Why are we doing this?
Dramatic social change has been driven time and again by people coming together in social movements to fight for their rights, solve problems, shift how people think, support each other and demand what they need.
This can be seen in health, where there are incredible stories of the power of passionate people working together to drive change, not just in the healthcare system, but in the wider culture and environment in which health and healthcare happen. They use social media, protests, campaigns, self-organising, sharing knowledge and other means to change minds and systems.
What are we doing?
Nesta is exploring social movements as mechanisms of change, especially in issues which are under-resourced, under-developed or marginalised. We are looking at:
- How social movements grow to impact people, institutions, policy and wider systems
- How productive relationships between emergent social movements and established institutions might function
Social movements put pressure on societal systems to accelerate transformation, respond directly to the experiences of people and can diffuse change widely across populations. Yet, they can be messy, turbulent and risky.
Effective encounters between institutions and movements will require new models of engagement that draw on the efficiency and scale of institutions and the dynamism and agility of movements, without co-opting citizen-led change.
What have we done so far?
Nesta contributed to the Health as a Social Movement programme, an NHS England programme to support social movements in health and care. Through this programme we worked with the New Economics Foundation, the RSA and six new care model Vanguards.
Last September, we published, “Health as a Social Movement: The Power of People in Movements” which explored the potential of social movements to improve people’s experience of health and the systems which shape it. The report identifies seven ways movements impact health and care and illustrates the transformative potential of movements through over 20 national, international and historical examples.
We are now taking an in-depth look at several transformative social movements which have scaled internationally, with the purpose of sharing learnings from movements.