The Hope Narratives transform the first-hand experiences of a unique community into an innovative modular language system, designed to help those with missing loved ones find words for what they are going through, ways to cope, and hope.
‘Ambiguous loss’ is the form of grief the experienced by the loved ones of missing persons, considered by many psychologists the most traumatic type of grief. Isolating, open-ended and painfully hard to process, it impacts millions across the world. The hardest part for many is how alone and voiceless they feel, due to the lack of familiar language for what they are going through, and the sense of isolation that surrounds this. Our brief was to help transform the experience – to empower those experiencing ambiguous loss to find words for their unique pain and know that they are not alone.
The Hope Narratives are a world-first system of modular language designed to help the loved ones of missing people navigate the unique form of grief known as ‘ambiguous loss’. Over 100 hours of recorded audio and over 500 responses to written surveys generated more than 500 collective years of lived experience, which we crafted into 145 pieces of modular language. These connect to become over 1.4 million possible Hope Narratives. By selecting and sequencing the language, users create therapeutic sentences that describe their pain, a way of coping, and a hopeful outlook.
The Hope Narratives are designed with longevity and scalability in mind. Currently being translated into six languages for use by psychology and counselling organisations across the world, they’ve been deployed in 14 countries so far, with plans in place to expand this to 20 countries by mid-2023. The modular language system is inherently expandable, with the capacity to include more and more first-hand experiences, from a wider and wider field of participants, ensuring that the impact of the Hope Narratives, and its relationship to community, is ongoing and global.
The Hope Narratives are also a powerful fundraiser for MPAN (Missing Persons Australia), available online and wherever MPAN has a presence. Talks have begun with the Australian Federal Police about The Hope Narratives becoming part of officer training, and missing persons organisations around the world have reached out to source The Hope Narratives for the communities they work with.