Tuesdays November 7th & 14th 2019: 6pm – 9pm | Halifax, NS | REGISTER NOW

About this Workshop

The issues facing modern society are increasingly complex and systemic. If we simply describe the problems that concern us and solutions as we see them – the people we’re trying to persuade are are often left unmoved and unmotivated. Beneath all of the issues we organize around are stories about ourselves and the people and groups affected by and concerned about those issues. When we tell those stories, we can motivate others to action, and begin to build a narrative that resonates with a broader public.

When it comes time to actually solving problems, proposing better policies, and persuading others to implement solutions (or support those who will) stories alone are rarely enough. One way to do this is through message framing. When we don’t frame our issues in ways that center our own values, we risk losing the debate to those who do. Framing is a powerful way to appeal to those who don’t have (or want) the depth of knowledge on an issue that we might have as policy advocates, activists and civic leaders.

In this workshop, we will explore how storytelling and message framing can be used as tools for authentic political leadership, activism and persuasion. Participants will learn the theory behind both tools, and practise using the issues they care most about. Both tools can be used in a range of settings, including:

  • One-on-one interactions
  • Media interviews, debates, public speaking
  • Writing social content, speeches, video scripts, and more.

We’ll analyze examples of storytelling and framing techniques used by candidates and activists vying for power and influence in the Canadian federal election and US presidential primaries.

Homework for this workshop will involve:

  • Watching and reading excerpts provided from campaign debates, interviews and political ads for workshop discussions (In preparation for week one)
  • Preparing a story and practising framing an issue (in preparation for week two)

The theory and research for drawn on for this workshop will be based largely on the work of George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist who studies language and politics; and Marshall Ganz, an organizer who has developed a framework for storytelling and crafting public narratives.

Instructor: Mark Coffin – Writer, Communications Strategist, Digital Media Maker

Mark Coffin has over a decade of experience working in communications and advocacy on public interest issues. He’s spent the last five years leading projects at Springtide, and providing communications consulting services to a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations through his own business, Sound Good Studio.

Workshop Details

WHERE: Halifax Central Library, 2nd Floor, BMO Community Room

Accessibility Note: This room and event are wheelchair accessible. 

WHEN: This course will take place over two three-hour sessions, one week apart.

This course will take place over two three-hour sessions, one week apart:

Week One: Tuesday November 7th – 5:30PM – 8:30PM

An introduction to storytelling and framing 

Week Two: Tuesday November 14th – 5:30PM – 8:30PM 

Framing and storytelling practise 

Who This Course is For

This course is for people engaged in public, political and community issues – at any level and scale – who want to better understand how to effectively communicate about their values and the issues that matter to them.

Workshop Size

Workshop size is limited to 15 participants, and registrations are secured on a first-come first-served basis.

Registration & Pricing

Early Bird Registration: $175 (Register by Friday October 4th)

General Registration: $190

Registration Deadline: Thursday October 31st at 11:59pm

Fine Print
Cancellation Policy
Workshops with low sign-up rates at the registration deadline may be cancelled. If this occurs, and you have already registered for the course, you will be issued a full refund.
Refund Policy

Registration fees can be refunded (minus 10% processing fee) up until the registration deadline. Following the registration deadline, refunds will not be issued.


For more information, contact mark@springtide.ngo