Digital Transformation

5 min

Parliamentary Storytelling: Engaging Citizens in the Legislative Process

University of Leeds

Strategic Partners



Parliamentary storytelling is a crucial tool for fostering increased citizen interest and participation in the political process. This essay will explore the concept of parliamentary storytelling as it relates to the UK Parliament, although the themes discussed here are applicable to other parliaments as well. The importance of storytelling and narrative as a means of connecting citizens with the work of parliaments and promoting engagement is a relatively new area of research, and this essay will delve into the various components of parliamentary storytelling, using the UK House of Commons Petitions Committee as a case study.


Components of Parliamentary Storytelling


Parliamentary storytelling can be broken down into five main components: the storyteller, the narrative, the characters, the plot, and the audience. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in fostering connection, understanding, and engagement between citizens and their representatives.


The Storyteller: The storyteller is responsible for crafting and presenting the narrative to the audience. In the case of parliamentary storytelling, this role is often fulfilled by administrative staff members, who work to organize and present information in a way that conveys a particular message or perspective.


The Narrative: The narrative is the story being told, which in the case of parliamentary storytelling often revolves around the experiences of citizens affected by particular issues or policies. For example, the Petitions Committee inquiry into brain tumor research focused on the stories of individuals who had lost loved ones to the disease.


The Characters: Characters in parliamentary storytelling are the individuals who participate in or are affected by the narrative. These may include citizens who share their experiences, as well as parliamentarians who work to relay these stories to their colleagues and constituents.


The Plot: The plot refers to the organizing principles and sequence of events within the narrative. In parliamentary storytelling, the plot often highlights the journey of an issue or policy, from its origins in citizen petitions to its eventual impact on legislation and government action.


The Audience: The audience is the group of individuals for whom the narrative is intended, often consisting of citizens and parliamentarians alike. The success of an engagement campaign relies heavily on the storyteller’s ability to effectively communicate with and engage their intended audience.


The Power of Storytelling in Parliamentary Engagement


The use of storytelling in parliamentary engagement offers a unique opportunity to humanize the political process and foster a greater sense of connection between citizens and their representatives. By presenting the stories and experiences of individuals affected by specific issues, parliamentary storytellers can help parliamentarians better understand the needs of their constituents and promote more effective policymaking.


Moreover, storytelling can help citizens feel more connected to the work of their representatives and more invested in the political process. By highlighting the real-world impact of political decisions and offering a platform for citizens to share their experiences, parliamentary storytelling can create a dialogue that fosters greater engagement and a more robust democratic process.


However, it is essential for parliamentary storytellers to consider the inclusivity and accessibility of their narratives. The success of an engagement campaign depends on the storyteller’s ability to communicate with a diverse audience, ensuring that all voices are heard and represented in the decision-making process.




Parliamentary storytelling offers a powerful means of promoting citizen engagement and fostering a stronger connection between citizens and their representatives. By incorporating elements of narrative, storytelling can humanize the political process and make it more accessible to a diverse audience. As a growing area of research and practice, understanding the components and potential of parliamentary storytelling is essential for promoting a more inclusive, participatory, and democratic political process.

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