Why investigations are essential to our movement and how to get the most out of them through transformational storytelling

RICH HARDY

  • 14th October
    15:00 - 15:55

Undercover investigations have been a success story within our movement. They’ve helped us expose the inherent cruelties of using animals for food, fashion, science or entertainment. They require careful planning and can be costly to initiate but they can fast track an organisation to a successful outcome for animals where other campaign techniques might fail. They provide activists with not just the evidence they need to create change but they also connect activists directly with the animals they are working on behalf of – something rare when most of our work is generated from central office hubs with little or no day-to-day contact with animals. But not every organisation is able to get the most out of their investigative project work. Our tendency is to tell one story – usually referencing the suffering, the cruelty or the law breaking. But beyond this, there are usually other stories within an investigation, which are worthy of being told in their own right. These additional stories can add weight to a campaign, help campaigners reach out to new audiences, drive organisations into new investigative work or just make you better campaigners by knowing more about how your adversaries think and feel. Often these additional stories are overlooked or underused.
Everything learnt from an investigative project should be fully considered for its storytelling potential. There should be no waste, as there are no guarantees you’ll be able to tell that story again. Our movement needs a constant supply of stories that can be transformational for others. Investigations are crucial to this process, providing us not just with an evidence base to make our campaigns credible but to connect others with our movement for the first time through great story telling. This talk will identify the types of stories that can be captured through an investigation and how AR organisations can make the best use of them.