There are two exciting internship opportunities within the Common Cause network this month, both hosted by the Public Interest Research Centre. The first is a Common Cause Internship working on core Common Cause activities, from liaising with academics and summarising new research to helping develop participatory workshops. The second is a Common Cause for Nature Internship working with PIRC on a major new project investigating ways to better engage the UK public in conservation.
For more information, visit: www.pirc.info/jobs. Read more
This blog is written by Eivind Hoff in Brussels.
How to use the Common Cause perspective in the design of dialogue processes? That was what we discussed through a case study at Common Cause Brussels on 19 April.
The case was a real example of an EU-funded research project that is to start soon with the aim of fostering better dialogue between R&D communities and civil society on low-carbon energy technologies that sometimes are controversial, such as wind turbines, CCS or power transmission lines. One of the first big tasks in the project will be to conduct a large number of interviews in 10 European countries with different types of stakeholders on their opinions on these technologies and the low-carbon energy transition in general. Read more
I spent Wednesday evening with a group of 25 from all sorts of community and NGO initiatives in Bristol to share some of the case studies we’ve been collecting, and the themes that we’re noticing within them.
The room was filled with an intergenerational group – and after finishing exactly on time, I was one of the first to leave as nearly everyone stayed behind to keep talking: a sure sign of success!
We spent most of the evening reflecting on what campaigning looks like with a Common Cause approach, using the following themes as guides for our conversation. Read more
This is a guest post by Tim Burns, Head of Waste Watch.
In 2009, the children’s marketing sector was worth £100bn – and it’s still growing. A significant portion of this total is spent on food marketing, predominantly promoting energy dense, low-nutrient food and beverages – typically unhealthy for children, but marketed to exaggerate health claims – and messaging (often with the help of celebrities) to suggest popularity, performance and mood.
There is worrying evidence of the impact advertising can have on children’s dietary behaviours. One study, for example, showed that children exposed to junk food advertising ate 45% more junk food than children not exposed during the trial[i]. Furthermore, the Hastings Review found evidence that advertising can have an effect upon the nutritional knowledge, food preferences, purchasing behaviour and diet of children.
But can marketing influence beyond behaviours to our values and identity? Read more
“One of the most profound changes in our modern vocabulary is the way in which ‘We the People’ are defined”, observes the academic David Rutherford. “Not so very long ago, we ‘pictured’ ourselves as citizens. … Today, we are most often referred to (and therefore increasingly inclined to ‘see’ ourselves) as consumers.”
Too true. There has been an inexorable rise in the use of the term ‘consumer’ over the past forty years – a stark trend evident in both newspapers and books. But whilst the rise of consumerism has been well-documented, evidence of its negative impacts have proven harder to pin down. Does it really matter that we’re all consumers now? Read more
How do we bring a Common Cause approach into our organisations when they might not want to consider it?
This was the question that we discussed last night at the 10:10 office in Camden. We heard four different stories from NGO staff who have tried to bring frames and values thinking into their organisation – with varying degrees of success and difficulty. Out of these conversations emerged some principles and patterns that we started to see within each of the stories, which we wanted to share. Read more
This is a post from Eivind Hoff, who has been bringing together Common Cause conversations in Brussels.
What values do typical texts on EU climate change-motivated policy activate and how can we change them? That was the focus of the second Common Cause Brussels meeting on 7 March.
Most of us working with EU affairs in Brussels draft and edit texts trying to convince policy-makers to do this or that. At our meeting, we took one such draft text I had received that called for ambitious EU policies for decarbonising the power sector. What had struck me was how such texts – even with the most climate-friendly intentions – are permeated by appeals to “competitiveness”, “economic growth” and “energy security”. Read more
Guy and I spent a couple of days in Brussels working with NGO staff exploring what Common Cause means for those working close to policy-making, in communications and behaviour change campaigns.
Questions that we’re exploring:
- Do people who take on CC approach come to different political conclusions?
- How likely are politicians to respond to intrinsic values?
- How can NGO community engage with this at a more fundamental level – beyond external communications?
- How do we do work that we are not personally/organizationally mandated to do? Read more
“Do we have time to shift values?” This is a question that is often asked when people respond to Common Cause. This blog, itself an expansion of the FAQ question of the same title, offers a response.
Clearly, we don’t have long to bring down greenhouse carbon dioxide emissions very markedly before we hit devastating levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – with profound, effectively irreversible, effects upon our climate. Often, when people ask “Do we have time to shift values?”, they are posing the question in the context of the urgency of addressing climate change. In this context, we need to effect major changes in how our economies are run, and we need to effect them very soon.
In formulating a response to the challenge posed by climate change, it is important to hold in mind that these reductions in greenhouse gas emissions need to be (i) sufficiently ambitious; (ii) made sufficiently soon; (iii) sufficiently durable to be maintained for a long time to come.
Implicit in the question “Do we have time to shift values?” is the belief that some alternative strategy could perhaps provide the requisite ambition and durability, and deliver these emissions reductions in a short time-frame. Also implicit is the suspicion that, while the strategy of ‘shifting values’ may be sufficiently ambitious and dependable, it is likely to take a long time. Too long.
This blog, then, provides some responses to this important question. Read more
Through case studies and coming together in community, a growing number of campaigners are exploring how to use a values approach in their work.
As part of that, we have put together an action learning process, which will take campaigners through a five month learning and innovation process.
Who is this for: Campaigners from UK-based medium/large NGOs who interact with the public and/or partner organisations. Each campaigner will need a colleague from their organisation to take part in the process – so that we have 20 campaigners from 10 NGOs. You’ll need to be willing to try new things inside your organisation and to take some risks. If you feel stuck in your work but believe in what’s possible – then this is for you.
When is it happening: Full days on 23rd February, 9-11th March, 12th April, 10th May, 14th June, 12th July. We’ll happily approach your NGO leadership with you to negotiate time to take part.
What is the cost: None, though we will be asking you to host trainings at your organisation (if there is room).
How many hours per week does it need: 2-4 hours a week for reading, sharing insights with your learning partner, and documenting the process.
Download the pdf with full details and details here.
If you’d like to take part or have any questions – please contact me (Casper ter Kuile).
07912 491812 Read more