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AKO Storytelling Institute

Black and white photographs of a city folded into a spiral, with images of the sky
Black and white photographs of a city folded into a spiral, with images of the sky
Hai Hui Xiong, 2021 MA Book Arts, Camberwell College of Arts, UAL | Photograph: Kristy Noble

Developing a world-leading understanding of how narrative and storytelling can bring about change.

Our ambition is to develop the field of creative practice for social purpose.

We want to build an evidence base for what works and help establish the discipline and practice of purpose-led storytelling.

The Institute will work at the intersection of artistic practice and social change. It will bring together world-class creatives with campaigners, educators, and policy makers.

What's on

Join our pilot season events.

  • Map with strings
    Map with string at group Work at Visible Justice Exhibition, 2021 MA Illustration, London College of Communication, UAL | Photograph: Lewis Bush
    Experiments in Non-Linear Narrative  

    3 October 2pm - 3pm. Panel discussion exploring how new platforms and emergent technologies offer innovative narrative possibilities.

  • Portraits overlaid with graphics
    Storytelling Institute, Photography: JC Candanedo
    Reality, Reciprocity, Resilience  

    23 September 6pm - 8pm. This showcase explores the lived experiences of refugees in relation to the themes of cultural sustainability and community resilience.

  • Projection on a body
    The Crossing, Nicola Daley ASC (cinematographer). Film by Professor Shreepali Patel
    Storytelling & Film-Based Research Driving Social Change (Sandpit event)  

    19 October 2 - 4.30pm. A Sandpit event, Storytelling and Film (Sound & Vision), Film Based Research Driving Social Change.

About us

The Institute is being established with the support from AKO Foundation. It will become part of the University's new Social Purpose Group launching this autumn.

We will work with artists from a range of disciplines within UAL and beyond to challenge policies on climate change, biodiversity and questions of economic, social and racial justice.

By developing the discipline of storytelling-for-change, 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.

We are developing our programme and will update this page with research projects and events.

Our partnerships

Our pilot season has included collaborations with Citizens UK, the World Cities Culture Forum, the Greater London Authority, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the UAL Social Design Institute, Google Arts & Culture Lab, Little Amal, the UAL Climate Emergency Network, Create4Glasgow, Doc Society, and the Barbican Centre.