Close Encounters of the Creative Kind: A guide to experimental approaches to policy research and knowledge translation

Part of our series of self-reflective articles and publications, this guide explores the value and prevalence of creative approaches in policy research and knowledge translation.
Close Encounters of the Creative Kind: A guide to experimental approaches to policy research and knowledge translation

Project Team

Stephanie Fielding
Policy + Research Analyst
Nisa Malli
Work Stream Manager, Innovative + Inclusive Economy
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Coralie D’Souza
Director of Strategic Communications, Events + Community Relations
Heather Russek
Director of Policy Innovation

Why we’re doing this project

Creative approaches to communicating and disseminating policy and research provide opportunities to share unique stories and perspectives, evoke feelings, provoke original thought, and communicate the experiential. As a result, these methods have significant potential to increase reach and impact by communicating with a wider audience, who may not be drawn to reading a written report.

The Brookfield Institute aims to produce research that is rigorous, actionable, engaging, and impactful, using an integrated approach to research, communications, and policy. Central to this is the understanding that how we communicate research findings is as important as how they are produced. In the context of the pandemic, the shift from print communication to digital has accelerated, coupled with a rise in internet-enabled video and audio, and a sometimes overwhelming volume of information and cultural products available, often on the same devices we work and learn on. In this context, choosing the right approach to reach and connect with your audience has become even more imperative. This guide is part of a series of self-reflective publications exploring how and why we work and the benefits and challenges of these approaches.

The aim of the project is to make creative approaches accessible, and relevant to the larger policy community, recognizing their value to draw in more diverse audiences than traditional reports. We have spent time investigating the value and prevalence of creative approaches in a policy context, and have produced a practical guide for internal use by our team. While the guide is intended to support BII+E in exploring a wider range of approaches to performing and communicating research, we believe it to have value beyond our walls and have shared it in hopes that others may benefit from this work. The guide adopts a broad definition of ‘creative approaches’, looking at a diverse range of methods and tools, some of which may be more familiar, such as digital publishing and traditional media — and others that are more experimental in a policy context such as art, creative writing, walking tours, and urban interventions. It is intended as a living document which will be iterated upon as we uncover new and exciting additions and is shared in draft format and open for comment only. If you have questions or suggestions and would like to send them by email, please contact Nisa Malli, Workstream Manager, Innovative + Inclusive Economy, at nisa.malli@ryerson.ca.

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Our Approach

The aim of the project is to make creative approaches accessible and relevant to the larger policy community, recognizing their value to draw in more diverse audiences than traditional reports. We have spent time investigating the value and prevalence of creative approaches in a policy context, and have produced a practical guide for internal use by our team. While the guide is intended to support BII+E in exploring a wider range of approaches to performing and communicating research, we believe it to have value beyond our walls and have shared it in hopes that others may benefit from this work. The guide adopts a broad definition of ‘creative approaches’, looking at a diverse range of methods and tools, some of which may be more familiar, such as digital publishing and traditional media — and others that are more experimental in a policy context such as art, creative writing, walking tours, and urban interventions. It is intended as a living document which will be iterated upon as we uncover new and exciting additions.


Access the Guide

Stephanie Fielding
Policy + Research Analyst
Nisa Malli
Work Stream Manager, Innovative + Inclusive Economy
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist
Coralie D’Souza
Director of Strategic Communications, Events + Community Relations
Heather Russek
Director of Policy Innovation

Share