• Thomas Coombes

Hope-based comms: the story so far

Updated: Nov 24, 2019

If you want to know more about hope-based communications and the thinking behind it, here are some of the articles and interviews published during the last two years.


The first blog

Hope-based comms was born on human rights day 2017 when I spontaneously wrote a post putting together some of the ideas I was getting from reading about framing, narrative and neuroscience. I called it, "Hope, not Fear: A New Model for Communicating Human Rights." It remains a great place to start if you want to read more about hope-based communications.


Instead of mobilising shame, we need to mobilise hope:

"If we are going to frame the debate the way we want, we need to get better about articulating what we are fighting for."

Blog - Five ways to shift the narrative

A short introduction to hope-based communications written for BOND.

"We must do imaginative and creative work to give people hope and make them believe that alternatives are possible. It is a more challenging way to approach communications, but if you do not talk about the world you want to see, who will?"

Guardian Podcast

I recorded this podcast with The Guardian's Small Changes podcast in 2018, talking about the challenges in talking differently about human rights and telling the story of people who survive human rights abuses, so that we can create genuine empathy and compassion in the listener.


The key point, and sometimes the hardest to accept, is that hope is needed most in the darkest moments.



How to win with hope - speech

In this short speech at the EU's Fundamental Rights Forum, I talked about why positive communications matters, and how we can use it to make the case for human rights.


Innovation report: Hope-based communications case study


Hope-based communications and its application at Amnesty International is featured in the Innovation Report published by JustLabs and the International Civil Society Centre.




You can't fight fear with fear - Austrian radio interview


An interview about the importance of https://fm4.orf.at/stories/2938669/https://fm4.orf.at/stories/2938669/.


"I think the people who are selling fear and hate right now want to see a divided society because that’s the only way they get a majority. What the human rights movement needs to do is unite people because our cause is common humanity. And so when you’re faced with divisive rhetoric, rather than fight back, don’t fight fear with fear, fight fear with hope: bring forward a uniting message that will undercut them."


How to use hope-based comms - ICSC Webinar

This webinar for the International Civil Society Centre takes you through the five hope-based shifts, showing how International civil society organisations can use it to set the communications agenda, rather than react to it.