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AKO Storytelling Institute

Image of Little Amal and Illustration of Sculpting Civic Space Event Speakers
Image of Little Amal and Illustration of Sculpting Civic Space Event Speakers
Left: Little Amal, The Walk 2021, Chios, Greece | Photograph: Adonis Logothetis | Right: Sculpting Civic Space, Illustration by Jing Wang, 2022 MA Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts, UAL | Design direction: Brand and Creative Services, UAL

Where creative practice meets social transformation

The AKO Storytelling Institute is where campaigners and artists can work together to change the world for the better.

We want to work with artists, performers and designers from a range of disciplines within UAL and beyond to challenge policies on climate and ecology, as well as questions of economic, social and racial justice.

By developing the discipline of purpose-led storytelling, we believe we can inspire and enable successful collaborations between campaigners and artists around the world. By doing so, we can bring about the change the world needs.

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What's on

Register for our events.

  • Knitted brooches with metallic details arranged on a glass wall
    'Constellation, A Watch of Nightingales', Kate Keara Pelen, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Carev
    Creativity, Care and the City (part one)  

    11 Jan 2-5pm. With Greater London Authority (Culture and Creative Industries Unit), London Arts & Health, World Cities Culture Forum and Nesta.

  • Dancer amongst string on the floor
    Laurane Le Goff, Sympoiesis, featured as part of Earth Quest: Your Ecological Adventure, Barbican and Climate Emergency Network, 2022 | Photography : Hydar Dewachi
    Creativity, Care and the City (part two)  

    1 Feb 2-5pm. With Greater London Authority (Culture and Creative Industries Unit), London Arts & Health, World Cities Culture Forum and Nesta.

Coming soon

Creating Value

January - March 
Central Saint Martins student-led talk series, MA Art & ScienceMA Biodesign

Glitching Realities & Alternative Futures: embodying change

March (research season)  
Performance Programme Forum

The Social Purpose of Museums

With UAL Collections and Galleries

About us

Established this year at University of the Arts London (UAL) the Institute works at the intersection of artistic practice and social change.

It brings together world-class creatives with campaigners, educators, and policymakers. Through collaboration, knowledge exchange and action-research we are building an evidence base for what works and helping to establish the discipline and practice of storytelling-for-change.

AKO Storytelling Institute Launch Event

14th October 2022

  • Banners with portraits hanging from a building
    ' Memory Work',Memory Work Collective, City of Toronto | Photograph: Jeremy Glenn
  • Students in costumes on a balcony with colourful banners
    'Well of Possibilities' by Alisa Ruzavina, Graduate of MA Material Futures, Central Saint Martins | Earth Quest, Barbican Centre and Climate Emergency Network, 2022 | Photograph: Hydar Dewachi

With thanks to our pilot season partners and contributors

Arts Council England, Arts & Humanities Research Council, Barbican Centre, Citizens UK, Create4Glasgow, Culture&, Culture and Creative Industries Unit, Greater London Authority, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Doc Society, Fair Acre Press, Foundation for Future London, Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group, Google Arts & Culture Lab, Little Amal, LocalGlobe, London Arts and Health, Making for Change, National Activity Providers Association, National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement, Nesta, Royal Literary Fund, Royal Opera House, Sabir, September Publishing, UAL Climate Emergency Network, UAL Decolonising Arts Institute, UAL Social Design Institute, University of Exeter, Watson Little, World Cities Culture Forum.

Pilot season team

  • Ruth Mackenzie – Launch Director
  • Kate Keara Pelen – Head of Creative Projects
  • Natasha Mays – Creative Producer
  • Sarah Cook – Operations Manager

The AKO Storytelling Institute has been established with the generous support of the AKO Foundation, as part of UAL Social Purpose Group.