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Storytelling for Social Change

Discover how crafting an engaging story can deliver a message that inspires audiences and effects real change.

Storytelling for Social Change
  • Duration5 weeks
  • Weekly study2 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more

Harness the power of storytelling and improve your communication skills

On this course, you’ll discover the secrets of storytelling from expert performers and artists.

Stories are a powerful way to engage an audience and deliver impact. Using characters creates empathy, and makes people more open-minded to hearing something new or engaging with a complex topic.

Learn how storytelling can communicate powerful ideas

By following some simple rules of story craft, any communicator can create empathy and interest – both vitally important when trying to get a message across.

You’ll explore how professionals use stories to drive social change, and understand how introducing multiples perspectives can boost the impact of your message.

Utilise the power of visual storytelling

You’ll learn how visual elements can enhance a story and keep people listening.

You’ll discover how to identify your audience, and create a protagonist that can connect with them, building awareness and shifting attitudes.

Improve the impact of your communication skills

Using peer feedback, quizzes, and personal reflection, you’ll improve your own storytelling techniques, whether you work with a brand, a not-for-profit, or just want to become a better public speaker.

Studying performances and hearing from storytelling professionals, you‘ll end by developing a creative project of your own.

What topics will you cover?

  • Developing skills for using stories to deliver messages that affect audiences and drive change.
  • Discussion of how building empathy and developing characters can offer multiple perspectives on complex problems.
  • Explore how connecting with an audience through story can create new awareness and influence attitudinal shifts around a particular cause.
  • View performances and interviews with storytelling experts to demonstrate how story crafting can develop empathy and deliver impact.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Discuss how professionals use stories to elicit social change.
  • Introduce multiple perspectives into stories for social impact.
  • Learn how to identify an audience, communicate a message, and develop a strong protagonist to deliver your message.
  • Identify how empathy and belief systems affect storytellers and audience members.
  • Use visual elements to enhance a storytelling project.

Who is the course for?

This course would benefit professionals who want to tell an impactful story, including those working in not-for-profit or commercial sectors, marketing teams, writers, educators, and public speakers.

Who will you learn with?

Anita Gonzalez (Ph.D.) is a Professor of Theatre and Associate Dean at the University of Michigan where she promotes internationalism in the arts, engaged learning, and interdisciplinary research.

Who developed the course?

University of Michigan

As the #1 public research university in the United States, U-M has been a leader in research, learning, and teaching for more than 200 years, with 102 Grad programs in the top 10 — U.S. News & World Report (2019).

  • Established1817
  • LocationAnn Arbor, Michigan, USA
  • World rankingTop 30Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 7 weeks


Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$279.99 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.