MobLab Live 2018

MobLab Live is connecting campaigners around the world with what works. We’re hosting free monthly talks online with curious, innovative and thoughtful people across MobLab’s global network.

Take an hour and join campaigners around the world for real-time conversations with colleagues, researchers, thought leaders, technologists and others digging into how we win change at the scale needed today.

Past MobLab Live Sessions

How civil societies in Brazil, India and the US are resisting growing authoritarianism

28 November 2018: Watch / Full Story

These are dark and dangerous times, and positive change is needed more urgently than ever.

On 28 November 2018, MobLab Live invited feminist activist and writer Manoela Miklos from Brazil, founder and editor-in-chief Anshul Tewari from India, and PowerLabs director Nicole Carty from the US to discuss the alarming situations in the three countries and what the global social change community learn from these experiences.

Building effective movements for change through distributed organising

3 October 2018: Watch / Full Story

A tightly controlled campaign does not a movement make. A more collective approach, however, does have the ability to scale up our efforts to effect change.

On 3 October 2018, MobLab Live brought together special guests Mary Alice Crim (Field Director, Free Press and Free Press Action), Landry Ninteretse (Africa Regional Team Leader,, and Cecili Thompson Williams (Executive Director, Beyond the Bomb) to discuss these questions and more.

From hashtags to hip hop, the hows and whys of cultural campaigning

30 August 2018: Watch / Full Story

Cultural campaigning can transform narratives, mobilise communities, and shift public perceptions of issues in important ways. But what’s the best way to go about it? And how has the age of hashtags and internet memes influenced this tactic?

On 30 August, 2018, MobLab Live brought together special guests Masih Alinejad (journalist, author, and founder of My Stealthy Freedom, a movement against against compulsory hijab in Iran), Dr. Paul Kuttner (associate director at University Neighborhood Partners, University of Utah, and author at, and Dr. Toby Jenkins (author and associate professor of curriculum studies at the University of South Carolina) to discuss these questions and more.

The if, how and why of Blockchain for social good

26 July 2018: Watch / Full Story

You’re likely seeing the word blockchain more often than ever – and in some surprising places. Refugee advocates, healthcare innovators, clean energy projects, human rights campaigners and more are crafting innovative solutions to problems using blockchain systems.

But what should social change leaders and campaigners know about blockchain now?

On 26 July, 2018, MobLab Live brought together people working on blockchain projects around the world, including  special guests Daisy Ozim (Blockchain for Social Justice, Resilient Wellness), Veronica Garcia (Bitlumens) and Lee Brenner (Global Blockchain Business Council).

How positive narratives win campaigns in a “fake news” world

20 June 2018: Watch / Full Story

Autocratic and democratic states are limiting media freedoms, using technology to spread misinformation and defame activists, and creating echo chambers that help them control public dialogue.

On 20 June, 2018 MobLab Live talked with campaigners about developing and deploying positive narratives so that media empowers people while debunking fake news.

We were joined by Rachel Weidinger (The Narrative Initiative, U.S.), Dawood Khan Batozai (Communications & Advocacy Strategist, Pakistan) and Kateryna Kruk (, Ukraine).

Practicing self-care and collective wellbeing in activism

31 May 2018: Watch / Full Story

Campaigning and advocating for change is hard work. The challenges are enormous and the world is changing fast. Changemakers are not superheroes. They’re very human and, under trying circumstances, are susceptible to anxiety and stress, burnout and exhaustion, depression and poor health.

How can busy and dedicated campaigners take good care of themselves and others so that we have enough energy and resilience to be effective in our missions?

We were joined by special guests Ledys Sanjuan (Advocacy Officer, FRIDA Fund), Hava Gordon (Associate Professor, University of Denver) and Susan Comfort (Comfort Consulting)

Winning When it Keeps Getting Harder to Campaign

10 May 2018: Watch / Full Story

States and companies are restricting or influencing free speech, funding, internet access and the ability of changemakers, movements, and NGOs to operate in the open. People campaigning and advocating for change are being jailed, threatened, and even killed. This is happening across democratic and authoritarian states.

