What does re-imagining our story mean?


Last November CSS co-founder Patrick Reinsborough travelled to Berlin to attend a convening of the European SmartCSOs Lab. Smart CSOs is an international network of campaigners, activists, researchers and funders exploring how civil society organizations can be more effective drivers of systemic change.

The gathering called Re:Imagining Activism was held in Berlin and brought together 100 civil society leaders to explore how CSO’s (civil society organizations) can reimagine our organizations, campaigns and strategies to drive deep system change. The conference was framed around the “Great Transition.” The SmartCSOs network uses this term (which comes from the work of the Boston based Tellus Institute) to talk about the much needed global shift from the current destructive growth-at-all-costs paradigm to a “societal well being paradigm” that would support a transition towards more sustainable and democratic institutions. You can find out a lot more about SmartCSO’s thinking and innovative model in their recently published and downloadable toolkit Re.Imagining Activism––A Practical Guide for the Great Transition. The guide has lots of useful frameworks and is a valuable resource for anybody grappling with how to make their social change work more systemic.

Patrick participated in the Re-Imagining Our Story strategy session which was facilitated by talented folks from the UK based Public Interest Research Center (check out their great resources on understanding values and movement building orientations towards framing and communications). You can hear what Patrick has to say about the session in this interview that conference organizers included in their video report back.