The concept of circular economy is ubiquitous today. Companies already see the advantages and necessity of a transition from a linear to a circular society. But are consumers also on board with the circular economy philosophy? Doesn't the academic terminology surrounding circular thinking hinder the reaching of a wider audience and doesn't it exclude an important player, the (young) citizen?
Bold Branders, a project of Atopia vzw, investigates the possibilities of storytelling as an accessible and pleasant way to communicate about circularity. We believe that in this era, in which young people in particular are oversaturated with information via social networks, we should revert to one of the strongest and oldest means of communication: stories.
In the same way, we want to make people (re)value the objects they own. We want to make consumers and citizens more aware of their interaction with objects and materials and how this affects their everyday lives and surroundings. We want to achieve this by giving objects and materials a 'passport', as it were. We do this both fictitiously, where a piece of furniture becomes a character, for example, and non-fictitiously, where the passport clearly and transparently shows the path taken and the raw materials used.
Initially, we centralised our project around collecting stories from partners (by young people) and visualising them, and around the creation of material passports. Later on, we changed course and chose to write a novel about circular economy as a concrete starting point, with an accompanying book launch and a panel on communication and circular economy.
Partners De Geschoren Aap, Bootsman
After this two-year project, we are still hungry. First of all, we want to continue with the book: promote it and introduce more and more people to circular economy. For example, in cooperation with the MAAKbar Leuven, we are going to hold a book presentation and organise a 'forest bath'. But we want to walk many other interesting circular paths. That is why we are going to set up our own non-profit organisation to continue the activities of Bold Branders. Two volunteers have also submitted an abstract to give a presentation on Bold Branders at the 4th Annual Sustainable Consumption Research & Action Initiative Conference in Stockholm. In addition, we would like to participate in the International Conference of Ecolinguistics in Liverpool, which will also address storytelling as a means of activation.