Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation

There are presently no open calls for submissions.

Hello! Thank you for your interest in applying for Race Forward's Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy.

Race Forward's Narrative and Cultural Strategies program is delighted to launch the Butterfly Lab as a ground-breaking two-year cohort and intensive narrative lab on immigration. Our Lab is inspired by Favianna Rodriguez' butterfly image that reminds us that migration is beautiful. 

Migration is Beautiful 


Race Forward's Butterfly Lab will bring together a select cohort of pro-immigrant leaders to build power for effective narratives that recognize and honor the humanity of migrants, refugees and immigrants and advance freedom and justice for all. In the Lab, the cohort will develop, test, and scale immigration narratives that meet our current political moment and that advance our vision for the world we want to build. 

Below, you will find information about the Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy as well as guidelines for application. Please read the following details about the Lab carefully before you apply. You'll need to create a Submittable.com account and login in order to apply.

The application deadline is Sunday, March 29th. 

Why is Race Forward offering the Butterfly Lab?

Anti-immigrant forces have been winning the narrative battle. These narratives bolster a government administration whose policies terrorize migrants, refugees and immigrants emotionally, economically and physically. We believe a majority of Americans support continued immigration and protections for immigrants, and have been shocked by images of jailed children and spectacles of hate violence. And we believe that by advancing narratives that connect Americans back to their core beliefs and values, we can compel them to act and confront attacks on migrants, refugees and immigrants, support humane and transformative action, and foster a pro-immigrant culture. 

What is the Butterfly Lab? Who is it for?

The Butterfly Lab will assemble an intimate cohort of 15 leaders in immigrant narrative. We welcome activists, artists, organizers, cultural workers, policy and legal advocates, communications specialists, and others engaged in cultural strategy, narrative strategy, and narrative work to apply. 

Cohort members will receive training in the latest narrative research and interdisciplinary knowledge. Race Forward will provide trainings with guest lecturers and experts, facilitate strategy and learning sessions, and support cohort members in designing and implementing narrative projects. Cohort members will receive resources for prototype projects to test within communities, as well as support for research and impact evaluation.The goal is to test, refine, and advance a set of pro-immigrant narratives and a narrative system that's conducive to migrant justice. Lessons from the cohort will be shared with the field at large in order to build capacity, skills and knowledge within the immigrant rights movement.

Cohort individuals will receive a $10,000 stipend and $10,000 for design and  implementation of innovative narrative prototype projects. Cohort convenings, webinars, trainings, strategy sessions will be all-expenses paid. 

What will the Butterfly Lab involve?

The Butterfly Lab requires a 15 month-long commitment. There will be two phases, as follows, with the possible additional opportunity for a third phase in which successful prototypes are scaled into fuller projects.  

Phase 1 (May - Nov 2020): Deep Learning 

  • Orientation meeting (virtual), May 
  • Monthly learning and strategy webinars 
  • In-Person Convening July 27th-30th at Earthrise Center, Petaluma, CA

Phase 2 (Nov 2020 - July 2021): Project Design & Implementation 

  • In-Person Convening Nov 11-12, 2020 in conjunction with Race Forward's Facing Race Conference (Raleigh, NC) 
  • Monthly virtual meetings to support project design and implementation 
  • Research and impact evaluation support 

Application Process and Deadline:

You will need to create a Submittable.com account in order to apply. The application has 22 questions and will take approximately an hour or two to complete.

Application Deadline is 12am EST on Sunday, March 29th. 

Selected cohort applicants will be notified by Monday, April 20th.

If you are interested in applying and have questions you'd like to discuss, please contact Nayantara Sen, Director of Narrative and Cultural Strategies at senn@raceforward.org to set up a conversation.

Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation