Storylistening: narrative evidence and public reasoning

Sarah Dillon, a Cambridge Professor of Literature and Claire Craig, the Provost of Queen’s College Oxford and former director of the Government Office for Science discuss the need to take stories seriously, and how using narrative evidence can create profound new public understanding in contentious areas like climate change and AI.

The challenges of using scientific evidence, of distinguishing news from fake news, and of acting well in anticipation of highly uncertain futures, are more visible now than ever before. Across all these areas of public reasoning, stories create profound new knowledge and so deserve to be taken seriously.

The two authors of Storylistening: Narrative Evidence and Public Reasoning, Claire Craig and Sarah Dillon talk about their theory and practice of listening to narratives in policy areas in which decisions are strongly influenced by contentious knowledge and powerful imaginings, such as climate change and AI. They also present findings from two new storylistening projects – on future uses of space and on nuclear policy – showing how narrative evidence can be gathered and be of practical policy-relevant use.