Two Priorities

The Climate Emergency and the Crisis in Democracy

Huge changes to all levels of society, politics and business are required to avoid the most devastating effects of climate change.

To deal with the climate crisis and realise a just transition, the world needs more equity, more plurality, more just democracies. We need the negotiation of a new social contract between people and the state, one that can lead to a more abundant future for all.

That is why Doc Society is centering all we have learnt in cultural strategy over the past two decades to help address these two critical and interconnected issues.

“When future generations look back upon the Great Derangement they will certainly blame the leaders and politicians of this time for their failure to address the climate crisis. But they may well hold artists and writers to be equally culpable – for the imagining of possibilities is not after all, the job of politicians and bureaucrats.”

Amitav Ghosh (The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable)

The team at Doc Society understands that journalists, filmmakers, storytellers, media makers and impact producers are agents of social change who shape public opinion, shape our social and political attitudes with narrative.

Therefore we are focused on a live question; what are the kinds of narratives which are needed in this age of democratic, climatic and economic polycrisis, to engage and inspire citizens? For this is the domain of artists and storytellers - they are world builders. Helping all of us imagine more just, more equitable societies.

Doc Society’s Climate Story Unit and now the Democracy Story Unit are modelling the potential of Cultural Strategy to address two interlinked and existential crises. Accelerating a pipeline of thrilling, beautiful, poetic, inspirational stories being made around the world into the market.

“We brought down apartheid with the stories we told, the songs we sang, the plays we staged. They controlled the means of violence, but we won the cultural struggle.”

Kumi Naidoo, activist

More than just proving there are good stories to be supported and hungry audiences waiting for them, we are modelling what it looks like to strategically align that content with civil society organisations, with the needs of impacted communities, designing how to go beyond the limits of mainstream distribution to engage critical audiences and trigger transformation.

Our goal is to reduce the confidence gap in the media industry, amongst campaigners and funders who want to understand how to harness narrative strategies, providing evidence and inspiration to unlock more investment and capacity for the whole field.

But it is not enough to help make the work, we have to ensure that citizens can find it through the blizzard of misinformation and disinformation. Which is why Doc Society is also focused on the condition of the infrastructure that carries media in the public interest - one which is beleaguered in the face of rampant market forces, big tech, and political interests. How do we ensure that independent storytelling keeps getting made and is also accessible by citizens. We want to work with thinkers and doers who are also wrestling with these questions - please reach out to us at

To find out more about the Climate Story Unit and how it’s supporting transformative storytelling to advance a more just future through convenings of Climate Story Labs, production and impact funding for new climate narratives with the Climate Story Fund, and distribution experiments in the Climate Story Kitchen - head to

Following two major convenings in London and Rio and a winter of reflection and analysis, the Democracy Story Unit team are now making their very first investments into films and live impact campaigns. The website for the Democracy Story Unit with details of our priorities and programmes will be going live in the next few weeks.