructions – Why the ubiquitous passive voice harms advocacy, how to spot it and make writing and speech active and engaging.
  • Narrative strategy – How and when to battle the dominant, conservative storyline by developing and inserting your own.
  • Public opinion research – How to truly understand qualitative and quantitative research methods and findings, how to know when research is called for and how to best structure it given your objectives and budget constraints. Participants will emerge from the fellowship equipped with the skills to diagnose common messaging pitfalls and correct them. Further, they’ll be trained how to make the absolute best case for their new approaches in order to counter the natural tendency to keep doing what we’ve always done.
  • Implementation – How to take research and/or analytic findings and put them into practice, ensuring their use beyond the typical presentations and trainings, through creative campaigns that include branding, ads, events and social media.



Participants will first come together in late June 2019 for a three night retreat outside Melbourne, Australia to learn the basics of decoding language for greatest impact. While in Australia, participants also have the option to attend, free of charge, Progress 2019, a major Australian progressive conference, held June 20-21.

Subsequent meetings will happen through online video-conference once a fortnight. Throughout the course, participants will complete extensive readings from linguistics, psychology, behavioural economics and related domains. They will complete short written exercises to cement each week’s learnings and apply them to the culminating project, analysing the language of their own issue and suggesting how to reframe it. Participants will also participate in constructive critique of one another’s work.

Finally, at our culminating three night retreat in North America in September (location TBC – likely US East Coast), each participant will present a final reframing project both in written form and orally. Participants will receive feedback and coaching both on the content of their presentations and on speaking persuasively in public.



The cost of taking part in the program is dependent on the size of your organisation (or funders who are paying), and is outlined below.

The cost includes course delivery, materials, as well as accommodation and meals at the residential programs. The cost excludes domestic and international travel.

  • Philanthropy / funders
    $7,000 US | £5,320 | $9,100 AU
  • Firms and consultants
    $5,000 US | £3,800 | $6,500 AU
  • Large organisations
    $4,000 US | £3,040 | $5,200 AU
  • Mid-size organisations
    $3,000 US | £2,280 | $3,900 AU
  • Small organisations
    $2,000 US | £1,520 | $2,600 AU
  • Part scholarships
    $500 US | £380 | $650 AU
  • Full scholarships
    A limited number of full scholarships are available to support participants from grassroots organisations.


  • Small organisations are those with an annual operating budget below
    $385K US | £290K | $500K AU.
  • Mid-sized organisations are those with an annual operating budget between
    $385K US | £290K | $500K AU and $1.5M US | £1.2M | $2M AU.
  • Large organisations are those with an annual operating budget above
    $1.5M US | £1.2M | $2M AU.
  • Where participant fees are paid by third-parties (e.g. a funder or fellowship program, rather than the direct organisation or individual involved) we would usually expect them to pay at the “Large organisation” or “Philanthropy” rate.
  • Where participant fees are paid by the individual rather than their employer (for example because the employer decides they cannot), we would usually expect them to pay at the rate for their employer. This may vary for people in part time, or short term work.
  • For questions regarding pricing categories, please get in touch with Claudia from Australian Progress – claudia@australianprogress.org.au.



To apply, submit an expression of interest via the form here. Please note applications close at 6pm 30th March in your respective timezone (PST/EST, GMT, AEST).