In 2019, Inspirit began to pivot its programming and granting towards shifting narrative power. We wanted to do this outside of traditional programs, and the idea of a Lab was born.
In 2020, we launched the Narrative Change Lab as an experiment to shift the Canadian narrative landscape for equity-seeking groups through pop culture. The Lab engages creatives from underrepresented communities to develop strategies to challenge dominant narratives and create new ones to help build a more pluralist Canada.
We believe the current Canadian narrative landscape is not equitable and, at times, dangerous for many Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour. Through the Lab’s support of racialized content creators and creatives, we hope to build narrative systems that accurately reflect the lived experiences and values of their communities.
Stories have a special kind of allure—they allow us to understand ourselves and connect with others. And while some stories engage and connect, others are divisive and threatening. When stories collect and form at the level of society, they transform into a narrative. Narratives are powerful because they define how we see and understand one another.
Inspirit’s inaugural Narrative Change Lab theme is Reimagining Muslim Narratives. Muslims in Canada have endured one-dimensional, racist, and Islamophobic stories for decades. Through the Lab, we hope to contribute to a fuller, more accurate portrayal of Muslims in Canada, one that challenges existing tropes, but also reimagines narratives from a place of strength and agency.
The Foundation has identified three distinct ‘buckets’ under this umbrella: to animate the history of Muslim presence in Canada, to challenge Islamophobic narratives in Canada, and to support new narratives led by Muslim creatives. We have organized our work into the following themes:
Surfacing and amplifying narratives of Muslim presence in Canada.
Challenging Islamophobic narratives in Canada.
Supporting the development of social and industry infrastructure for Muslim creatives and the generation of new Muslim-led narratives.