On November 9th, Professor Andrzej Nowak and Professor Marcin Napiórkowski gave a presentation on narratives formed about NGTs in the session “New Genomic Techniques: A Deep Dive”, organised by the United Kingdom Mission to the European Union.
The United Kingdom Mission to the European Union organised an event on New Genomic Techniques to discuss key UK policy developments within the UK Genetic Technology Act with key experts from DEFRA, FSA and ACRE. Professor Andrzej Nowak, Chief Narrative Scientist, and Professor Marcin Napiórkowski, Contemporary Mythologies Scholar at Re-Imagine Europa, presented the work developed on narratives formed about NGTs and how to avoid a yes/no debate.
During the presentation, Professor Nowak and Professor Napiórkowski highlighted that there was little reaction to the EC’s legislative proposal on NGTs in the mainstream media and the public debate, which can be seen as a sign of a less polarised debate. However, they argued it could also be a sign of decreasing interest in the subject. They also noted that the old polarisation that was observed since the 90s is shifting from old narratives, built on contradictory elements, to new narratives, with are multidimensional.
“We are trapped by our own narratives, but we still share a lot of common values and goals”. According to Professor Napiórkowski, in order to build bridges, it is necessary to move from seeing narratives as part of the problem to seeing them as part of the solution. This is a two–step process: first, we must go beyond divisive narratives by identifying common values to build narrative bridges; then, deescalate the conflict by moving towards goal–oriented narratives.
At Re-Imagine Europa, we believe that due to the multidimensionality of the issues that farmers and other actors across the European food value chain need to see addressed, it is necessary to look for a toolbox of solutions, tailored to the specificities and necessities of each case.
In the upcoming weeks, Re-Imagine Europa will publish a Depolarisation Manual on the communication of new technologies and innovation that seeks to promote the development of a new ecosystem of narratives that goes beyond existing polarisations, with a special highlight to the seven-point R.E.F.R.A.M.E. methodology that forms a blueprint for communication strategies to depolarising the debate and breaking the cycle of distrust.