How do we remain innovative and counter social, economic and political power to work towards social justice when it gets harder to campaign?

On 10 May, MobLab Live explored new tools, tactics, and strategies changemakers are using to campaign, organise, and mobilise in increasingly dangerous and difficult contexts.

Guests included Reza Ghazinouri (United for Iran), Scovia Arinaitwe (Solidarity Uganda) and Hajnalka Schmidt (Greenpeace Hungary).

How Change Making is Changing: Top campaign trends to prepare for in 2018

20 March 2018: Watch / Full Story

Campaigners around the world face more risks than ever while the pace of change in communications, tech and power keeps speeding up. How do global campaigners see their work changing in 2018?

The hour-long conversation focused on ways campaigners are adapting to trends and using new campaigning strategies and tools to expand the audience and increase impact.

Special guests included Thaís Marques (Power Labs), Tamseel Hussain (People Like Us Create) and Charlotte Goodman (Arizona Capital Representation Project and TinderBot co-creator).

Building More Effective Campaign Narratives through Social Science

28 November 2017: Watch / Full Story

What does the latest research tell us about how to engage people more effectively and inspire them to act? Our guests examined latest studies and examples of campaign/movement narratives across the globe and their evolution over issues and time–from civil rights to elections, from global climate change to education and beyond. Activists and campaigners joined the live conversation and offered questions.

We were joined by Kris-Stella Trump, Program Director of the Anxieties of Democracy program at the Social Science Research Council; Adam Levine, Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University; Frederick Mayer, Associate Dean for Strategy and Innovation and Professor of Public Policy, Political Science and Environment at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy; and Noorulain Masood, Practitioner Guest: Founder of CSIDC, the Center for Social Innovation in Developing Countries. MobLab Live was hosted by Vanessa Williamson, research scholar and a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

Confronting Authoritarianism

27 October 2017 : Watch / Full Story

Featured guests Steve LevitskyMaria Stephan and Vitali Shkliarov talked through research into the growth of authoritarian governments around the world – and how to organise power in the face of authoritarianism. Our conversation looked at factors behind their rise; impacts on civil society and social change organising; and insights for people powered campaigns.

MobLab Live was hosted by Vanessa Williamson. Vanessa is a research scholar and a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. She is the coauthor of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.

How social ties scale modern advocacy campaigns

10 October 2017 : Watch / Full story

We explored new research on social ties and relationships to understand network connections and interactions are impacting modern campaigning and affecting how organizations, campaigns, and coalitions build relationships with individuals.

MobLab Live was hosted by Vanessa Williamson. Vanessa is a research scholar and a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. She is the coauthor of The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.

Featured Guests: We were joined by Hahrie Han, Anton Vonk Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara; David Karpf, Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University; and Meghana Rao, a gender rights campaigner who will offer on-the-ground insights from her work in India.

Organisations and Movements

2 March 2016 : Watch / Full story

When does it make sense for groups to interact with new movements? Can campaigning organisations engage with, and help, rising movements to expand one another’s networks and scale impact? And how do social movements benefit from the involvement of larger organisations while retaining their independence and vision? Greenpeace and many other organisations are wrestling with these questions—as are growing movements around the globe. Movement leaders Leslie Mac of Ferguson Response and Alba Villanueva of No Somos Delito joined us to talk through these questions and more. Get a recap and view a recording of Organisations and Social Movemements.

Responsive Campaigns

27 November 2015 : Watch / Full story

Is your organization ready to go when disruption happens? Disasters, political decisions and other surprises mean that campaigns operating in a 24/7 news cycle and amid hyper-connected social networks must respond quickly and strategically to get the best results and stay most relevant. Find out how leading campaigners at Avaaz have thrived in organizations known for strong rapid response programs, while hearing from the Response Lab at Greenpeace about their efforts to help bring the organization into a more responsive way of working and thinking. They’ll share insights into cultural, strategic and technical capacity needed to not just respond quickly but turn breaking events to your advantage. To learn more, catch the recap.

