The art of campaigning

Campaigning is a creative and a technical process – along with being an art and a science.

If politics is the ‘art of the possible’, campaigning is the science and art of changing what is possible.

Do it right and a campaign will succeed in inspiring its followers, hit the desired target and have impact. But when campaigns lack in strategy, research, tools, or are unstructured in narrative and are only being kept aloft by burning idealism and goodwill campaigns – they will fail, activists will ‘burn out’ and campaigns will not lead to change.


“Campaigning can be fun but it’s often hard, dull, frustrating and unsuccessful. Even when it’s exciting, it’s a bit like Charlie Watt’s description of 20 years playing with the Rolling Stones – one year of playing and 19 years of hanging about.” Chris Rose.

Campaigns are at the core about storytelling. Our societies are built on stories. Politics selects the stories that support their policies, to appeal to – and change – our hearts and minds. These stories—of our past, present and future  – provide scaffolding for our political systems for our social structures, and for our own thinking. They shape how we understand our relationships, what relationships we value and pursue, how we classify ‘us’ and ‘them’, how we treat others, and our expectations of state and civic duties. That we can deny rights to people based on their country of origin, sexuality, or gender identity, is only possible due to a set of beliefs –  stories –  about one group being more deserving than another.