Inequality & Storytelling

We Are Story poster image

Our researchers and practitioners assault bias, discrimination, disparity, diversity, imbalance, indifference, inequity, injustice, marginalisation, poverty, prejudice, stigma, stereotyping and unfairness with chronicle, composition, community, data, dispatch, documentary, fiction, history, images, invention, joke, line, myth, narrative, news, novel, movement, paint, photo, plot, poem, portrait, recital, report, saga, scoop, score, song, story, tale, word and yarn.

Programme overview 

We seek to drive change and reduce inequalities through the creative act of storytelling. Inequalities present wide-ranging challenges to contemporary society. Our projects take a cross-disciplinary approach to examining storytelling’s potential to impact today’s economic, socio-demographic and cultural inequalities.

Inequality (in all its guises) underpins the current functioning of our civilisation, and it’s not going away. The Inequality & Storytelling research programme seeks to support research that tackles inequality on a physical level but also to drive change, though the creation of powerful new narratives that subvert the status quo. “The truth is,’ says Greta Thunberg, ‘when you are used to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” Quote: Ernman E, Thunberg G,S and B. Our House is on fire: Scenes of a family and a planet in crisis (Allen Lane 2020)

Storytelling reaches across communities, proving structure, meaning and purpose, and serves to engage audiences, and grow understanding of issues and their ramifications. “The Human being is a story telling animal, (it) tells itself stories to understand what sort of creature it is” Salman Rushdie. The programme is inherently cross-disciplinary and able to serve entrepreneurial, sociocultural ends, with purchase in traditional and digital media.

The key questions we address are:

  • How can storytelling methods be leveraged to address challenges of inequality and diversity?
  • How can different art forms be used to communicate stories of inequality?
  • How can storytelling e used to highlight and engage people with issues arising from inequality, or issues associated with marginalised communities?
  • How can storytelling reach across communities to address issues of sociocultural disintegration?
  • How can storytelling be used as a diagnostic tool and a means of problem solving?

“The most dramatic scenes, painted without talent or imagination, generate only indifference and boredom. The task for artists is therefore to find new ways of prising open our eyes to tiresomely familiar yet critical ideas…For hundreds of years there have been people whose function was precisely to see and make us see what we do not naturally perceive. These are the artists”. Quote: Philosopher Alain De Botton. Religion for Atheists (Penguin 2012).

Programme lead

Laura Hodsdon staff image
Laura Hodsdon staff image

Dr Laura Hodsdon

Dr Laura Hodsdon is a Research Fellow focusing on issues of social justice. Her research draws on a range of disciplines and contexts, using lenses including socio-spatiality, organisational policy and skills, and literature and narrative to explore (in)equality in organisations, socio-cultural landscapes, and heritage.

View profile


Some of the projects within this programme include:

Fog of Sex
Fog of Sex - Olivia Thatcher as student lap dancer Naomi

Fog of Sex (Stories from the frontline of student sex work)

Fog of Sex (Stories from the frontline of student sex work) is a 60-minute drama documentary which w...

Fog of Sex (Stories from the frontline of student sex work)
a group of young women standing in dark light
Rape. Voices production image

Gwalt. Glosy (Rape. Voices)

Gwalt. Glosy (Rape. Voices) was a 2015 theatre production that explored issues of sexual violence to...

Gwalt. Glosy (Rape. Voices)
A group of women standing in front of a projection of soldiers
Wildworks - A Great Night Out image

Wildworks - A Great Night Out

Commissioned by Sunderland Cultural Spring, A Great Night Out narrated tales of epic journeys, footb...

Wildworks - A Great Night Out
Person under a red shawl playing the violin
Polish Vermin by Agnieszka Blonska
BOV Ferment July 2017 – Polish Vermin by Agnieszka Blonska – Photographer Jack Offord

Polish Vermin

Polish Vermin is a piece of theatre which explores the lives of EU migrants living in the UK in the ...

Polish Vermin
Good Grief text on a background of red hair
MOTH: Good Grief image


MOTH is challenge attitudes, conventions and context surrounding death and dying.

Large palm tree in front of a while bungalow
South African Photography holding image

South African Photography

This book is the first comprehensive survey of South African photography from 1837 to 2020.

South African Photography
DEVILS (Diably)

DEVILS (Diably)

The story of possessed and exorcised nuns serves as a pretext for research into the long history of ...

DEVILS (Diably)
Black Star
Black Star_lead

Black Stars: Belafonte, Poitier and a Long Overdue Celebration of Black Cinema

A feature article on the BFI Black Star season and reviews of re-releases of Martin Ritt's Paris Blu...

Black Stars: Belafonte, Poitier and a Long Overdue Celebration of Black Cinema
BA(Hons) Journalism - Newspapers Flat

Charting Theoretical Directions for Examining African Journalism in the ‘Digital Era’

The study thus draws on social constructivist approaches to technology and the sociology of journali...

Charting Theoretical Directions for Examining African Journalism in the ‘Digital Era’
Tears of Things Exhibition
Tears of Things

Cafe Morte: Tears of Things – Museum of Broken Objects

We invited artists, writers, academics, undergraduates, museums and member of the community to contr...

Cafe Morte: Tears of Things – Museum of Broken Objects
Runners on tack
Unruly Runnings_lead

Unruly Runnings: On track with identity and difficulty

This project examines ideas of identity and difficulty through the lens of Penny Andrews’ work. In...

Unruly Runnings: On track with identity and difficulty
Illustration of a ship
Illustration Symposium header

Transitus: Illustration as Crossing Ground

Falmouth University is delighted to be hosting the 12th annual Illustration Research Symposium,&nbsp...

Transitus: Illustration as Crossing Ground

Family Tree

Family Tree is a solo performance and exploration of multi-heritage experiences across four generati...

Family Tree

PhD & MPhil researchers

PhD and MPhil researchers aligning with the Inequality & Storytelling programme include: 

NameThesis title
Rachael JonesLandscape, Loss and Imagination: The Potential for an Experimental Documentary to Explore and Invigorate Cultural Connections with the Land.

Research opportunities

Alignment criteria

We welcome applications for PhD and MPhil that align with the Inequality & Storytelling programme.

How to apply​

Applicants may apply by submitting a project idea of their own or by responding to one of our Falmouth Doctoral Project briefs.

View all opportunities


Research Repository

Falmouth University’s Research Repository (FURR) hosts, preserves and provides open access to our publicly available collection of University produced research materials, for the benefit of staff students, the wider field and general public.

Inequality & Storytelling in FURR

Access all current and historic research materials published in association with the Inequality & Storytelling programme and its portfolio of research and innovation projects.​

A collage of female portraits overlaid with bright rainbow colours.