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Storylistening: Narrative Evidence and Public Reasoning

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Storylistening makes the case for the urgent need to take stories seriously in order to improve public reasoning

Professor Sarah Dillon and Dr Claire Craig launch their new book Storylistening: Narrative Evidence and Public Reasoning.

The two authors talk to Bennett Professor of Public Policy Diane Coyle about the urgent need to use stories to improve public reasoning. They share a theory and practice of listening to narratives where decisions are strongly influenced by contentious knowledge and powerful imaginings in areas such as climate change, artificial intelligence, the economy, and nuclear weapons and power. 

They are also joined by Professors Genevieve Liveley, Peter Gluckman and Mike Hulme to reflect on the roles of stories in the public humanities, scientific advice, and climate change debates. 

This is a “must-watch” for anyone interested in how all types of evidence should inform public debate and decision-making, including policymakers, expert advisors from the sciences, humanities and social sciences, and anyone interested in the public humanities. 

To keep in touch with Sarah and Claire and news about their book, visit

Meet the authors and guests

  • Sarah Dillon is Professor of Literature and the Public Humanities in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. She is a scholar of contemporary literature, film and philosophy, with a research focus on the epistemic function and value of stories, on interdisciplinarity, and on the engaged humanities. She is author of The Palimpsest: Literature, Criticism, Theory (2007) Deconstruction, Feminism, Film (2018), and many academic articles and book chapters. She is editor of David Mitchell: Critical Essays (2011), and co-editor of Maggie Gee: Critical Essays (2015) and AI Narratives: A History of Imaginative Thinking About Intelligent Machines (2020). @ProfSarahDillon @englishunicam
  • Dr Claire Craig is Provost of The Queen’s College, Oxford and has extensive experience of providing scientific evidence to senior decision-makers in government and business. Originally a geophysicist, she became Director of the UK Government Office for Science, a member of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, and got her grounding in strategy at McKinsey & Co. She developed her interest in the power of stories initially through their roles in public reasoning about strategic futures and alongside the use of computational models of complex systems. @QueensCollegeOx
  • Diane Coyle is Bennett Professor of Public Policy, University of Cambridge. A leading economist, she is a Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, a Director of The Productivity Institute, a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics, an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission, and Senior Independent Member of the ESRC Council. @DianeCoyle1859 @bennettInst
  • Genevieve Liveley is Professor of Classics, RISCS Fellow, and Turing Fellow at the University of Bristol. She is a narratologist whose research interests focus upon narratives and narrative theories (both ancient and modern) and their impact on futures thinking. She has particular research interests in the stories that programme cultural and sociotechnical narratives about human interactions with new technology. @Bristol_CLAH
  • Professor Sir Peter Gluckman trained as a paediatrician and biomedical scientist and holds a Distinguished University Professorship at the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland. He also holds honorary chairs in University College London, University of Southampton and National University of Singapore (where he acts as chief science advisor to the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences). He has published over 700 scientific papers in perinatal and developmental physiology, neuroscience and endocrinology, evolutionary biology and medicine. @PeterGluckman @AucklandLiggins
  • Mike Hulme is Professor of Human Geography in the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Pembroke College, where he is the Director Studies for Geography. His work explores the idea of climate change using historical, cultural and scientific analyses. He seeks to illuminate the numerous ways in which climate change is deployed in public and political discourse and published his latest manuscript on ‘The Idea of Climate Change’ for the Routledge Key Ideas in Geography book series, published in June 2021. @CamUniGeography

@routledgebooks #Storylistening

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