It’s All About Power
The Power Project calls for a new way of thinking about power, and action to build solidarity in social change.
Reports, articles, toolkits
(October 2019) This project from ATD Fourth World in collaboration with the University of Oxford brought together professionals, academics and people with first-hand experience of poverty from 2016-2019 to change the ways in which poverty is understood and talked about by decision makers and governments.
(2020) A research project by Sharon Brown on Lived Experience Speakers Bureaus as well as a toolkit for anyone doing similar work or looking to start. It covers multiple countries, a variety of issues and provides advice, guidance and lessons learned from different perspectives and areas of the work.
(2014) This report was published by The New Citizenship Project, established to help catalyse the shift to a more participatory society. This report offers a new way of understanding the current period of intense societal change, and asks what it is we can all participate in and contribute to.
(2021) This report is a rallying call for a better way, suggesting that if we change the way we work, together we can build a fairer society. This report has been contributed by several hundred people across the Better Way Network, in gatherings over 2020, offering their insights and working up these ideas together.
(2020) Opinion by Blessing Omakwu about becoming an “intravist” and what that means in efforts to change organisational structures.
(2021) Power dynamics exist between organisations, affecting coalitions. This report from IVAR on the learning and legacy of the Stage Partnership explores the positives and challenges of partnership working between small, medium and large charities.
(2019) The purpose of this primer is to help us move to a shared understanding of power, so that all of us who are committed to social and gender justice can build our strategies from a more comprehensive, shared definition and analysis of power as it operates in society.
(2019) This article takes into account researchers’ responsibilities toward the communities in which they operate. Communities must be informed of findings; they must be given a stake in the research results. Otherwise, what is the point of research?
In this episode Daniel Edmiston explores the disconnect between relatively stable statistics on poverty in the UK and an increase in experiences of acute financial hardship around the country.
This podcast explores creating participatory ideology for social justice. Peter Beresford also talks about his new book, Participatory Ideology, which you’ll find in the book section below.
No Shortcuts is about the decline of the union movement, the power of grassroots mass organising, and how anyone interested in social change can rebuild powerful movements at work, in communities and at the ballot box.
Heimans and Timms argue that ‘New power’ is behind the rise of platforms like Facebook and Uber, the out-of-nowhere victories of Trump and Obama, the unexpected emergence of movements like #MeToo, and what social movements can do to harness it.
‘Taking’ power, rather than waiting for it to be given, has been a key theme for the Power Sharing Project. Here, Parker considers this question through the lens of political and democratic power, arguing that the lack of faith in the UK political system lies in the centralisation of power in Westminster.
A different perspective heard on the Power Sharing Project is that some people are simply not comfortable with the notion of ‘taking power’. Holloway, a Marxist sociologist, argues that we’ve seen the transfer of ‘power over’ one group to another in revolutions throughout history, often with disastrous effect.
How do we really gain and maintain power – through coercion or cooperation? What does it do to our behaviour? And what makes us lose power? Dacher Keltner turns everything we thought we knew about influence and status upside down, redefining power for our times.
The focus here is on the ways in which invisible power helps perpetuate injustice and widen inequalities. There are recommendations for how to reverse the negative effects of invisible power through unsettling the normal and making visible the unacceptable.
This guide provides some vital concepts and approaches to begin to reinject notions of power, citizenship, and human
rights into the increasingly sterile debates on participation and advocacy. You can read the introductory chapter here, and you’ll find chapter 3 in the ‘Reports and articles’ section above.
The Power Book: What is it, Who Has it and Why? by Claire Saunders, Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, Minna Salami, Mik Scarlet, Hazel Songhurst, 2019
With this inspiring and brightly illustrated guide to power, learn about the different types of power, what it means to have power, and what you can do with your own power to create positive change.
Narrative Power and Collective Action: Conversations with people working to change narratives for social good - Part 1 by Isabel Crabtree-Condor, 2020
Narratives are a form of power that can connect, as well as divide. Interested to know more? 20+ collaborators from across the world share their knowledge, tips, and tactics from their lived experience.
Narrative Power and Collective Action: Conversations with people working to change narratives for social good – Part 2, by Isabel Crabtree-Condor, 2020
See how creative minds are finding new ways to imagine alternative futures and bring them to life by owning who they are, speaking up, through storytelling and collective action.
Matthew Bolton describes this book as for people who want to make a change but they’re not sure how. Maybe you’ve been on a march, posted your opinions on social media, but don’t feel like it’s making any difference.
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: The Promise of Civic Renewal in America by Peter Levine, 2016
In a more American context, this is a primer for anyone motivated to help revive the fragile civic life and restore citizens’ public role.
Rules for Revolutionaries: How Big Organizing Can Change Everything by Becky Bond and Zack Exley, 2016
In a more American context, 22 rules of Big Organizing have been identified that can be used to drive social change movements of any kind. And they tell the inside story of one of the most amazing grassroots political campaigns ever run.
Boyte’s book shows that we can free the productive powers of people to work across lines and differences to build a better society and create grounded hope for the future.
This book examines the exclusionary nature of prevailing political ideologies. Bringing together theory, practice and the relationship between participation, political ideology and social welfare, it offers a detailed critique of how the crucial move to more participatory approaches may be achieved.
Power Sharing Project blogs and articles
What is belonging? What does it mean to 'normal', secure people, and what does it mean to survivors? In my experience, two very different things. Is belonging a positive or a negative? For survivors, a craving for belonging surfaces in rushed intimacy,...
It’s been a long and complex journey, but the findings from the Power Project are clear. Social sector organisations must think differently about power to build solidarity for social change. Saul Alinsky, organiser and activist, suggested that for a revolution to be...
In this blog, Head of the Power Sharing Project Sarah Thomas reflects on the unexpected journey the project took and calls for a new conversation about power in civil society – one that will help people with personal experience of poverty and inequality harness their...