Narrative Change Academy

Narrative Change Academy

Polarising, racist, and Islamophobic attitudes and discourses pose a major challenge to social cohesion in many European societies. From now on, the Young Islam Conference will counteract these throughout Europe with the Narrative Change Academy. The academy’s focus is specifically on the topic of Islam in Europe and how to shape a post-migrant society. Twelve young people from different backgrounds and experiences between the ages of 18-27 from France, the United Kingdom, and Germany participate in the academy.

Imagine you change the future by changing the narrative

The campaign is online!

The outcome of our pilot year’s Narrative Change Academy – their digitial campaign themed #UnboxStories – launched on Instagram on January 31st, 2024. Utilising both moving and static imagery, individuals share objects that shed light onto their personal experiences, aiming to bring various narratives and viewpoints to the forefront. The campaign seeks to foster discussions on solidarity and community, emphasising the need for openness as a pathway to authentic conversations and democratic coexistence. We hope to craft our own narratives, thereby shaping tomorrow’s post-migrant Europe.

About the Narrative Change Academy

As academy participants, young Europeans acquire skills in strategic communication – particularly digital campaigning – to advocate for our vision of an open, post-migrant, and anti-racist society. The first academy year started in May 2023 and will run until February 2024. Working with experts, the participants will use the Narrative Change Approach to develop a digital campaign consisting of value-oriented, post-migrant, inclusive narratives about Muslims. In addition, the program will also prepare the participants, through targeted mentorship and a workshop series, to present their findings at a final event in Brussels with European stakeholders.

The trained Narrative Change Ambassadors are the start of a European post-migrant alumni network that will grow year by year, contributing in the long term to enabling a broader presence of value-based, post-migrant, inclusive narratives across Europe.

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The Fellows

Kübra Sariyar

“Hi, my name is Kübra Sariyar, starting my master’s in European Media Studies. With the Narrative Change Approach, I recognise that there is the opportunity to transform knowledge into something tangible, and hope that curiosity and trust will be brought to outreach work. I’m especially looking forward to this experimental approach.”

David Bakum

“Hi, I’m David and I’m studying theatre and film in Edinburgh. I value JIK as an empowerment space for many young Muslims in Germany and would like to support as an ally. In learning about the Narrative Change approach, I look forward to designing a campaign concept to realise JIK’s visions across Europe!”

Mouna Chatt

„Hello! My name is Mouna. Participating in the Narrative Change Academy, for almost a year, has shown me how intense, yet rewarding, it can be to work collectively on strategic communications. As an NCA fellow, I look forward to continuing this work by co-writing and presenting a policy paper reflecting on the NCA’s development and its accompanying digital campaign.“

The participants

Aminata (27), FR, is an advocate for climate justice and social equity. Whether it’s circular construction or vegan cuisine, she’s always after the next life hack for people and the planet. In Berlin or Paris, you’ll find her browsing books and feminist games, or drinking oat milk lattes.

Bensu (24), GER, is studying Law at the European University Viadrina. She is a very political person and is convinced that movement and change are important for individuals as well as societies.
She adores any form of pasta, loves swimming and needs her çay (traditional turkish tea) daily.

Bilal (28), FR, an avid traveler, is captivated by diverse cultures. He is always seeking new experiences, to expand his horizons, and connect with others through shared meals. Food, for him, is the gateway to unravel the essence of each place. He is engaged in the world of European Project Management, and works and studies in this field.

Can (25), GER, is studying Islamic Studies in Berlin with a focus on (anti-Muslim) racism studies, post-colonial theory and migration/integration. Beside that, he works in his father’s ice cream parlour.

Hicham (23), GER, enjoys deep conversations and exploring new places. When he is not talking about a pluralistic society or travelling the world, you will find him studying Economics & Management in Mainz.

Lejla (26), GER, is a visual artist and activist who delves into the realms of visual politics, subjectivity, and resistance. Her dream travel destinations are Senegal and Brazil. Lejla is currently immersed in the world of weaving and researching fungi and microorganisms.

Mouna (22), UK, studies Sociology and Politics at the University of Edinburgh and is particularly interested in migration, Islam in Europe, and urban spaces. She is an avid green tea drinker and loves Habibi Funk.

Nicole (24), GER, feels fulfilled when she is dancing or learning something new, and is inspired by art. She is studying Social Sciences and is engaged in cultural work. Her favourite flowers are sunflowers, and she is obsessed with Vietnamese food and her grandmother’s dishes.

Tas (24), UK, is a UK-based Malaysian and soon-to-be Ecology graduate. She loves looking at colourful and shiny creatures, big or small. Tasnim hopes to dedicate her life to creating equal access to nature and making natural history exciting to everyone.

Uhayd (20), UK, is studying Physics and Philosophy at Kings College London (KCL). He previously worked as a local youth councillor and is currently serving as a student trustee within the KCL student union. Alongside his work and studies, he enjoys practicing martial arts and doing sports.

Yasmin (27), UK, works in the UK television industry across development and production. She is passionate about improving diversity and inclusion in the media industry both on and off screen. Aside from her job, Yasmin is an artist, her work often exploring underrepresented voices, themes and narratives. She loves nature walks, long night drives and has a weakness for mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Yasmine (23), FR, is currently studying International and European Law at the University of Angers (France). She is interested in the consequences of the French vision of «la laïcité». Yasmine laughs a lot at her own jokes and random thoughts that she makes up in her head. It’s not you, it’s her.

The Timeline

The Academy is running from May 2023 to February 2024. Four three-day-long on-site workshops will take place in Berlin (11–13 May 2023; 22-24 June 2023; 7-9 September 2023 and 9-11 November 2023). Travel and hotel costs will be covered by the Narrative Change Academy.

We are shaping the post-migrant Europe of tomorrow.

What is the Narrative Change approach?

The Narrative Change approach addresses the “movable middle” and focusses on values, concerns, and personal stories. This approach forms an important basis for genuine dialogue and democratic coexistence. Mainstream society is characterised by a lack of participation in migration discourses, concerns about growing inequality, and is potentially susceptible to populist ideas and similar rhetoric.

Cooperation partners for the Narrative Change Academy include one step beyond – communications and strategy, the Berlin Institute for Empirical Research on Integration and Migration (BIM) at the Humboldt University of Berlin and Connecting Europe, a European programme of the European Policy Centre.

A publication will be produced as part of the scientific support provided by BIM. Roundtables with decision-makers at national and the European level will make the results more visible, thus rounding off the academy programme.

The Narrative Change Academy is funded by the Allianz Foundation and the Stiftung Mercator and co-funded by the European Union. The contact person is Jasemin Seven.