Bearing Witness 2.0

19 October 2015 : Watch / Full story

Journalists and filmmakers are using immersive technologies to build public awareness by telling richer and more deeply engaging stories. But what lessons can we learn as campaigners? Find out how emerging tools like 360° video, virtual reality (VR) and drones bring people to places they might never see, in ways they haven’t expected and allow us to bear witness to the world in new ways. Our guest speakers include Molly Swenson from advocacy-news agency “RYOT” and award-winning journalist, Will Potter. They have taken immersive storytelling inside a Syrian war-zone, into the skies looking over factory farms and on the ground post-Nepal earthquake. To learn more, visit the recap page.

Open-Sourced & Distributed Organizing

6 August 2015 : Watch / Full story

More and more we hear the term “open campaigns,” but what does it mean and how is it changing the way we build movements? For some this means online petitions,  for others it’s organizing a day of action, or adapting principals of “open-sourced” principals into campaign work. While there are no hard and fast rules with open campaigning, essentially this type of distributed organizing allows more people to lead and champion causes.  Such as with the Keystone Tar Sands movement or #Not1More anti-deportations movement. Yet for many there are a lot of unanswered questions and challenges around this new model of organizing. Joining us to answer some of these questions is Jason Mogus, the senior adviser to the Tar Sands Solutions Network, and Marisa Franco with the #Not1More movement in the United States.

​​Beyond Vanity Metrics: Towards Better Measurement of Member Engagement

14 May 2015 : Watch / Full story

In trying to create social change, we often ask ourselves: how do we know what works? This simple question can be alarmingly tough to answer. Typically in online engagement strategies, we measure our member’s engagement with petition sign-ups, list sizes and followers on social media. These kinds of “vanity metrics” often sound big and impressive — but they can be misleading, and ultimately lead to flawed decisions that doom membership-driven organizations. So how can you go beyond vanity metrics?  To start the conversation, the Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace and Citizen Engagement Laboratory gave a summary of our new report “Beyond Vanity Metrics” on MobLab Live. To learn more, catch the full recap.

Security Culture: A People-Centered approach to Privacy Tech

8 April 2015 : Watch / Full story

In the wake of the “Snowden files” that exposed the mass surveillance program by the CIA – creating better security and privacy has been a top question for many non-profits and media agencies. But often the focus of security has been on the technical side, with mysterious acronyms like PGP and OTR. The missing ingredient for many groups is the culture itself, creating a culture of security. Allen Gunn of Aspiration, shares his tips for success on how NGOs can foster a culture that makes security accessible and meaningful.

Mobile Activism: Tools & Trends in People-Centered Technologies

2 March 2015 : Watch / Full story

Over 90% of the human population either own or have access to a mobile phone. That’s more than all the active social media accounts or Internet users in the world combined.   For the NGO world, strategic uses of mobile technology can open the floodgates for millions, if not billions, of people to help scale campaigns and engage the world in crisis moments. In a special live event from Kenya, we talk with Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS about emerging tools and trends empowering citizens and activists via mobile technology. To learn more, visit our recap page.

People-Power: Grassroots Leadership & Organizing in 21st century

29 January 2015 : Watch / Full story

Since the Obama 2008 election and the rise of online groups like – mobilizing people to help campaigns win big has been a central focus for civil associations and non-profits. But what do buzzwords like “People-Power” and “Mobilisation” really mean?

Author Hahrie Han of the book How Organizations Develop Activists spells out how the public can rise out of apathy and into activism by organizations developing strategies that build leadership. Showcasing a real-world example, Anna Keenan of Greenpeace’s Greenwire will share success stories of a new social media platform for volunteers that provides tools to self-organize actions and play a role in campaigns.