What's new at The Workshop?

This month we've got a book coming out, more research under way, and we're making plans for the next round of training workshops later this year. 

Here's a quick update on what we're up to...

The big news is that Jess's book  A Matter of Fact  published by Bridget Williams Books is being launched at two panel discussions this week.

  • In Auckland on the 11th of August  and in Wellington on Monday the 13th of August. Please do come along and join the interactive sessions
  • In the book  Jess gets to grips with misinformation, why truth is hard to see, and presents innovative ways for policy makers, communicators, researchers and campaigners to talk effectively about contentious and important information, including how to use some of the core theories we utilise at The Workshop.

Jess is also completing an evidence toolkit on parenting alone in New Zealand. 

  • What works to ensure parents on their own have real opportunities to both thrive economically and do the job of parenting well?  
  • This work comes from initial funding The Workshop received from the Peter McKenzie Project.

Marianne is doing some timely research on threats to our democracy from misinformation, disinformation, online abuse, hate speech and other challenges of the digital age.

  • This work is supported by a grant from the Law Foundation. 
  • This research starts with a quantitative survey of internet users in New Zealand, exploring their use of digital media as a source of information about issues of public interest, and how that may effect their attitudes, perceptions of polarisation, and willingness to engage in public conversations about those issues. 
  • The research also includes a literature review, a series of interviews, and some experiments in tracki ng misinformation and abuse on digital platforms. 

Marianne has also completed field work for the project on digital inclusion, and started research in collaboration with ActionStation on the links between misinformation and racial abuse online, and what impact this has on democratic engagement. This work is funded by the Omidyar Group. 

We are delighted that Tze Ming Mok has joined our associates alongside Max Harris and Morgan Godfrey. You can read more about Tze Ming's expertise and interests on our website


Jess has been in the print media fairly regularly to talk about important policy issues from an evidence and values perspective. This interview on RNZ , on public sector chief executive appointments, created a bit of chatter.

Marianne has been appearing in the visual media, she will be on Q&A this Sunday at 9:30pm. In the meantime watch her last appearance where she talked beautifully about what we value in business policy.

Morgan Godfrey has been a strong advocate for New Zealander's to consider the harms and benefits to less privileged groups of limitless free-speech.

Collaborating and working with us

Jess has availability for consulting work at the moment, so do get in touch (jess@theworkshop.org.nz) to talk to her about how she can help with strategy, research, impact, or other advice for your organisation.


We are available as a team to do in-house training and help your organisation communicate your evidence and policies using the science of story.

We are putting in place plans for more public training workshops for the end of the year. We will be offering a tailored training session on messaging and framing on child poverty, and will also be delivering  Common Cause training (we very excited to be the new official Common Cause trainers in New Zealand). Here is what some people who have attended our training have said about it:

".. eye opening. It changed the way I approach communication in my job. The theory is optimistic and realistic about people and the ways they can be influenced, and how you can effectively make change. It runs counter to some of the assumptions I had around messaging and has helped me be more ambitious and creative in running campaigns. They include relevant and moving examples of the theory in action that made me laugh and cry, and the workshop has been adapted well to the New Zealand context.”

- Leroy Beckett, ActionStation and Generation Zero

“...incredibly useful. The values based framing was new to me and has transformed my way of thinking about messaging and communications..... In order to reach our goals we need to be able to communicate complicated messages around poverty, racism and concepts of success. The sessions really drove home the idea that people respond to our messages based on deeply held values and make decisions on more than just the facts alone and provided strategies for moving forward. Highly recommended.”

- Lani Evans, Foundation Manager, Vodafone New Zealand

“...extremely enlightening and illuminating! Some of the learnings were very ‘counter-intuitive’. I now see that I’ve got some un-learning to do.  I highly recommend this workshop for anyone interested in positive social change and transformation. If you are working in this space, then you need to understand the importance of frames and values. If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always got. It’s time to learn about a different way of talking about our work.”

- Michelle Wanwimolruk, Philanthropic Advisor, Borrin Foundation

We will let you now how to register for training  in our next update.