The Power of Narrative in Shaping Public Policy

Start time
10:00 AM Pacific
End time
11:00 AM Pacific

Presented by ASA's Network on Environments, Services and Technology (NEST) 

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When competing for scant resources, promoting change to improve lives requires support from multiple parties, whether it’s the general public or elected decision makers. To achieve such support, activists need valid, reliable and compelling hard and soft data. Soft data refers to what we learn from the human experience of struggling to overcome obstacles. This webinar will assist practitioners in gathering soft data in the form of narrative, which can then be used to promote social and cultural change.

Participants in this webinar will be able to:

  • Describe the ways in which language and stories shape our understanding of various issues;
  • Understand the ways in which language shapes public policy; and
  • Identify methods for engaging community members in story-telling that takes advantage of the cognitive framework people use to understand aging and life experience, and to promote social change.


Phil Stafford is a cultural anthropologist with 40 years of experience that has focused on aging and community. He has been a leader of the age-friendly community movement and is a strong proponent and practitioner of citizen participation in community planning and development.





Kristin Bodiford is a social scientist with a background in nonprofit management. She works with non-governmental organizations worldwide to promote dialog and story-telling about social justice, cross-sector collaboration, civic engagement and intergenerational community-building.