The Change Network

Exploring Instances of Social Change

Campaigners and change-makers told us they wanted to meet one another across boundaries of sector, issue or size. We set up The Change Network and you are cordially invited to join!

Every two months, we’ll explore an instance of successful change and offer chances to connect with others. Join the network here.

Upcoming event

We are working on our 2020 Change Network Programme – Watch this space!

Previous events

Women's participation in team sports has increased over the past 20 years, and millions tuned into the World Cup this summer. Yet equal pay, representation in broadcast and schools provision still lags and negative body image is a greater problem than ever before.

On Wednesday 16th October we were joined by: Ebony Rainford-Brent, World Cup Winning Cricketer and broadcaster and the first black woman in the English cricket team; Kelly Simmons, Director of the Women’s Professional game at the FA; and Sally Hancock, former chair of Women in Sport, named 2015's most influential women in sport and 2013's UK Sponsorship Personality of the Year in 2013. We will discuss how we have achieved the progress we've made so far, and what lessons should we learn as we fight to further narrow the gap.

Podcast coming out in January 2020.


On 25 May 2018, the Irish electorate voted to remove the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution, which banned abortion in almost all circumstances. Every constituency but one voted in favour of repeal.

After decades of campaigning, increasing pressure for change, and the avoidable deaths of many women, politicians were still reluctant to address the issue head on. This deadlock was broken when a panel of 99 ordinary citizens came together in a Citizens’ Assembly. After hearing evidence, it concluded that the existing constitutional provision was no longer fit for purpose and recommended that it be changed to allow the Irish legislature to determine the law. This required that a referendum be called.

One year on, we ask:

What were the drivers of success in 2018?

How did the creation of the Citizens’ Assembly affect campaigners’ strategies?

What can campaigners in the UK learn from the Irish experience?

This Change Network event explored the huge success of the movement to pull investments from fossil fuel companies. The campaign is the fastest growing divestment campaign of it’s kind in history, starting in the US and spreading around the world with the support of and many partners. It's been massively successful here in the UK - to date 50% of universities & 13 local authorities have pledged to divest. Billions have been shifted to cleaner investments globally and oil companies have started to panic about the damage caused to their reputations.

At the event we explored how this campaign has broken down the complex problem of climate change into something tangible that people all over the UK can work on in small groups - and how organisations have supported this local activity, coordinating where needed to maximise impact. We asked how they did it, explored the many challenges and pulled out learning for other campaigns. We also explored the connected campaigns against oil companies sponsoring cultural institutions and the creative activism of groups like BP or not BP.

We were joined by:

Ellen Gibson - Ellen is a very experienced environmental campaigner. She works for 350, coordinating the divestment network aimed at local authorities, but will also be able to speak about wider national and international divestment work (as this is a global campaign for 350).

Sakina Sheikh - Platform & Lewisham Labour councillor Sakina has been working on what she calls the ‘inside track' on divestment for the past 3 years; building up a Councillor network across London so that Cllrs have a space to build political courage and support one another on divestment etc. More recently she has been working with LGPS on the reinvestment side of the divest conversation. Sakina also works for Platform.

Chris Garrard - BP or Not BP; Culture Unstained Chris is a campaigner and composer who has been involved in creative performative interventions targeting fossil fuel sponsorship of cultural institutions since 2012, with groups such as BP or not BP? and Shell Out Sounds. He is the Co-director of Culture Unstained, a campaigns and research organisation dedicated to ending fossil fuel sponsorship of cultural organisations. While this ‘cultural divestment’ from oil sponsorship is distinct from other forms of divestment, both campaigns are part of a larger movement focusing on cutting financial ties as a way of challenging the reputation and social legitimacy of the fossil fuel industry.

Join fellow campaigners and change-makers, from organisations large and small, to explore an instance of social change. How did it happen? What did it look and feel like from the inside? Who needed to be involved?

This month we’ll be hearing about the Campaign to Save the Joiners Arms in Bethnal Green. So far, it has secured a landmark planning decision by Tower Hamlets Council to protect and, crucially, financially support the LGBTQ venue, which was under threat from development.

We’ll be joined by:

Dwayne Clarke (The Joiners Lives On)

Liam Barrington-Bush (community organiser)

John Pierce (local councillor)

How was social power built, deployed and developed? What were the critical moments of change? What happens now?

This podcast is from our first Change Network event and features Peter Tatchell who coordinated the Equal Love campaign, Benjamin Cohen of Pink News and Lib Dem peer Liz Barker.

In 2013 a major piece of legislation was passed by the British Parliament. It legalised marriage for same sex couples in England and Wales - the result of several decades of activism.

Social Power Podcast

Couldn’t make the Change Network events? Head to our Social Power Podcast page to hear recordings from the events.

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